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Downtown Canandaigua, NY.jpg
View north along Main Street, 2014
Name origin: "Ganandogan", Tuscarora for "the chosen spot"
Country United States
State New York
Region Finger Lakes
County Ontario
Center City Hall
 - elevation 750 ft (229 m)
 - coordinates 42°53′15″N 77°16′54″W / 42.88750°N 77.28167°W / 42.88750; -77.28167
Highest point East Street near city's NE corner
 - elevation 840 ft (256 m)
 - coordinates 42°54′21″N 77°16′25″W / 42.90583°N 77.27361°W / 42.90583; -77.27361
Lowest point Canandaigua Lake shore
 - elevation 690 ft (210 m)
Area 4.8 sq mi (12 km²)
 - land 4.6 sq mi (12 km²)
 - water 0.2 sq mi (1 km²)
Population 10,545 (2010)
Density 2,197 /sq mi (848 /km²)
Incorporation as village 1815
 - Incorporation as city 1913
Government Council-Manager
 - location City Hall
Mayor Ellen Polimeni (D)
City Manager Ted Andrzejewski
Timezone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 14424, 14425
Area code 585
FIPS code 36-12144
GNIS feature ID 0945739
Demonym Canandaiguan

Canandaigua /ˌkænənˈdɡwə/ (Utaʼnaráhkhwaʼ in Tuscarora) is a city in Ontario County, New York, United States. The population was 10,545 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Ontario County although some administrative offices are located at the county complex in the adjacent town of Hopewell. The name Canandaigua is derived from the Seneca name of its historic village here, spelled variously Kanandarque, Ganandogan, Ga-nun-da-gwa, Konondaigua, or in a modern transcription, tganǫdæ:gwęh, which means "the chosen spot", or "at the chosen town".

The city lies within the Town of Canandaigua. The City of Canandaigua is located on the northern end of Canandaigua Lake, 24 miles (39 km) southeast of Rochester and 58 miles (93 km) west of Syracuse. Parts of six neighboring towns also share the Canandaigua mailing address and 14424 ZIP code.



Developed near Canandaigua Lake at the site of the historic Seneca village Ganandogan, by the mid-19th century Canandaigua was an important railroad junction and home port for several steamboats by the mid-19th century. After the Civil War, local industries included two brick works, the Lisk Manufacturing Company, several mills, and the regionally prominent McKechnie Brewery. The shire town of the original county of western New York, Canandaigua was the site of the Susan B. Anthony trial in 1873. Today, the town is a center for business, government, health care, and education. Canandaigua is the home of Constellation Brands, founded as Canandaigua Wine Company; Finger Lakes Community College; Thompson Health System; the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC); Granger Homestead; The Canandaigua Lady Paddle wheel tour boat; and Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park. It is also home to one of the largest Wegmans Food Markets and the New York Wine & Culinary Center.


The region was visited by French explorers Robert de La Salle and René de Bréhant de Galinée in 1669. They recorded seeing a burning spring known to the Seneca in what is now known as the nearby Town of Bristol. The water of the spring appears to burn as a flame; this is caused by escaping natural gas, and several such burning springs have been noted in the Canandaigua area.

The city was the historic site of Kanandaigua, a Seneca village. The village site was later used for West Avenue Cemetery. The village was formed by former residents of the Ganondagan Seneca village, destroyed by the French in 1687.

The Kanandaigua Seneca village, consisting of 23 longhouses, was destroyed by the Sullivan Expedition on September 10, 1779. In reprisal for an attack on settlements at Cherry Valley, Americans mounted this expedition. Their forces attacked Iroquois villages throughout western New York, destroying 40 and burning the winter stores of the people. The Iroquois fled to Fort Niagara as refugees, and many died that winter of starvation.

After the war, pioneer settlers came from eastern New York and New England. They founded the city's public high school, Canandaigua Academy, in 1791. On November 11, 1794, the Treaty of Canandaigua was signed in the town by representatives of the United States of America and the Six Nations of the Iroquois; the British had ceded Iroquois lands without consulting them, and the US forced most of these people out of the state. It established two small reservations for the Seneca and Oneida, who had been allies of the American rebels.

What is now the City separated from the Town of Canandaigua to become the Village of Canandaigua in 1815 and a city in 1913.

