The history of Banbury’s canal will be remembered at a colourful and fun-filled family day out on Sunday October 1. Canal Day this year is ‘on’ again after being cancelled in February because of building work planned for the waterside. Construction work – part of the Castle Quay Two expansion – on the canalside north of General Foods Social Club was to have started in August, but the work will not now begin until later in the year.
The annual Canal Day celebration is a reminder that the waterway was an important factor in Banbury’s growth and development. When it opened in 1778 the canal brought wealth and prosperity to the town. It was the M1 of its day and provided a cheap and reliable supply of Warwickshire coal and other goods manufactured in the industrial Midlands. The canal declined as a transport route with the coming of the railways but is still busy with holiday boaters who spend money in the town’s shops, pubs and restaurants.
Mayor Cllr Colin Clarke said: “Canal Day is a massive event that takes us back to days gone by. The town has changed and the boaters’ pubs that were in Mill Lane and Upper and Lower Cherwell Streets are long gone and the only thing that has survived from the old days is Tooley’s Boatyard.
“It is good news that we can have the event this year when all seemed lost – and with the accent on ‘colour’ there will be plenty of things for people to see and do.”
There will be stalls and entertainment along the towpaths, and music in the garden of General Foods Social Club.
Entertainment in Spiceball Park will include falconry, go-karts, food and drink stalls plus other traders, and there will be workshops outside The Mill.
Entry is free and the event – organised by Banbury Town Council – will run from 10.30 am to 4.30pm. You can meet Radio Horton and watch performances from local performing arts groups in the Compton Wharf Arena.