Explore the great Erie Canal via the charming small town of Port Gibson. Uniquely special because it is Ontario County’s unique presence on the Erie Canal, Port Gibson is a hamlet in the town of Manchester in Ontario County. It lies between Palmyra and Newark. During the earliest Euro-American settlement of the Finger Lakes area in the 1790s through the 1810s, Canandaigua became the region’s urban center, with natural geographic advantages concentrating people and capital at the head of Canandaigua Lake. In the early 1820s, however, the creation of the artificial Erie Canal waterway to the north threatened to cut Canandaigua out from regional trade, causing consternation among its most prominent merchants and citizens.