In 1807-1808, Geneva flour merchant Jessie Hawley, an early proponent of building a canal through the Mohawk Valley to improve shipping and connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie, served 20 months in the Canandaigua debtors' prison. During this time he published 14 essays on the canal concept, which were influential.

Stephen A. Douglas was a student at Canandaigua Academy between 1830 and January 1833; he later was elected as US senator from Illinois senator and was the 1860 Democratic Party presidential nominee before losing to Republican Abraham Lincoln.

This area was a center of activism for women's suffrage and other progressive movements. In 1873, women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony was tried in the Ontario County Courthouse, located in the City of Canandaigua, for voting. She was found guilty and fined $100, which she did not pay.

In 1945, Canandaigua Wine Company was founded by Marvin Sands. With a growing American market for wine in the late 20th century, the company expanded rapidly through acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s. It joined other companies in forming Constellation Brands and became the world's largest wine and spirits distributor. In 2006, Canandaigua Wine Company rebranded as Centerra Wine Co., a subsidiary of Constellation Wines, U.S., Inc.

On March 14, 2006, President George W. Bush visited Canandaigua, giving speeches at Canandaigua Academy and at Ferris Hills, an assisted-living community for seniors. He was describing Medicare Part D for senior citizens. The text of his speech at Ferris Hills can be found here.


According to the United States Census Bureau, Canandaigua has an area of 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²), of which 4.6 square miles (11.9 km²) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.6 km²) (4.75%) is water.

The city is at the northern end of Canandaigua Lake, in the Finger Lakes region, the largest wine producing area in New York State.

The city is on U.S. Route 20 and NY Routes 5 and 21.


Climate data for Canandaigua
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 34
Daily mean °F (°C) 27
Average low °F (°C) 18
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.811


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 450
1830 1,830
1840 2,790 52.5%
1850 3,200 14.7%
1860 4,822 50.7%
1870 4,862 0.8%
1880 5,726 17.8%
1890 5,868 2.5%
1900 6,151 4.8%
1910 7,217 17.3%
1920 7,299 1.1%
1930 7,541 3.3%
1940 8,321 10.3%
1950 8,332 0.1%
1960 9,370 12.5%
1970 10,488 11.9%
1980 10,419 −0.7%
1990 10,725 2.9%
2000 11,264 5.0%
2010 10,545 −6.4%
Est. 2015 10,431 −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
Ontario County Courthouse
Ontario County Courthouse

As of the census of 2010, there were 10,545 people, 4,789 households, and 2,470 families residing in the city.

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,264 people, 4,762 households, and 2,666 families residing in the city in the year 2000 census. The population density was 2,447.5 people per square mile (945.4/km²). There were 5,066 housing units at an average density of 1,100.8 per square mile (425.2/km²). The city's racial makeup was 96.04% White, 1.53% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.

There were 4,762 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.0% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.95.

Canandaigua, NY, city hall
City Hall

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,197, and the median income for a family was $47,388. Males had a median income of $31,950 versus $26,538 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,153. About 5.9% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

Culture and landmarks

  • Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens, a Victorian mansion and 50 acres (200,000 m²) of gardens, is now a state historic park; it is open from May through mid-October and requires an admission fee.
  • The New York Wine & Culinary Center, hosting a variety of exhibits, programs and classes related to New York State wine and agriculture products, opened in 2006 in downtown Canandaigua.
  • Kershaw Beach at the north end of Canandaigua Lake (on Lakeshore Drive) is open to the public for a small fee.
  • Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park is located in the city and offers several hard-surface boat ramps for access to Canandaigua Lake.
  • At 116 Gorham Street is located one of the relatively few remaining Octagon Houses in New York, which were popular for a time in the state.
  • The town of Hopewell, New York hosts an annual steam fair, called the Pageant of Steam, in August.
  • Finger Lakes Community College (partially located in the town of Hopewell, New York) has the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center, which features a variety of performances available to the community.
  • Canandaigua Farmer's Market is located in the Beeman and Lafayette St. Parking Lot and runs from June–October.
  • The Canandaigua Lady is a double-decker paddle wheel steamboat replica that offers public cruises on Canandaigua Lake from May–October.
  • Canandaigua hosts several festivals and large events throughout the year, such as the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival, Waterfront Art Festival, Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, LakeMusic Festival, Festival of Trees at the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, Christkindl Market, and the Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival.

National Register of Historic Places

Within the City of Canandaigua, the following buildings, properties and districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

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