What would it have been like, back when the city’s waterfront was bustling, to live on a canal boat? That’s the question that Mike Weekes (Fandemoneum!) is asking. What’s even more intriguing is that he’s doing more than asking… he’s actually proposing to build a canal boat between now and March 1st upon which time he plans on spending the summer and fall residing on his creation… hopefully at River Fest Park.
In order to get the job done, Mike is looking for a 20’x40′ space (contact Mike) where he can construct the boat. Once built, Mike would like to showcase the 12’x30′ craft on the Buffalo River in order to give people an accurate snapshot that would resemble life on our historic waterfront. “We built a Gloucester dory for the Canalfest Sikaflex Challenge and rowed it up and down the Inner Harbor this summer,” Mike mentioned in an email correspondence. “It was wicked awesome. After participating in the Project for Public Spaces and ECHDC workshops, I can no longer wait to see a canal boat afloat on the Buffalo Waterfront. This will be my third boatbuilding project and most challenging yet.”
I agree with Mike that it would be great to see more of these types of projects coinciding with many of the Buffalo Maritime Center’s past and current efforts. The more individuals that learn this style of skilled craftsmanship, the more opportunities we will see for historic recreations – both by groups and individuals. Other waterfront cities have dedicated programs that teach those interested how to build boats indigenous to their own waterfronts… it’s good to see more and more people expressing similar interest in these types of initiatives.
Photo: Before building the real deal, a model must be constructed…