Canton was officially incorporated on February 23, 1797 from the town of Stoughton, Massachusetts. The name "Canton" was suggested by Elijah Dunbar and comes from the early belief that Canton, China was on the complete opposite side of the earth (antipodal). In addition to being a prominent Canton citizen, Elijah Dunbar was the first president of the Stoughton Musical Society from 1786 to 1808. Now named the Old Stoughton Music Society, it is the oldest choral society in the United States.
Paul Revere built the nation's first copper rolling mill in Canton in 1801. His poem entitled Canton Dale expresses his affection for the town. Canton was the location of the Rising Sun Stove Polish Company, founded by Elijah Morse, a wealthy merchant and creator of the pot-belly stove.
Canton is the headquarters of Reebok, Dunkin' Donuts, Computershare (North American HQ), Organogenesis, Inc., Interpolymer Corporation, Casual Male Retail Group, and formerly, Tweeter. It is also home to the Massachusetts Division headquarters of the Salvation Army.
According to the Town's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.6 square miles (51 km2), of which, 18.9 square miles (49 km2) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it (3.27%) is water.
Canton lies at the foot of Great Blue Hill. The Canton River flows through the center of the town, linking a chain of small lakes including Bolivar and Forge Ponds and flowing into the Neponset River. The Neponset River forms the boundary between Canton and its western neighbors: Norwood, Westwood, and Dedham. In addition to wooded land, the area includes wetlands, particularly in the eastern part along Route 138 near the Randolph and Stoughton borders, and in the western part along I-95.
Canton borders the towns of Dedham, Milton, Norwood, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Westwood and the Hyde Park neighborhood in the city of Boston.
As of the 2010 census, there were 21,561 people, 7,952 households, and 5,550 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,097.3 people per square mile (423.7/km²). There were 8,163 housing units at an average density of 431.1 per square mile (166.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.1% White, 6.96% African American, 0.05% Native American, 6.74% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.80% of the population. 83.3% of the population was non-Hispanic white in 2010, down from 98.0% in 1980.
There were 7,952 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $109,260, and the median income for a family was $132,904. Males had a median income of $52,216 versus $40,755 for females. The per capita income for the town was $43,510. About 5.2% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
The town of Canton has three public elementary schools, namely the John F. Kennedy School, Lt. Peter M. Hansen School, and Dean S. Luce School. The area in which one lives determines which elementary school one's children attend.
Canton has one public middle school, the William H. Galvin Middle School, where all of the three elementary schools combine. It provides grades 6-8 and is located next to the Peter M. Hansen Elementary School. Canton also has a public high school, Canton High School, that provides grades 9-12. There is one private school, St. John the Evangelist, which has been open since 1883 and serves students in grades Preschool-8. In addition, the state's Massachusetts Hospital School is in Canton.
The Blue Hills Regional Technical School and the Canton campus of Massasoit Community College are located within the town as well.
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech, formerly Clarke School for the Deaf, operates a satellite school, "Clarke Boston", in Canton for children who are diagnosed with deafness at an early age and then are mainstreamed to a public school. Clarke is the oldest school for the deaf in the country that teaches children to lip-read and speak orally, rather than use sign language; its main campus is located 80 miles to the west in Northampton, Massachusetts.CHS Awards
Canton High Boys Varsity Hockey team won the Division II State Championships at the TD North Garden in Boston in 2010.
2011 Hockomock Davenport Champions in Field Hockey, Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Boys Soccer
2011 Hock Golf Championships: 1st Place
2011 Hockomock Classic Cup Champions in Field Hockey, Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer
2011 South Sectional Champions in Field Hockey & Girls Soccer
2011 EMASS Champions: Girls Soccer
Also, The CHS Math Team is one of the top teams in their league.
Canton has the open town meeting form of government. Annually each spring, and as necessary, the voters gather to discuss matters such as zoning, schools, public works, recreational facilities, the budget, taxes and bond issues.
Property taxes on residential and other land, buildings and improvements, and transfers from the state government, are two important sources of revenue for the town.
The five elected members of the Board of Selectmen oversee the day-to-day operations of the town government.
The Planning Board approves new town subdivisions, reviews site plans for commercial development, oversees the towns scenic ways, drafts and approves a town wide master plan, and statutorily provides recommendations to Town Meeting regarding zoning and development.
The Finance Committee studies the financial affairs of the town, advises and make recommendations to the Town Meeting on the budget and other areas with fiscal implications and serves as the fiscal watchdog for the voters.
Interstates 93, 95, and Massachusetts Route 128 diverge in Canton. I-93 goes east, then north into Boston, from which it continues north into New Hampshire. I-95 is locally a beltway that skirts Boston to the west, continues circling Boston until it is north of the city, then goes north through New Hampshire and ends in Maine. South of Canton, it leads to Providence, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York City, Washington, D.C. and ultimately to Miami, Florida.
