As early as the 1620s Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden diverted the River Don to drain land at Hatfield, and leading the Don into the River Ouse at Goole.
Navigation improvements, such as the Stainforth and Keadby Canal which links to the River Trent, were especially important for the coal industry using large barges to transport their cargo.
Nowadays it is a place to escape city life, enjoy a barging holiday or spot of fishing. We have dug out some great pictures from the archive showing the people who give the canals its character.
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5. Puddle jumping
In 2007 the River Don and the canal merged into one at Sprotbrough Falls thanks to heavy rain. Our picture shows Oliver and Lucy Cawood, aged five, and three, splashing about on the footpath alongside the canal.
Photo: Steve Taylor
6. Canal artworks
Carol Findley, of Misson, sold canal art she painted whilst on her narrow boat Penny No1, during Thorne Yacht Club's annual Regatta in 2007
Photo: Liz Robinson
7. Volunteer lock keeper
A volunteer lock keeper at Long Sandal lock in Doncaster in 2013
Photo: Submitted Picture
8. Canal abode
Don and Barbara Barker on their canal boathome at Strawberry Island Boatyard, Doncaster in 2013
Photo: Tony Johnson