Program Overview

WCC 2017 presents a world-class program that highlights some of the most exciting and innovative activities on the world’s waterways.

The Transformative Power of Canals (Scotland)

Journey Along the Erie Canal (USA)

Canal Light Festivals (Amsterdam)

Restoring Waterways (UK)

Transforming Arizona’s Canals (USA)

Stimulating Urban Transformation (Poland)

Historic Cleanup of Onondaga Lake (USA)

Re-imagining Inland Waterways (Ireland)

Regenerating the Gyeongin Ara Waterway (Korea)

Featured Speakers

Speakers hail from around the globe, including experts from France, Poland, Scotland, Korea, the U.K., the Netherlands, and the U.S.

  • Steve Dunlop, Executive Director, Scottish Canals, UK
  • John Robinson, Founder and CEO of Our Ability, USA
  • Gil Quiniones, President & CEO, New York Power Authority, USA
  • Felix Guttmann, Chairman, Amsterdam Light Festival, Netherlands
  • Lucyna Nyka, Dean of Architecture, Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland
  • Roy B. Mann, Principal, The Rivers Studio, Austin, Texas, USA
  • Roger Squires, Inland Waterways Association, UK
  • Kyun Yun, Manager, K-Water, Korea
  • Darlene Upton, Executive Director of Waterways, Parks Canada
  • Brenda Barrett, Editor, Living Landscape Observer, USA
  • David Alan Miller, Music Director, Albany Symphony Orchestra, USA

Additional speakers to be announced.

Program Update

The WCC Program Committee received more than one hundred abstracts and speaker proposals from eight countries and 10 US states. We are continuing to build a program that highlights some of the most exciting activities on the world’s waterways and creates an environment where we can learn and share.

Here’s a sneak preview:

  • Restoring Historic Canals and Canal Structures, with presentations highlighting successes in the U.K., Canada, and here in New York State.
  • Waterway Engineering and Operations, with presentations on the use of modern materials in historic canal structures, lock enlargement, automation, and structural assessments above and below the water.
  • Re-imagining Canal Waterfronts, drawing inspiration from exciting developments in Poland, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, Bath England, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Lowell, and in cities and villages across New York’s Canal System.
  • Using Public Art to Highlight Waterways, from sculpture and murals to lighting and outdoor projection to raise awareness, inspire conversation, and extend the day and season along canals from Phoenix, Arizona to Amsterdam, Holland.
  • Canal Recreation for All, boating and canal-side trails for users of all abilities and interests.
  • Promoting Canals to New Visitors, with creative ideas from Europe, Canada, and Asia.
  • The Power of Water, with presentations on energy production on canals ranging from traditional hydroelectric plants to innovative hydro-kinetic installations.
  • World Heritage Waterways, France’s Canal du Midi, Amsterdam’s canal ring, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales, Canada’s Rideau Canal, and the Grand Canal in China are all on the UNESCO World Heritage List. How has it affected them? What can we learn?
  • Transformation of Onondaga Lake, Syracuse’s link to the Erie Canal was, until recently, one of the most heavily polluted bodies of water in North America. Witness the clean-up firsthand and learn how this and other industrialized inland waterways are getting cleaned up.  

Schedule at a Glance

The 2017 World Canals Conference will feature formal presentations, study tours of canal sites and communities, Central New York dining experiences and a variety of exciting public events. Our full schedule is evolving. Meals will feature local and regional produce and specialty foods, beverages and farm-to-table experiences. Conference sessions will take place at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Look for full conference details in the spring.


Sunday, September 24

  • Public events at Syracuse Inner Harbor, downtown Syracuse and the surrounding area
  • Opening reception for WCC delegates

Monday, September 25

  • Morning—opening plenary sessions
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon study tours
  • Welcome dinner

Tuesday, September 26

  • Morning breakout sessions
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon study tours
  • Dinner on your own

Wednesday, September 27

  • Morning breakout sessions
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon study tours
  • Dinner—an upstate cookout

Thursday, September 28

  • Closing plenary
  • Lunch
  • Optional afternoon activities for delegates and guests (cycling, paddling, guided tours and more)

Lead Sponsors

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