Canal Winchester is a city in Fairfield and Franklin counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 7,101 at the 2010 census.
Canal Winchester was founded in 1828 by Reuben Dove and John Colman. When construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal came through Dove's wheat field, he wanted to sue the state. The canal workmen instead convinced him that he would be better off laying out a town, because 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. The village was named Canal Winchester when the post office was established in 1841, because there were five other locations in the state named Winchester.
A local legend explains how Canal Winchester received its post office. On Halloween, October 31, 1841, two teenage boys, as a prank, hooked two horses up to the foundation of the post office of the town of Waterloo and then pulled it across the street to Winchester.