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Canton, New York facts for kids

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Official seal of Canton
Map highlighting Canton's location within St. Lawrence County.
Map highlighting Canton's location within St. Lawrence County.
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Country United States
State New York
County St. Lawrence
Established 1805
 • Total 105.86 sq mi (274.18 km2)
 • Land 104.76 sq mi (271.33 km2)
 • Water 1.10 sq mi (2.85 km2)
 • Total 11,638
 • Density 106.11/sq mi (40.97/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 315
Demonym Cantonian

Canton is a town in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States formerly belonging to six Native American nations within the Iroquois Confederacy. The population was 11,638 at the 2020 census. The town contains two villages: one also named Canton, the other named Rensselaer Falls. The town is named after the great port of Canton (now named Guangzhou) in China. Canton is the home of St. Lawrence University and SUNY Canton. Canton Central School District is centered in the village of Canton.


The first settler arrived in 1800. The town was organized/incorporated on May 14th, 1805 from part of the town of Lisbon. The name Canton was supposedly selected due to contemporary interests in the China trade. Canton was one of the original ten towns of the county. In 1845, the community of Canton was incorporated as a village. The Brick Chapel Church and Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 105.9 square miles (274.3 km²), of which, 104.8 square miles (271.4 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (1.03%) is water.

The Grasse River flows northward through the centre of St. Lawrence County, and the Oswegatchie River flows through the northwest corner. U.S. Route 11 is a northeast-southwest highway, which intersects New York State Route 68 and New York State Route 310 at Canton village.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,337
1830 2,440 82.5%
1840 3,465 42.0%
1850 4,685 35.2%
1860 6,379 36.2%
1870 6,014 −5.7%
1880 6,275 4.3%
1890 6,096 −2.9%
1900 6,387 4.8%
1910 6,151 −3.7%
1920 6,497 5.6%
1930 6,795 4.6%
1940 6,138 −9.7%
1950 7,652 24.7%
1960 8,935 16.8%
1970 10,348 15.8%
1980 11,568 11.8%
1990 11,120 −3.9%
2000 10,334 −7.1%
2010 10,995 6.4%
2020 11,638 5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of 2000, the census reported that there were 10,334 people, 3,198 households, and 2,011 families residing in the town. The population density was 98.6 people per square mile (38.1/km2). There were 3,515 housing units at an average density of 33.5 per square mile (12.9/km2). 91.81% White, 4.49% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 1.02% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.92% of the population. There were 3,198 households, out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.9% under the age of 18, 29.6% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,875, and the median income for a family was $43,819. Males had a median income of $33,993 versus $25,989 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,896. About 9.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


U.S. Route 11 runs through Canton and is served by Adirondack Trailways, with stops in Gouverneur, Watertown and Syracuse to the west, and Potsdam, Malone and Rouses Point to the east. To the north on New York State Route 68, Ogdensburg borders Canada at the Johnstown crossing, which in turn is an hour from the capital, Ottawa.

The New York Central Railroad's St. Lawrence Division runs through the town. Until 1964 the New York Central operated passenger trains from Massena, through the town, to Watertown, and to Syracuse to meet up with the NYC mainline.

Communities and locations in the town

  • Crary Mills – A hamlet southwest of Canton village.
  • Brick Chapel – A hamlet south of Canton village on County Road 27.
  • Canton – A village centrally located in the town by the Grasse River and US-11.
  • Eddy – A hamlet in the southwest corner of the town on US-11.
  • Morley – A hamlet on the northern town line by the Grasse River at the intersection of County Roads 14 and 27. The community was originally known as "Long Rapids."
  • Pyrites – A hamlet in the southwest corner of the town on US-11.
  • Rensselaer Falls – A village in the northwest corner of the town on County Roads 14 and 15.
  • St. Lawrence University – A university in Canton village.
  • SUNY Canton – A state college northwest of Canton village.
  • Upper and Lower Lakes State Wildlife Area
  • Woodbridge Corners – A location NY-68 northwest of Canton village.

Notable people

  • Irving Bacheller, writer and journalist
  • Charles Edward Bennett, Florida congressman, was born in Canton
  • Greg Carvel, UMass Ice Hockey Head Coach, 2021 NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Champions
  • Cynthia Eloise Cleveland, lawyer and writer, born in Canton
  • Theodore Conkey, Wisconsin politician
  • Jordan Greenway, NHL player for the Minnesota Wild
  • A. Barton Hepburn, financier, philanthropist and U.S. Comptroller of the Currency
  • Dave Jennings, professional American football player; played for St. Lawrence University
  • David O'Brien Martin, New York politician and attorney
  • Wade Megan, ice hockey player
  • Frederic Remington, artist
  • William Pierce Rogers, United States Secretary of State
  • Matthew Skoller, Chicago blues harmonicist, singer, songwriter, and record producer
  • Hobart Stocking (1846–1920), Wisconsin legislator
  • Silas Wright, New York State Governor
  • Waydown Wailers

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