Past conferences

Past conferences are listed here, with their themes, starting with the most recent. Clicking on the logo will open the dedicated site created by the organisers for that event, or, if the page is no longer available, the website of the principal organiser.

WCC 2022 – Leipzig, Germany

WCC 2022 Leipzig

The theme of the conference, held on May 30-June 3, was Reshaping Landscapes – Waterways in TransitionSee separate page with an illustrated report by Janet Gascoigne on the conference,  including highlights of the pre- and post-conference tours to Berlin and the Finow Canal, including the two ship lifts at Niederfinow, then to Magdeburg and the Elbe crossing, finishing in Lutherstadt Wittenberg on the River Elbe. See the conference review here.

WCC 2021 – Hagerstown, MD, USA

Logo WCC 2021

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association hosted the WCC in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA, in collaboration with Visit Hagerstown and the US National Park Service. The event commemorated the 50th anniversary of creation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Substantial restoration works have been completed on significant sections of the canal, particularly in Georgetown, Washington, and in Williamsport, MD, close to Hagerstown. The C&O and its project partners were delighted to be show delegates one of America’s most emblematic canals.

WCC 2019 – Yangzhou, China

The conference was held in Yangzhou, China. The theme, “The role of Canals in CityBetterment and Ecological Restoration”, invites the delegates to discuss how to maximize the roles of canals in improving modern human habitat from such perspectives as the restoration and maintenance of water ecology, the rational management of urban spaces as well as perfection of functions, and canal heritage and tourism development.

Inland waterways have an important role to play in building healthy, beautiful, habitable, and convenient cities.

WCC 2018 – Athlone, Ireland

The conference was based at Athlone on the Shannon Navigation. The theme was “Restoring – Regenerating – Re-imagining”. Pre- and post-conference tours visited other key waterways sites throughout Ireland. The event was organised jointly by Waterways Ireland and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, and was attended by over 300 delegates, including 15 from the World Canal Cities Organisation and partners in China, who were able to promote next year’s conference which is at Yangzhou and Wuxi on the Grand Canal.

WCC 2017 – Syracuse, NY, USA

Read our blog on the highly successful World Canals Conference organised by the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Visit Syracuse, on September 24-28, 2017. More than 350 delegates took part in the event. The theme of the conference was “Our Vital Waterways: Agents of Transformation”. The event celebrated the bicentennial of the Erie Canal – the waterway that transformed America.

WCC 2016 – Inverness, Scotland

WCC 2016Read our brief report on this conference.
The conference themes were: Technical challenges & innovation, Growing tourism & commercialising the assets, Waterways as a driver for regeneration, and Safeguarding the heritage of our waterways.

WCC 2015 – Ghent, Belgium

WCC 2015 Ghent

Theme: the Western Flemish canals and inland waterways (hinterland of the North Sea region in Flanders)

WCC 2014 – Milan, Italy

WCC 2014 MilanThemes:
– Canals as cultural heritage
– Infrastructure & transport
– Tourism & economy
– Multifunctional uses & environment

WCC 2013 – Toulouse, France

WCC13 logo

Themes: Canals as living heritage to be preserved; transport & tourism; analysis of waterway networks; governance, and waterway development strategies
Pre-conference tour on the Canal du Midi and post-conference tour on the Tarn in Albi, the river Lot and the Canal de Garonne

WCC 2012 – Yangzhou, China

Theme: Grand Canal, Living Heritage

Pre-conference tour to Beijing, Xi’an, Chongqing and cruise on the Yangtze River

WCC 2011 – Groningen, Netherlands

Theme: The Groningen declaration: towards integrated development of canals and inland waterways

WCC 2010 – Rochester, New York, USA

WCC 2010

Theme: Canals in the Community Setting, New York State and Worldwide: Challenges and Opportunities

WCC 2009 Novi Sad, Serbia

WCC 2009
Theme: East and west will meet: canals and waterways for tomorrow’s world
(Vode Vojvodine & Danube Propeller)

WCC 2008 – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Theme: Managing Canal Corridors in the 21st Century

WCC 2007 – Liverpool, England UK

Theme: Creating sustainable waterside communities: involving volunteers and the community alongside professionals when designing and delivering waterfront regeneration

WCC 2006 – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

WCC 2005 – Trollhättan, Sweden

WCC 2004 – St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

WCC 2003 – Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

WCC 2002 – Montreal, Canada

WCC 2001 – Dublin, Ireland & Belfast, Northern Ireland

WCC 2000 – Rochester, NY, USA

WCC 1999 – Lille, France and La Louvière, Belgium

WCC 1998 – Michigan, Illinois USA

WCC 1997 – Pawtucket, USA

(Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor)

WCC 1996 – Birmingham, England, UK

(British Waterways)

Name changed to World Canals Conference

WCC 1995 – Augusta, GA, USA (Augusta Canal National Heritage Area)

WCC 1994 – Peterborough, Canada (Trent-Severn Waterway)

WCC 1993 – Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

(Shubenacadie Canal)

WCC 1992 – Bethesda, MD, USA

(Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park)

WCC 1991 – Brecksville, Ohio, USA

(Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, Cuyahoga Valley National Park)

WCC 1990 – Smiths Falls, ONT, Canada

(Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada)

Name changed to International Conference on Historic Canals

WCC 1989 – Easton, PA, USA (Delaware & Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor)

WCC 1988 – Spring Grove, Illinois

(Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor) – the first National Conference on Historic Canals