Wide angle lenses are the opposite of telephoto lenses, in the sense that they offer a larger field of view. Broadly speaking any lens that has a focal length that is 35mm or less is a wide angle lens. These lenses are designed to capture a larger slice of the scene. Larger than what a standard lens or a telephoto lens would be able to capture.
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 has an angle of view of 63 ◦. Comparatively, the EF 24mm f/1.4L II a very popular street and landscape lens has an angle of view of 84 ◦. These lenses are perfect for the purpose of shooting architecture, landscape, group shots, weddings and of course street photography.
One aspect of wide angle and ultra wide angle lenses is the barrel distortion that comes with it. This is as normal as pincushion distortion which happens in telephoto lenses.