Ohio & Erie Canalway

Merit Award

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway Communications

A recently designated heritage area, the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway was practically unknown by local residents and even less known outside the region. To build awareness of this local resource and national treasure and to speak with a clear and unified voice, the consultants worked with stakeholders to devise a comprehensive communications plan consisting of interpretation, brand identity, wayfinding and signage, and marketing and positioning.

The interpretive plan articulates the stories of the Canalway and structures them in a manner that informs all other aspects of communication to the public. The wayfinding and signage plan presents a comprehensive system of components that each stakeholder can utilize for his or her own operation. Intended as a toolbox rather than a mandate, these elements are intended to assist and enhance the programs at individual sites rather than replace them, tighten the connections between sites and the Canalway experience, and elevate the entire region as a vital and exciting place for people to live, work, and play.

Jury Comments: 

"This unique system was especially comprehensive, covering a wide range of attractions over a large area. The program started with simple and brief stories to draw in the visitor and create interest in the whole system. The restraint and appropriate amount of content was refreshing."

Design Firm: 

Cloud Gehshan Associates


Ohio & Erie Canal Association

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Design Team: 

Jerome Cloud (Principal in Charge), Barbara Schwarzenbach (Senior Designer), Ken Olschewske (Designer)


Dommert Phillips (interpretive planning), Davidson-Peterson Associates (strategic planning)



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