Last month I was lucky enough to spend a week in California and I’m missing the architecture, the sunny weather, the sea and the food. In fact, such is the development in American craft beer in recent years, I’m missing that too. So today I’m treating myself to a reminiscing walk along the canals of Venice – Venice, California.
They make a calm and uncrowded haven, at least at this time of year, away from the hustle and bustle of Venice Beach. They don’t cover a vast area, with just four east-west canals and two north-south. There are helpful signposts, but we don’t need them for our relaxing stroll.
We’ll pop down onto the walkway along the Grand Canal from South Venice Boulevard, and meander up and down.
I’ll wrap up with a bit of history. The canals here were the work of developer Abbot Kinney. They opened to great acclaim in 1905, with visitors flocking to take a gondola ride on the waterways of the “Venice of America”.
Within 25 years, its popularity had waned, with cars winning the popularity stakes. In 1929, after a long battle led by canal residents, many of the canals were paved over. The canal area you see now is only about a quarter the size of the original Venice.
By 1940 the remaining canals had fallen into a state of serious disrepair. Despite several renovation proposals, things remained this way for over 50 years; happily, the canals were eventually drained and cleaned, and new walkways and walls were constructed. The area reopened in 1993 and is now once again a desirable, upmarket residential section of the town.