Canal Winchester is a quaint town established in 1828 after a dispute about a canal being dug on Henry Dove’s land. Instead of suing, he was convinced that it would be the perfect place for a town, that would benefit from the canal.
Located about halfway between Columbus and Lancaster, the town, first name Winchester, prospered due to agriculture and transportation. The first canal boat passed through on the Ohio Erie Canal in 1831, and a railroad was added in 1869.
The town was renamed Canal Winchester in 1841 when it qualified for a post office and needed to be distinguished from the other towns named Winchester in Ohio.
This small city now boasts a mix of nature and businesses in and around the community, and is worth a trip to explore. Read below for details about annual events, places to eat and visit, and upcoming events.
Attractions in Canal Winchester
Slate Run Living Historical Farm: Part of the Franklin County and Columbus Metro Parks, Slate Run takes you back to the 1880’s to a historical living farm. Observe the farm’s costumed staff and volunteers doing their daily chores. Visit with pigs, geese, turkeys, Percheron horses and other heirloom animals. Tour the gothic revival farmhouse built in 1856, and watch the ladies prepare the meals and tend the house. Admission is free, and it’s perfect for all ages!
Pickerington Ponds: Another Metro Park with walking trails, bird watching, ponds, picnicking, and more. Connects to the Blacklick Creek Greenway and Bike Trail.
Motts Military Museum: Located in nearby Groveport, the museum aims to education visitors about America’s military history with artifacts, documentation, and personal stories of those who have served in the Armed Forces. through exhibits focused on involved from the Colonial Era through current global conflicts.
Harrison Farm: Just outside of Canal Winchester, this farm is definitely worth a stop. I’m obsesses with these goat yoga goats! Schedule a goat yoga class (Spring through Fall) or stop by the Sunday Farm Stands on Sundays beginning in April from 1-4 pm to purchase a variety of farm goods and visit with the animals.
Dining out in Canal Winchester
There are plenty of places to eat in Canal Winchester, but we wanted to highlight a few places that we love (or would love to try!).
Brewdog DogTap Columbus: Offering a fantastic menu of food and beer, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating in a park-like setting, dog park, beer museum, games, fire pits special events and more.
Vegan and gluten-free items are available! This is a destination in itself! You can even stay at the DogHouse Hotel onsite, which features beer-themed rooms inside the brewery. Hotel room feature your choice of draft beer on tap and are dog-friendly.
Shade on Canal: Extensive menu with appetizers, sandwiches, salad, pizza, wings, kids menu, and gluten-free options. The food is upscale comfort food, and they offer lots of beer on tap.
Harvest Moon Craft Kitchen: Made from scratch kitchen with locally sourced food when possible. Beverage options feature Ohio based breweries and Ohio liquor. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner with creative, clean, and flavorful dishes.
Barrel and Boar: Featuring smoked meats and southern cuisine in a warm rustic setting. Offerings lunch, dinner, drinks, and Sunday brunch.
Local Cantina: Fun, from scratch Tex-Mex food and beverages.
The Olive Branch Pizzeria: Brick oven pizza, subs, salads, snacks, coffee drinks, adult beverages, and more. Build your own pizza style – it cooks in 2 minutes! Oh – and they have a great mission and outreach.
Fantasy Cupcakes: Don’t forget dessert! The reviews here are amazing, and they offer way more than just cupcakes, including gluten-free and vegan options.
Annual Events in Canal Winchester
Canal Winchester Community Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 10 am at McGill Park (located at 6725 Lithopolis-Winchester Rd.). Enjoy a sneak preview of the new park, visit with the Easter Bunny, and join your community friends for a fun egg hunt! Children age 10 and under are invited to participate.
There will be approximately 10,000 colorful eggs, with special prize eggs in each age category. Age groups are as follows: under 3 years, 3-6 years, and 7-10 years. Details here.
Canal Winchester Farmers’ Market
Saturdays, May 27 – September 30, 2023 from 9 am – noon. Canal Winchester Historical Complex, 100 North High Street, Canal Winchester (Corner of High Street and West Oak Street.). Details here.
May 20, 2023 from noon – 4 pm.
The Canal Winchester Art Guild “Art Stroll” is held in historic downtown Canal Winchester each May. Enjoy a wide variety of art and mediums throughout downtown businesses, along with live music, dining and more. Details.
