For a journalism class project we spent a day at the London Docklands in Canary Wharf. The assignment was to write a 1,200 word feature about Canary Wharf. I chose to focus on why so few tourists visit the area. Here is a condensed version of my feature story:
It’s 10 a.m. Canary Wharf is a bustling hub of people, clad in suits and briefcases, hurrying off to work in the glass towers of the international companies, financial institutions and media groups occupying the 100 acres of docklands. Come 11 a.m., the meticulously maintained parks, promenades, shops and restaurants are deserted.
The thriving business center of East London has undergone the most dramatic revitalization in the city in recent years. So where are all the tourists?
While London is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, attracting about 27 million tourists per year, the city’s tourists are more interested in the pomp and ceremony of central London, than the glittering new royalty residing in the bank towers and international offices of Canary Wharf.
Just a short trip east from the center of London by the Jubilee Line or the Docklands Light Railway, Canary Wharf occupies the northern end of the Isle of Dogs. But, because Canary Wharf is outside of central London, where many of the more popular tourist attractions are it deters tourists from making the short trek.
As Canary Wharf expands, with new hotels, restaurants, shops, cinemas, landscaped parks and construction projects more tourists are bound to visit.
If the Canary Wharf Group PLC, the group that developed and administered Canary Wharf, has a say, the tourists will be piling in soon.
Bringing in some the world’s best architects, such as Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron who designed Tate Modern and the Bird’s Nest stadium in Bejing, the docklands has transformed London’s skyline.
The most recognizable building in this area, at the center of Canary Wharf, stands One Canada Square, Britain’s second tallest building and the beacon of modern architecture inspired by the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
Rising 50 stories and 244 metres, One Canada Square is a formidable structure visible from almost any high vantage point in London. The blinking light at the top of the tower is a warning to aircraft not to come near.
With new projects underway, including the redevelopment of Wood Wharf, an area historically used for the shipping and storage of timber and repair of ships, Canary Wharf is claiming its role as an architectural paradise.