Canandaigua, County Seat of Ontario County, is a city of 12,000 at the northern end of Canandaigua Lake. It is the home of Sonnenberg Gardens (a beautiful garden estate with a 1887 Victorian mansion surrounded by ten gardens), the CMAC Performing Arts Center (summer home of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) on the Campus of the Finger Lakes Community College, and the Finger Lakes Race Track featuring thoroughbred racing and gambling.
Other Canandaigua attractions include the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum and Ontario County Historical Society Museum. Canandaigua is the home of Canandaigua Wine Company, whose parent, Constellation Brands, is the largest wine company in the United States.
Canandaigua, with its wide main street and stately homes, was the location of the land office of Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps in the late 1700's. It was the most important municipality in the region before the Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad shifed economic expansion to the north on a line from Buffalo to Rochester to Syracuse.
The present location of the Ontario County Courthouse in the City was the site of the signing of the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua (The Pickering Treaty), which established peace between the six nations of the Iroquois Confederation and the fledgling United States of America.
The Pickering Treaty defined Iroquois property rights, including placement of a western boundary on their land, and reserved land for a military road along the Niagara River. Goods and an increased annual annuity were granted to the Indians, cementing the relationship.
Timothy Pickering signed the Treaty for the United States; Cornplanter, Farmer's Brother, Fish Carrier, Handsome Lake, Little Beard, Red Jacket, and 44 others signed with Xs for the Iroquois.