Canal Society members study New York canal history, including its effect on the life and economy of the State; exchange information; promote interest in the canals in the United States and abroad; educate the public and encourage preservation of canal records, relics, structures and sites; and help restore abandoned canals and historic vessels, including replicating their structures.

Founded in Buffalo on October13, 1956, the Canal Society is a not-for-profit educational organization that enables people to visit canal sites in New York State and beyond through regular, organized field trips, to share information and ideas about preserving canal history and traditions, and to advocate for canal renewal and development.