Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Venice Canals of Los Angeles

For years Venice was made up of salt water coastal marshlands before it was transformed by the tobacco tycoon Abbot Kinney in the early 1900’s. Part of his project was to re-create these marshlands into the “Venice of America". His goal was to evoke an old world charm by modeling the city after Venice, Italy. In 1905 Kinney launched his “Venice of America Project” and the canals were part of a grand scale plan to create Venice as a Sea Side attraction including a “pleasure” pier and a Venetian architecturally inspired colonnade walkway (parts still exist on Winward). When the canals were first open, visitors could visit and tour the canals in gondolas. Because the automobile was still not readily available, Abbot Kinney laid out the canals to be pedestrian friendly.

In the late 1920’s the city decided it needed more paved roads so most of the canals were filled in to create new streets. Today we can still see six remaining water ways which we now know as the Venice Canals. We cannot access the canals by gondola anymore but because of the pedestrian friendly foot ways, one can stroll through the canals. When I lived in Venice Beach, this was one of my favorite ways to walk to the beach. 

Whether it's mid-century or a take on many centuries ago, there are different architectural styles for everyone's taste. 
Lined with eclectic homes ranging from storybook-like to giant modern marvels, it’s a wonderful place to visit and a Venice Beach must-see. Avoid biking in this area as the foot bridges and walkways are narrow! 

I'll take it! 
You can begin your walk at 25th avenue and Pacific. The canals are roughly bounded by Eastern Court on the east, Court A on the south, Strongs Drive on the west, and Court E on the north. There are four east-west canals (Carroll Canal, Linnie Canal, Howland Canal, and Sherman Canal) and two north-south canals (Eastern Canal and Grand Canal). 

Beautiful pedestrian only bridges
Don't forget your boat or canoe! ;) 
Busiest on the weekends but still tranquil and beautiful!
An afternoon stroll along the canals-a great Venice Beach activity! 

Whether you are from Venice Italy or a native Californian, one can appreciate what Kinney set out to achieve. The Venice Canals of Los Angeles are a beautiful gift Kinney has left for us all to enjoy and marvel. 

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