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Canton is a town in Norfolk Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 20,775 at the 2000 census. Canton is part of Greater Boston, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of downtown Bostonmarker.


Canton was officially incorporated in 1797 from the town of Stoughton, Massachusettsmarker. The name "Canton" comes from the early belief that Canton, Chinamarker was on the complete opposite side of the earth (antipodal). Paul Revere built the nation's first Copper Rolling Mill there in 1801 and wrote the poem entitled Canton Dale about his affection for the town. Canton is also the birthplace of the Rising Sun Stove Polish Company founded by Elijah Morse, a wealthy merchant, creator of the pot-belly stove.


Canton is the headquarters of Reebok, Dunkin' Donuts, Computershare (North American HQ), Organogenesis, Inc., Interpolymer Corporation, OneBeacon Insurance and formerly, Tweeter.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.6 square miles (50.7 km²), of which, 18.9 square miles (49.0 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.7 km²) of it (3.27%) is water.

Canton lies at the foot of Great Blue Hillmarker. 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: Norwoodmarker, Westwoodmarker, and Dedhammarker. In addition to wooded land, the area includes wetlands, particularly in the eastern part along Route 138 near the Randolph and Stoughton, and in the western part along Route 95.

Canton has boundaries with Massachusetts towns Miltonmarker, Randolphmarker, Stoughtonmarker, Sharonmarker, Norwoodmarker, Westwoodmarker, and Dedhammarker, and with the Hyde Parkmarker neighborhood of the city of Bostonmarker.

Canton is divided into two sections, both East Canton and Canton(proper) with Route 138 as its divider. East Canton is primarily resedential while Canton itself is made up of the Financial District/Center, Cobbs Corner where Canton merges with Stoughton and Sharon , and a variety of mixed income neighborhoods.


As of the census of 2008, there were 20,775 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/sq mi (166.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 84.5% White, 7.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.01% 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 6.42% of the population.

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 $69,260, and the median income for a family was $82,904. Males had a median income of $52,216 versus $40,755 for females. The per capita income for the town was $33,510. 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 operates three public elementary schools, one public middle school and a public high school, Canton High School. Canton also has one private school, St. John's, serving grades K-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 Collegemarker are located within the town.

Clarke School for the Deaf operates a satellite school, "Clarke East", in Canton for children who are diagnosed with deafness at an early age and then are mainstreamed to a public school. Clarke School is the oldest school for the deaf in the country that teaches children to lip-read and speak orally, rather than the use of sign-language.


Canton has the open town meeting form of government. Annually each spring, and as necessary, the voters gather to discuss matters such as construction, 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.

Various organizations such as the Finance Committee and the Planning Board advise the voters at the town meeting and carry out administrative functions throughout the year.


Interstate Routes 93 and 95 (Route 128) diverge in Canton. Route 93 goes east, then north into Boston, from which it continues north into New Hampshire. Route 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 Hampshiremarker into Mainemarker. South of Canton, it leads to Rhode Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker, Washington, D.C.marker and ultimately to Floridamarker.

Route 138 has a cloverleaf interchange with Route 93 in Canton near Great Blue Hillmarker. From Canton, it goes north into Milton, then enters Boston in the Mattapanmarker section. South of Canton, it travels to Stoughton, continuing into Rhode Islandmarker, ending in Newportmarker.

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 Islandmarker.

MBTA commuter rail trains on the Providence/Stoughton Line pass through Canton. Some stop at Canton Junctionmarker. This line crosses the Neponset River on the Canton Viaductmarker, a prominent local landmark. Route 128 Stationmarker in neighboring Westwoodmarker 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 onboard.

Another line branches into Stoughtonmarker, stopping at Canton Centermarker.

Bus service is available to Mattapan Stationmarker in the MBTA system.

Although Canton once had an airfield, it no longer does. Norwood Memorial Airportmarker is the closest airport to Canton. For scheduled air service, residents go to Boston's Logan International Airportmarker or to T.marker F.marker Green Airportmarker in Rhode Island.

Points of interest

  • The Canton Viaductmarker 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 Districtmarker
  • 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. Explore Mildred Morse Allen Wildlife Sanctuary’s scenic trail system through a meadow, forest, and red maple swamp. Be sure to visit in the spring when many wildflowers are in bloom and vernal pools are filled with frogs and salamanders. In the spring and summer, look for red-tailed hawks nesting in the sanctuary. Be on the lookout for deer, fox, and coyote tracks throughout the property in the winter.
  • The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estatemarker, 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 of meadows and woods, with some of walking trails.

Notable residents

Sister cities

Dr. Molly Harrison


  1. Canton (Massachusetts, United States) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia (Retrieved on April 21, 2009)
  2. Massachusetts Hospital School Bureau of Public Health Facilities, Department of Public Health, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Retrieved on March 15, 2009)
  3. Massasoit - Directions to our Campuses Massasoit Community College (Retrieved on March 15, 2009)
  4. Scores injured in Canton commuter rail crash - Retrieved September 14, 2008
  5. Equipment, Personnel Eyed In Train, Boxcar Crash - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston Retrieved September 14, 2008
  6. MBTA Accessed May 25 2008.

External links

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