The development of the most famous canal in America - the Erie Canal - from 1817 - 1825 was a game changer for New York State. The 363 miles spurred economic growth and population as canal town villages sprung up between Albany and Buffalo. Orleans County was established along 25 miles of the Erie Canal with 3 villages gaining prosperity as a result of it in the 19th century: Medina, Albion & Holley. Each of these villages are a port along the Erie Canal with services to accommodate boaters and cyclists.
There are 3 public boat launches along the canal in Orleans County. Each includes parking and a picnic area.
- 10753 State Route 31E, Medina: 2 miles west of Medina on the south side of the canal.
- 3780 Bates Rd, Medina on the north side of the canal.
- Albion-Eagle Harbor Rd., Albion: west of the village on the south side of the canal.
- Car-top launches are available at the Holley Canal Park and Medina Canal Basin.
Besides the three historic canal town villages, notable are these "only in the OC" canal attractions:
- The Erie Canal Culvert on Culvert Rd where the road passes UNDER the canal.
- The Medina Aqueduct and Falls where the Canal crosses Oak Orchard Creek via an aqueduct.
- Holley Falls where overflow water from the Erie Canal empties into the East Branch of Sandy Creek, and eventually makes its way to Lake Ontario.