The Gran Canal Linear Park is a new city park opened in the summer of 2021. Eventually, plans call for the park to stretch more than two kilometers along much of the old canal bed and adjoining banks. The new park includes about 9,000 square meters of green areas, plazas, and walkways. Some 1,000 square meters of playground equipment, and a similar area for running dogs, make it into a major neighborhood asset.
A major project, the first stage of the park covers some 840 meters in length, and includes 24 rainwater reclamation wells that integrate with the underground aquifer. This actually jives with the canal’s long history. The original Gran Canal dates from a series of major floods in 1604 and 1607. A drainage canal began soon after in an effort to prevent flooding by diverting water from old Lake Texcoco into the Tula River. It took some 450,000 workers 11 months to construct a seven kilometer tunnel for just that purpose. The canal leading to the original tunnel was in use for more than 200 years.
By the end of the 18th century, the canal began as a long extension of the original. At 47 kilometers, it stretched from San Lazaro in Mexico City to Zumpango in the State of Mexico. The Gran Canal del Desagüe is still often the name you’ll see on street signs in the area. That original canal ended in another even greater tunnel: the Tequixquiac which began draining the lake and Mexico City in 1900.
The Gran Canal Linear Park project required the reclamation of some 10,000 square meters. That was mostly marshy land on both sides of the old canal. 708 new trees were planted, and this is just the beginning of the park. There’s space for sports, recreation, poetry readings, and kite flying. It never ends.
Today, it’s also a major part of the revitalization of the City’s northeast. The park directly benefits about 100,000 city residents but you can get there easily from Metro R. Flores Magón or Eduardo Molina.