Canandaigua, New York, (population 11,264) was the site of the November 11, 1794 signing of the Pickering Treaty establishing formal peace between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederation. After the Revolutionary War, Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham acquired a six million acre land tract stretching from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border. Phelps and Gorham laid out the town of Canandaigua, establishing a wide Main Street, a public square, and a courthouse. They also endowed the original Canandaigua Academy. Canandaigua became a village in 1815.
By the late 1800s, more than 80 percent of the watershed had been cleared for farming, and winemaking had been introduced. Canandaigua was home to the philanthropist Mary Clark Thompson, who established the F. F. Thompson Hospital in memory of her late husband. Canandaigua's early involvement in agriculture, health care, and education are still reflected in today's economy. Tourism is also popular in Canandaigua, due to the numerous cottages and lakefront homes surrounding Canandaigua Lake.
The Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum showcases its collection of almost 100 conserved historic carriages. The museum offers Friday afternoon tours of the city's historic northern neighborhood by horse and carriage. Mary Clark Thompson's summer estate is now the “Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park” The site features nine formal gardens and a turn-of-the-century greenhouse complex. Each museum has more than 300 active volunteers.
Homestead Days in June bring more than 600 elementary students through the Granger Homestead for hands-on learning. Colonial and Pioneer-era activities include using a washboard for laundering clothes by hand, fighting fires with a bucket brigade, and candle dipping. Each September, 1,000 fifth and seventh graders attend the Civil War Encampment at Granger Homestead. The students have the opportunity to experience a taste of life as a Civil War soldier.
Every November 11, the city of Canandaigua, in conjunction with the Ontario County Historical Society and the Native American community, commemorate the 1794 signing of the Pickering Treaty. The annual celebration is held each year at its original location, on the corner of North Main and Ontario streets.
Within the city of Canandaigua, a long-standing committee consisting of government officials, private citizens, and members of the historical society have helped research, designate, and fundraise for historic markers. One of these markers is located at the City Pier, describing the history of the boathouses in Canandaigua.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2009.