Last Updated on April 25, 2023
After many years as a quiet mill town, Canton has seen an economic and community resurgence over the last decade thanks to new businesses and changing demographics. The sleepy town was once little more than a stopping point midway between the larger hubs of Asheville and Waynesville. Today, visitors are drawn to the town’s historic downtown, while new residents are attracted to the area’s affordability and quality of life.
There are plenty of terms we could use to illustrate multifaceted, charming, growing Canton. (See what we did there?) Here are just three specific words that describe Canton, NC.
Canton is Evolving
Canton is a snapshot of a classic mill town evolving with the 21st century. The town’s charming downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But recent improvements and redevelopments offer a fresh face to small-town living.
The Town of Canton has invested heavily in reenergizing the town alongside their 100-year-old paper mill, instead of around it. Streetscaping, public art, and business support have been forefront efforts. Historic murals dot the downtown landscape, offering interesting viewing for a stroll down Main Street. But a quick stop into one of the street’s barber shops or cafes still gives you a chance to rub elbows with the locals.
Canton’s connection to the Pigeon River, a natural artery through town, also continues to evolve. The recently constructed Pigeon River Scenic Walking Trail now connects downtown to the scenic waterway. Benches line the 1.5-mile trail for those looking to relax and take in the native flora or feed local wildlife. And a boat ramp is available for fishing and canoeing. The park also includes tennis courts, a huge outdoor pool, and a picnic area with grills.
Canton is Eclectic
Downtown Canton is centrally located and very walkable. Local shops, restaurants, and breweries are thriving along its main thoroughfare. The district’s crown jewel is arguably the Imperial Hotel, which officially predates the town. Built in 1876, the Queen Anne building began its life as a private home and now operates as The Southern Porch restaurant. Patrons can enjoy quality service and diverse Southern fare, from fried green tomatoes to shrimp and grits.
But Historic Main Street also has a few surprises up its sleeve. Not So Old Toys and Comics carries comics and toys from the 1970s through today. Just down the block, Home Computer Services houses a Video Game & Computer Museum, an extensive collection of vintage computer and video gaming systems. These may not be expected destinations in a town this size, but Canton residents enjoy them as mainstays.
Canton is Community Focused
It’s hard to name a singular community hub in Canton, but there are several where residents regularly gather. BearWaters Brewery is located a quick walk from the heart of downtown along the Pigeon River. Beer aficionados and families alike hang out on the patio overlooking the water, stay for trivia, and enjoy live music and events throughout the year.
On Friday nights throughout the summer, the City of Canton hosts Pickin’ in the Park. Grab a lawn chair and picnic blanket and head to the Canton Recreational Park to listen to live bluegrass and old-time bands. The Canton Labor Day Festival, which attracts record crowds from across the region, is the oldest festival of its kind in the Southeast. And don’t forget to travel back to town during the holidays for the Canton Festival of Lights. You’ll be awed by the glow of thousands of holiday lights in celebration of the season!
Make your home in Canton, NC
Canton is a snapshot of a classic mill town, with many of the unique bungalows and beautiful buildings once built for mill workers and managers still intact. Historic murals add an artistic touch to the downtown district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s easy to stroll down Main Street, enjoy a meal or shop at the street’s small businesses, and be received as a local. Quality of life truly is key in Canton.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Search now for Canton homes for sale!