A decade has passed since construction began at the site of today's reimagined Canalside District in Buffalo, and the changes to the long-neglected former warehouse district and terminus of the Erie Canal can be seen in spades, with visitors and locals alike enjoying the sprawling urban playground year round. Home to a host of new restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops, along with the newly rebranded KeyBank Center (home of the Buffalo Sabres), and the recently constructed HarborCenter, Canalside has been a runaway success and an integral piece of Buffalo's ongoing downtown renaissance and revitalization.
Although the Canalside District was already well on its way in the 2011 image above, construction had yet to begin on the HarborCenter which opened in late 2014. Designed as a hockey-themed mixed-use facility, the HarborCenter contains two indoor ice rinks, several retail chains and dining options, a 205-room Marriott Hotel, and a flagship Tim Hortons cafe built as a tribute to the late Tim Horton of Buffalo Sabre and donut fame.
Adjacent to the recently renamed KeyBank Center — which until earlier this year was known as the First Niagara Center — and served by Buffalo's LRT network, the HarborCenter is at the epicentre of the Canalside District. The District has become home to year-round activities and festivals thanks in large part to the success of the rebuilt canals that can be used for boating in summer and ice skating in winter.
Covering more than a million square feet of space, the Perkins Eastman-designed Canalside District has been a major boon to the city, a must-see destination for anyone planning a trip to Buffalo. Viewed above, the modernized canal system doubles as an outdoor ice rink, an homage to two of Buffalo's most well-known attributes: cold weather and a strong public affinity for all things hockey.