Route 138 has a cloverleaf interchange with Route 93 in Canton near Great Blue Hill. From Canton, it goes north into Milton, then enters Boston in the Mattapan section. South of Canton, it travels to Stoughton, continuing into Rhode Island, through Newport and ending in southwest RI.
Route 24 is a divided, limited-access highway that originates at Route 93 in Randolph, just east of Canton. From there, it goes south through the easternmost corner of Canton, running roughly parallel to Route 138 as far as Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
MBTA commuter rail trains on the Providence/Stoughton Line pass through Canton. Some stop at Canton Junction. This line crosses the Neponset River on the Canton Viaduct, a prominent local landmark. Route 128 Station in neighboring Westwood also carries many Canton commuters into Boston. Amtrak trains (including the Acela Express high-speed trains) also stop at Route 128, but pass through Canton without stopping. Of note, on March 25, 2008 a runaway box car crashed into a MBTA train at Canton Junction station injuring 150 people on board.
Another line branches into Stoughton, stopping at Canton Center.
Bus service is available to Mattapan Station in the MBTA system.
Although Canton once had an airfield, since 1970 it no longer does. Norwood Memorial Airport is the closest airport to Canton. For scheduled air service, residents go to Boston's Logan International Airport or to T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.The Canton Viaduct, built in 1835, is one of the two oldest surviving multiple arch stone railroad bridges still in active mainline use in the United States. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia sent workmen to draw extensive diagrams of it in order to duplicate its design for the construction of two bridges on the Moscow–Saint Petersburg Railway.
Canton Corner Historic District
The David Tilden House, a nearly 300-year-old house located within the Canton Corner Historic District. Undergoing a major preservation effort. One of the oldest houses in America.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society's Visual Arts Center, where the Mildred Morse Allen Wildlife Sanctuary is located, houses extensive collections of natural history art and photography. Public programs integrating art and nature, and changing exhibitions in the gallery, provide opportunities for visitors to view featured works from the collections.
The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate, a non-profit museum, is a country house designed by Charles A. Platt with garden grounds located at 2468B Washington Street (Route 138). In 1902 Dr. Arthur Tracey Cabot hired Platt to design a country house with landscaping and outlying farm buildings, with formal grounds include lawns, a walled garden, and a parterre. In 1945, Cabot's niece, Eleanor Cabot Bradley, added ponds, a camellia house and greenhouse, and planted specimen trees. The land includes more than 60 acres (240,000 m2) of meadows and woods, with some 3 miles (4.8 km) of walking trails.
Acambis, one of the few smallpox vaccine producers contracted by the United States Government, makes its vaccine at the Shawmut Industrial Park in Canton. In the many months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Army National Guard units were stationed around the factory and now the Canton Police has a regular patrol of the park.
The non-profit Friends of Prowse Farm, in collaboration with the present property owner, Meditech, Inc., preserve the historical Prowse Farm property and make the 44 acres and mansion available for indoor and/or outdoor events including party and wedding rentals, corporate functions, recreational and educational programs and fund-raising events. The Friends of Prowse Farm are a true non-profit volunteer organization, celebrating their 35th year in 2010—without any salaries taken by its officers or staff. Fund-raising events hosted by various charitable organizations at the farm have raised an estimated $20 million.
The Paul Revere Heritage Site, a nine-acre public site dedicated to protecting, preserving and interpreting the work of Paul Revere as an American pioneer in the invention of the copper industry.
Bill Burr, actor/comedian
Commodore John Downes, U.S. Navy officer who fought in the War with Tripoli and the War of 1812 and commanded a punitive expedition to Sumatra in the 1830s
Paul Guilfoyle, actor, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Augustus Hemenway, philanthropist, public servant
Harriett Lawrence Hemenway, co-founder of Massachusetts Audubon Society
William Augustus Hinton, American physician and pioneering bacteriologist
Chuck Hogan, novelist
Rob Mariano, a.k.a. "Boston Rob", reality TV personality (four-time Survivor and two-time The Amazing Race contestant)
Paul Revere, Patriot and Entrepreneur
Steve Rooney, NHL 1986 Stanley Cup Champion of the Montreal Canadiens
Stephen Schnetzer, actor
James B. Sumner, co-recipient of 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Finglas, Dublin, Ireland
Bocholt, Germany. Exchange students from there spend three weeks in the United States studying at Canton High School and living with families of students at Canton High School who take German. Canton High students then have the opportunity to travel and live in Bocholt for three weeks in the spring. The program is organized by the Canton High School German Department and, as of 2012, is in its 29th year.