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Our History

Town of Canton >> Visitors >> Our History

We are Canton, Connecticut

We are a community of history where farmers first settled in 1737. They cultivated land broken by hills and mountains into fertile farms, some of which continue to this day.

We incorporated in 1806 as Canton – a place of hardworking people and residents that would go on to shape the history of our country. Twenty years later our town would become part of an industrializing nation with the establishment of the Collins Company that grew to become a leader in precision instruments cutting the way for development throughout the world. We are a community tied to the land. Our creeks and streams flow through hills to the Farmington River Valley.

We are stewards of this land not simply as a landscape to appreciate but as fields for farms and woods crossed with trails. We view the river not only as a place to observe but a respite from the rigors of day-to-day life where our people can swim, kayak, and canoe. Our rail bed continues to be an engine for our economy with cyclists and runners. We interpret our land at a nature center known throughout the region. We are a community of families. Our kids grow up together in our schools. Life around family is important and we celebrate with events and activities throughout the year. Yet our young people are free to explore neighborhoods and a town where people look after one another.

We are a community of choices. Rural homes, neighborhoods, and a village center present a variety of options for living. Modern shopping and dining, charming stores and cafes, and a walk able village center, and an array of entertainment combine to contribute to the unique character of a place that is growing in an intentional way. We are a community that knows that in order to preserve our character we must adapt to change. We have carefully crafted plans that seek to protect our landscapes and ensure that inevitable growth respects the uniqueness of this place. We look to the legacy of the mill that transformed our town understanding its potential to once again help define who we are.

We are one community comprised of different places, landscapes, and histories each layered together in a way that unites us as a town. In 1895, native son, congressman, and Medal of Honor recipient William E. Simonds said of Canton what can still be said today: “Canton is not a showy town, but is emphatically one of substance.” This substance, this strength, this vigor continues to this day.


Authentic Community Legitimus

Learn more from "Know Your Town," a publication of the Canton League of Women Voters...

Know Your Town