I enjoyed Canal Mania quite a lot. I like network building games (I "grew up" with 1830 and Railway Rivals) and this one has a lot going for it. I like way the Contracts restrict your building choices - it's not just a free-for-all like RR - and I like the way that your card drafting choices can also manipulate the placement of goods. However the turn-order is fixed and seems to have a big influence on your chances - the guy who plays last gets a pretty raw deal on goods movement, though he does get the pick of the engineers as compensation. The turn-order thing felt a bit old-fashioned, even RR rotates who goes first anti-clockwise.
I came in 3rd out of 5, but I was only 4 points behind the winner, and felt I had a good chance of winning all the way through.
We had an issue with playing-time. On the box it says "About 2 hours" but we took nearly 3 and a half! I was getting a bit weary of it all by the end. But I think this was more to do with our group than the game - we hadn't met for a while, and everyone was in the mood for a friendly chat.