The Union Canal

Since its repair in 2001 by the Millennium Link project, the Union Canal has come from being a little known part of the city to one of the city's key assets. The canal is now enjoyed daily by people across Edinburgh. There has been a large rise in people

  • boating 
  • rowing 
  • walking
  • cycling.

The canal is used by many local sports groups to support children and adults take part in water sports such as

  • canoeing
  • kayaking
  • rowing.

There are many social enterprise canal boats which support journeys along the Union Canal for local community activities. This includes

  • school transition support
  • community support
  • events

increasing knowledge on the history and biodiversity along the canal.

The canal is a diverse wildlife corridor where protected species can be found such as otters and newts. The importance of pollinators along the Union Canal are highlighted through Edinburgh’s Nature Network.

See more about the benefits of the Union Canal.

2023 Edinburgh canal partnership

The Edinburgh stretch of the Union Canal is being supported through a partnership between us and Scottish Canals. The Union Canal is managed by Scottish Canals.

This partnership includes a development officer who is focused on supporting Union Canal projects. This role was initially proposed in the Union Canal Bicentenary report produced in 2021. This post is now active and sits within our Regeneration and Development team within the wider Sustainable Development team.

The partnership includes a refresh of the 2011 Union Canal strategy. This will include updating content to reflect the Council’s net zero ambitions, and actions which have been taken canal side. This will also include consulting the wider community on opportunities surrounding canal development. Other work will include exploring funding opportunities and continued community engagement.

We recently hosted a consultation survey to gather views on the Union Canal in Edinburgh to help inform this work.

We also welcome any other comments you may have about your experience of and aspirations for the Union Canal in Edinburgh. Please email any enquiries about this project

2011 Strategy

The Union Canal strategy was prepared in 2011. 

Download the Union Canal strategy - some of our downloads might not be accessible. If you need help, please email


As part of the strategy, a brand for the union canal has been created. The brand is free all for canal groups and users.

Download the union canal brand guidelines - some of our downloads might not be accessible. If you need help, please email