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Canadian, Texas: Steeped in Rodeo and Ranching History

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Up by the very top of the Texas Panhandle, the city of Canadian was established in 1887 by the river that bears the same name. Early explorers to the area presumed the river was so far north that it had to flow to Canada, hence the name, and ironically although a river runs through it, it’s been a “dry” town since 1903. It’s a lovely small town, which although it sits in the treeless, dusty and normally flat Panhandle region, is like a secret garden of sorts sitting just below the Llano Estacado Caprock and thereby consisting of fertile bottomlands and rolling grasslands.

Canadian, Texas: Steeped in Rodeo and Ranching History

Photo: Facebook/Beyond the Gaze Creations

Speaking of grasslands, the Black Kettle National Grasslands (the majority of which lies in Oklahoma) consists of 576 acres within the state of Texas. Also referred to as the Lake Marvin Recreation Area, here visitors to the area can hike, camp, bird watch, and fish and if you’re planning a fall time visit, the area is vibrant with color, which is also the feature focus of an annual festival in the area. It’s also the site of the Springer Ranch, which was the first known ranch in the Texas Panhandle. And spanning the Canadian River itself is a half-mile steel bridge structure called the Canadian River Wagon Bridge which was constructed in 1916 and in 2000 was made pedestrian-friendly. Many a hiker/walker, jogger and bicyclist can be found here on a daily basis, using the bridge which was once only traversed by horse-drawn wagons. Aside from consistent outdoorspeople, you’ll also have the opportunity to see wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and many animals that enjoy the river basin.

Canadian, Texas: Steeped in Rodeo and Ranching History

Photo: Facebook/Kristy Worley

If a great movie is something that appeals to you, the 1909 Palace Theatre can be found on Main St. in Canadian. It underwent a one million dollar refurbishing in 1998, and is recognized as one of the few movie houses in Texas meeting George Lucas’s THX sound certification standards! The Palace has a single first-run blockbuster showing from Friday through Thursday nights and a Sunday matinee. And if history is more your game, the River Valley Pioneer Museum features artifacts from a bygone era in which the Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche inhabited the area. Reopening in 2015, it underwent a renovation for improved and enlightening exhibits on Texas ranching and rodeo, the latter of which is claimed to have started in Canadian in 1888!

Canadian, Texas: Steeped in Rodeo and Ranching History

Photo: Facebook/Canadian, Texas

There are also plenty of opportunities to sight-see, including a visit to the fruit orchards at Sweet Ruthie’s River Ranch, where tourists and locals alike can pick pecans, berries, peaches, plums, and tomatoes, among other produce which may be in-season at the time of your visit. And when you’re traveling north in the area, along U.S. 83, keep an eye out for “Aud” – a dinosaur measuring 50 feet in length and 17 feet in height, constructed of steel, wire mesh, and concrete, overlooking the highway approximately five miles from Canadian. Built by Gene Cockrell in 1992, the creature is actually named for his wife, Audrey, and overlooks the town from an eastern bluff. In an interview with, he said he installed Aud in order that children traveling up U.S. 83 “would always know when they were almost home.”



Canadian Texas Facebook Page

Canadian Texas Chamber of Commerce