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The Need for more Interactive Water Features @ Canalside

As I was biking around Canalside the other day, I passed by the water feature at the Marriott Courtyard. Suddenly I noticed that a bunch of kids were swimming around the water fountain. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it, because this is not a swimming or wading pool (I’m pretty sure) for people to immerse themselves into. Rather it is a decorative water feature. The funny thing is, the water feature is designed as if it is conducive to swimming and wading. There is a sloped side of the pool that gradually leads into the water. Even the dogs that were standing along the edges looked as if they were ready to take a dip. 

The main reason that I bring this up is that there should be a refreshing water feature for people and dogs down at Canalside, not just a pretty one. On a hot day, there is nothing better than splashing around in cool water. Even if it’s simply a pool to dip the toes in. The lake water at the Inner Harbor is out of reach. There are couple of beach access points – Emerald Beach (very small) at Erie Basin Marina and a larger beach at Wilkeson Pointe (Outer Harbor). And I’m not sure swimming is actually allowed at either one of them. Which brings me back to, “Who ever heard of a waterfront that you can’t touch the water?”

Yes, the Paddle and Pedal Boat Rentals at Canalside are great (see here) – people get a chance to be out on a faux canal, floating atop the water. Same with the small craft rentals along The Buffalo River. But if someone wants to really cool off, there are no options.

One quick click to Pinterest showcases tons of incredible public waterworks images, offering plenty of ideas for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) to browse. From water arches to waterfall steps, there are boatloads of concepts that literally immerse people into aquatic surroundings. It would be great for future phases of Canalside to take into account that people like interacting with water, physically and emotionally. There’s nothing like actually coming into contact with water to joyfully brighten the mood, while cooling off on a hot summer’s day.

*After posting this, a BRO reader said that she too saw the children playing in the fountain, dressed in bathing attire. She said that this is not a first, and a number of people at all hours of the day and night find their way into these non-regulation watering holes. She agreed that ECHDC should create a place where people can splash about, without the worry of hurting themselves, or even drowning.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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