Editor’s Note: The first event of the Canavan Family Reunion in 2021 was an exclusive Chicago River tour with a docent with the Chicago Architectural Foundation as our guide. The group assembled early at the Riverwalk dock of Chicago’s Classic Lady tour boat. There were greetings and hugs all around as everyone was happy to see dear relatives hidden from view in the pandemic lockdown or appearing for the first time as members of the extended Canavan Family.
The tour would start out headed west to Wolf Point, the place on the Chicago River where its North and South Branches meet.
Then it would be up the North Branch to the redevelopment of the former headquarters of the Montgomery Ward mail order company.
The Classic Lady would then retrace its route back to Wolf Point before heading down the South Branch to the architectural landmark of River City.
On the way back, the tour boat would pass Wolf Point for the third and last time as it approached the massive Merchandise Mart.
As the Classic Lady passed the Reid Murdoch Building on the River between LaSalle and Dearborn Streets, I stepped in as a temporary guide and explained that three members of the Bowe family once worked in the former warehouse.
The last stretch of the tour took the group east past the twin circular towers of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City to the turning basin by Navy Pier and the Chicago Lock to Lake Michigan. As the sun began to drop behind the striking skyline nearly everyone had a camera out to record the City from its Lake Michigan side for once. With the big show over it was a short hop back to the Riverwalk dock.
The Canavan crowd abandoned ship quickly. Their haste was no doubt in order not to miss any of the cocktail hour at their next event, a gala dinner at The Cliff Dwellers club, high above Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.