Canal Winchester is a village in Fairfield and Franklin counties in Ohio. The population was 4,478 at the 2000 census, and was estimated to be at 5,632 as of 2005. Canal Winchester was founded by in 1828 by Reuben Dove and John Colmen. When the Ohio & Erie canal came through Reuben Dove's wheat field, he wanted to sue the state. The canal workmen convinced him that he would be better off laying out a town since the area was midway between Columbus and Lancaster. On November 4, 1828, Reuben Dove and John Colman recorded the first plat for Winchester, Ohio, in Violet Township, Fairfield County. Dove named the village after his father's hometown of Winchester, Virginia.
Winchester flourished because of agriculture and transportation. The Ohio and Erie Canal brought passengers, freight and a means to transport grain to market. The first canal boat floated through Winchester in 1831. In 1869, the railroad came to Canal Winchester, bringing continued prosperity.
The village became Canal Winchester when the post office was established in 1841 because there were other towns in the state of Ohio with the name Winchester. The village was annexed to Madison Township, Franklin County, in 1851. In May of 1866, the Ohio Secretary of State granted incorporation papers for the Village of Canal Winchester.
Highlights of the area include: Historic Downtown Canal Winchester, Mid-Ohio Doll and Toy Museum, Barber's Museum and Hall of Fame, Slate Run Vineyard and Winery, and the many antique shops in the Village and in neighboring Lithopolis. Canal Winchester also has the only standing wooden covered bridge in Franklin County.