Written by: Alexis Krachai
We all have one or two places in or around Sheffield that we will head to for a walk or take visiting family and friends to. The Peace Gardens, Ecclesall Road, Rother Valley, even Meadowhall. Our city has its ‘hotspots’. How many of us head down to Sheffield Tinsley Canal at the weekend?
Having lived in Sheffield for most of my life, I have never walked the length of the canal, had a bite to eat at The Quays restaurant or even stepped on board a passenger boat. I have nothing against the canal, I just don’t know much about it.
The thing is, something is happening down at Victoria Quays.
You might have noticed. The old Grain Warehouse, sitting proudly over the canal now homes modern offices and luxury apartments. The Hilton opens its doors on to the waterfront and a handful of bars and restaurants are popping up along the water’s edge.
There is also a spotlight on the northeast of Sheffield owing to the development of the Olympic Legacy Park, set to be a national centre of excellence in health and wellbeing. So, isn’t it time we turned our attention to the waterway linking this and the heart of the city?
Thinking about all of this, I find myself wondering if we have another Kelham Island on our hands. An area once integral to the industrial heartland of Sheffield, left neglected until somebody realised that our past has an important role to play in the future prosperity of this city.
Go and see for yourself. Later this month, there really is something exciting happening at Victoria Quays. The Canal and River Trust – the charity that is helping us fall back in love with our country’s canals – is holding a festival across two days and two sites, to celebrate our waterfront.
The Sheffield Waterfront Festival takes place on Saturday 23 September, when Victoria Quays will be brought to life with live music, street food, canoe and fishing tasters, boats trips and art exhibitions. On Sunday 24, the action will be found at riverside location, Kelham Island Museum, where there will be music, BBQs, kayaking and of course, real ale.
The Sheffield Tinsley Canal is an asset for our city. The Sheffield Waterfront Festival will be, I’m sure, the first of many opportunities to see it showcased.
See you there.