Close this search box.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.


Syracuse to host 2017 World Canals Conference

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse will host the 2017 World Canals Conference (WCC), an event that organizers say could have a more than $2 million “indirect” economic impact for the city.

New York State Canal Corporation, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Visit Syracuse will host the event from Sept. 24 to Sept. 28 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, according to a news release about the WCC issued Oct. 3.

I Love NY and National Grid (NYSE: NGG), along with many other businesses and foundations, will sponsor the WCC.


Organizers expect the 2017 WCC to draw hundreds of international delegates and draw thousands of local and regional residents to waterfront events. They’ll hold the conference as the Erie Canal commemorates its bicentennial.

For more information on the event and to view a program schedule, visit

The region has “so much” to celebrate, David Holder, president of Visit Syracuse, said in the news release.

“The World Canals Conference will not only allow us to show off our canal system and waterways, but also our museums, shops, restaurants and neighborhoods. I am proud of our region and am looking forward to celebrating with the entire community,” said Holder.

The Canal Corporation commissioned a recent study that found New York’s canal system supports $6.2 billion in non-tourism-related economic activity, in addition to its $380 million tourism-based economic impact, according to the WCC news release.

In addition, the study also determined that the canals support 26,472 jobs; $1.6 billion in personal income; and $702 million in tax revenue, “both directly and indirectly.”

“We are thrilled to have the 2017 World Canals Conference take place right here in Central New York,” Brian Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corporation, said in the news release. “I applaud Gov. Cuomo and New York State for their support in bringing this international spotlight to our storied Erie Canal in the bicentennial year of its groundbreaking.”

The Erie Canal broke ground in Rome on July 4, 1817, and opened on October 26, 1825. It quickly became the most vital trade route in the young nation, and helped make New York City one of the world’s most important ports and commercial centers.

Cornelius B. “Neil” Murphy Jr., honorary chair of the WCC, said he is “elated” to see the event come to Syracuse.

“The event will bring a new visibility to our canals, inland waterways and the Syracuse region as whole,” said Murphy, who is also past president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

Each year, the WCC brings hundreds of canal enthusiasts, professionals and scholars from around the world together to discuss canals and inland waterways as a means to promote tourism, spur economic and community development, improve environmental quality and exchange best practices on protection strategies for these historic sites.

“Our canals and waterways are essential to our region’s economic strength and the social well-being of our communities,” Melanie Littlejohn, executive director of  National Grid Upstate New York, said in the news release. “For that reason, National Grid is proud to take part in the 2017 conference and help support the growth and sustainability of these sites.”

Inverness, Scotland hosted this year’s event in September, and Ghent Belgium did the same in 2015, according to the website of the American Canal Society. Rochester hosted the World Canals Conference in 2010, the website says.

Contact Reinhardt at


Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.