Every year, the World Canals Conference brings together hundreds of canal and waterway enthusiasts, professionals and academics from around the world. During the conference delegates exchange ideas about canal management and development including: the protection of historic features; technical developments; revitalization of canal systems and harbors; recreational opportunities; and the promotion and presentation of canal history. Ways of promoting tourism and invigorating rural economic development and urban renewal are explored.
Since its inception in 1988 the World Canals Conference has grown significantly and now welcomes waterway management agencies and professionals, users and enthusiasts from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.
Conference delegates, official partners and sponsors will have a range of both formal and informal opportunities involving presentations, networking, exhibitions, educational tours and social programmes to share and exchange experiences, technical solutions and lessons learned.
In 1992 the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal hosted International Conference on Historic Canals, as it was then known, at Harpers Ferry, WV.
On August 30, 2021 the World Canals Conference will return to the Potomac River valley at Hagerstown, MD to help mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
With a theme of Historic Canals Today: Education, Recreation, and Tourism, we hope to demonstrate the enduring value of these waterways. Even when navigation has ceased they can still play an important role is society today.
Hagerstown is situated near the midpoint of the 184-mile-long C&O Canal. The city will serve as a convenient base for our study tours during the conference, and perhaps your explorations before and after.
The park boasts an award-winning education program. The Canal Classrooms program provides experiential learning opportunities to K-12 students, taught by a cadre of retired teachers.
Other historic canals have similar stories to tell. The conference will provide an opportunity for participants to share the secrets of their successes.