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Check out the evolving Outer Harbor

With the success of Canalside, it’s no surprise the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is dedicated to seeing another long-dormant waterfront area see its resurgence – the Outer Harbor.

“The success we have experienced at Canalside can now be taken to the Outer Harbor where we have the natural beauty of the Great Lakes. We needed to capitalize on that and make Buffalo a place we’re all proud of,” said Thomas Dee, president of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

Be Our Guest Ltd., a subsidiary of Rich Products, was hired this year to take over operations at Canalside and the Outer Harbor. Outer Harbor activity has been slowly increasing – an estimated 250,000 people visited there last year – but the ECHDC is looking to boost those numbers with new programming and events along with existing attractions.

“We know that number will be significantly higher this summer based on what Be Our Guest is planning,” said Dee.

Outer Harbor bike trails | Discover |

Dee said activities will include fitness classes, bike rentals and water sport rentals such as kayaks, water bikes, paddleboats and more. The Outer Harbor is also taking on one of WNY’s favorite events this summer, when the Galbani Italian Heritage Festival moves from its former location on Hertel Avenue. The festival will be held July 13-16.

“We are excited the Italian Festival committee wanted to bring the festival to the Outer Harbor. It’s a very successful festival and the harbor itself could potentially be the place for all festivals,” said Dee. “If we make this an area that’s fun, easily accessible, and doesn’t disrupt neighborhood businesses, nothing but good can come out of it.”

Summertime visitors can also enjoy the Queen City Bike Ferry, which links Canalside to the Outer Harbor, for a fee of $1 per rider. Once off the ferry, bikers (or walkers) can check out Chinamen’s Lighthouse, Times Beach Nature Preserve and Wilkeson Pointe Park. Bikers seeking a longer ride can easily get to Tifft Nature Preserve, the Greenway Nature Trail, Buffalo Harbor State Park and Charlie’s Boathouse Restaurant.

To keep up to date on Outer Harbor activities this summer, visit

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