Music in the Park
Outdoor concert series in the summer, featuring live entertainment and family-friendly activities at Stradley Park in historic downtown Canal Winchester. All music and activities run from 6 – 9 PM. More details at link.
Friday, May 19, 2023 at 6 pm
May’s Music in the park features Touch-a-Truck. There will be trucks and cars from police & fire. Touch-A-Truck will feature vehicles from Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Township Police Department, and Madison Township Fire Department, with live music by A Simple Harvest.
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 6 pm:
Pet Palooza, featuring music by The Treble Catz. Visit with vendors to learn more about responsible pet ownership, upcoming community events for your 4-legged friends, and more! Additional FREE activities include: balloon animals; live performances from the living statue; face painting by the CW Queens & Court; games and activities ; and more! Featured Food Truck: Kona Ice
Friday, July 21, 2023 at 6 pm
Cruise-In Car Show, featuring live music by The Gas Pump Jockeys. Have a Hot Ride? Car Show Registration is free! Participants can register from 5 – 6pm on event night. Space is limited to the first 50 vehicles. Car show awards will include People’s Choice, Mayor’s Choice, Kid’s Choice, Band’s Choice, Sponsor’s Choice, and Farthest Traveled. Click here for directions to the park.
Additional FREE activities include: balloon animals; live performances from the living statue; face painting by the CW Queens & Court; games and activities ; and more! Featured Food Truck: Schmidt’s Sausage Truck
Memorial Day Ceremony
Monday, May 29, 2023
VFW Post #10523 will host Canal Winchester’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Union Grove Cemetery (400 Winchester Cemetery Rd.) beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The ceremony will feature a keynote speaker, announced at a later date. Other ceremony participants will include Boy Scouts Troop 103, Cub Scouts Troop 103, and the Canal Winchester High School Band.
Immediately following the Canal Winchester Memorial Day Ceremony, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will host a flag retirement ceremony on the cemetery grounds.
The public is invited to attend both ceremonies. Lawn chairs or blankets are encouraged for seating. Details.
Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest
July 28-29, 2023
Summer street celebration featuring live blues music, world-class ribs, a wide variety of quality non-rib food options, children’s activities, fan-cooled dining areas, and a beer & wine garden for guests 21 and over. Full details here.
Labor Day Festival
September 2-4, 2023. Annual Labor Day festival features live music, a parade, car show, pageants, rides, fair food, activities, and more.
Founders Day Celebration
October 14, 2023 from 9 am – 3 pm. From the original days in 1811 when Henry Dove moved his family from Virginia to Canal Winchester, our town flourished in the farming industry. Various goods and social opportunities were available to the residents in town.
Stop by the Historical Complex during Founders Day to learn more about that history and different opportunities available back then. Details here.
Historic Ghost Tour
Annual Historic Ghost Tour explores six historic locations throughout downtown Canal Winchester.
Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21, 2023
The walking tours last about 90 minutes and begin at 7 p.m. Each tour starts from the Historical Complex located at 10 W. Oak Street. Purchase tickets online or at the Train Depot beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the last tour departing at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, ages 6-18. Children under age 5 are free. Details here.
Saturday, November 11, 2023 starting at 8:30 am
The City of Canal Winchester and VFW Post 10523 host a yearly Veterans March and Ceremony in downtown Canal Winchester. Event kicks off with a pancake breakfast. Details here.
Christmas in the Village
Annual storybook Christmas celebration includes the tree lighting, visits with Santa, train rides, reindeer, food, crafts, shopping, and more.
December 1-2, 2023: The free festival features activities inside businesses and on the sidewalks and streets of downtown Canal Winchester.
Both nights will feature the tree lighting at Stradley Place Greenspace by Santa Claus, after he arrives by firetruck at 6 pm. You can also visit with Santa at the Interurban Depot.
The Christmas Trolley makes stops at Stradley Place, Community Center, and Historical Complex, and there are children’s train rides and hayrides to enjoy.
Guests can also check out the ice sculptures, Gingerbread House Contest, Craft Bazaar & Train Display at the Community Center (Friday), go iceless ice skating, and more.
On Saturday, the Brockstrong Holiday Lights Parade with Santa is at 5:30 PM with Santa arriving downtown at 6:00 PM. Guests can enjoy free cocoa and cookies, kids’ crafts, Pet photos with Santa ($10 donation), ornament painting, “Storybook Christmas: The Grinch” Special Themed Activities, and more.
City of Canal Winchester
36 S High Street
Canal Winchester, OH 43110