Canton, Ontario

Canton is a hamlet in southeastern Ontario, a few kilometers north of Port Hope. It has a small wooden chapel built in 1832, one of the oldest in the region. Canton was once the home of Vincent Massey, the lawyer, diplomat and Governor General of Canada.

1832 chapel (foreground) and 1876 church
1832 chapel (foreground) and 1876 church
Plan of Welcome and Canton in 1878
Plan of Welcome and Canton in 1878
Canton is located in Ontario
Location in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°59′51″N 78°21′03″W / 43.9976°N 78.35097°WCoordinates: 43°59′51″N 78°21′03″W / 43.9976°N 78.35097°W
MunicipalityPort Hope
122 m (400 ft)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)


Canton is on County Road 10 where it crosses the Ganaraska River, at an elevation of about 122 metres (400 ft) above sea level.[1] It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) inland from Port Hope.[2] Canton Airport lies about .5 kilometres (0.31 mi) to the northwest of Canton at an elevation of 160 metres (520 ft). It has an asphalt runway 1,958 by 40 feet (597 by 12 m) that is not maintained in winter.[3]


The Hawkins family came from Port Hope to settle in Canton before 1820.[4] A log building on the property of James Hawkins was used as a school and chapel by 1820. The wooden "Hope Chapel" was built by the people of Canton in 1832.[5] The small wooden Methodist chapel was one of the first churches in the area. The chapel and graveyard lie on the fourth line, just east of County Road 10.[6] The oldest grave is that of a member of the Hawkins family.[4]

19th century

An 1869 gazetteer of Ontario described Canton as a village on Smith's creek,[a] in the township of Hope, County Durham. The average price of land was CDN$50 per acre, and the population was 100 in twenty-eight households. Most of the people were farmers, but there was a justice of the peace, a doctor, a Wesleyan minister, a postmaster and general merchant, a lumber dealer, a miller, a dressmaker, two coopers, two carpenters and Thomas Martin, proprietor of the Canton Hotel.[8] A new church building was erected beside the Hope Chapel by local craftsmen in 1876.[6]

By 1880 the post village of Canton had a population of 200.[9] The Canton Mill on the Ganaraska River has a date stone that says "W.H.Kinsman, Canton, 1886".[10] The Advertisers Handbook of 1912 reported that the mill was still operated by W.H.Kinsman. The mill was water-powered, used for grinding flour.[11] Fred Currelley, secretary of the Perrytown cheese factory, lived in Canton in 1891.[12]

Sergeant Edward Edwin Dodd(s) (1845–1901) was born nearby. During the American Civil War (1861–65) he served as a volunteer and was awarded a Medal of Honor for bravery in rescuing his wounded captain in the face of enemy fire. He is buried in the Canton cemetery, which has a commemorative plaque in his honor.[13]

20th century

The village was once the home of Vincent Massey (1887–1967).[6] The Masseys purchased an old farmhouse and surrounding property in 1918, and converted it into Batterwood House in 1927, the Masseys' main residence.[14] The Batterwood property was next to the property of George MacKinnon Wrong, a longtime friend of Massey who was Professor of Modern History at the University of Toronto.[15] Eugene Forsey, who had been hired to teach the two Massey boys wrote, "The place is beautiful – rolling country, lightly wooded here and there with a stream ending in a mill pond almost below the hill window."[14]

In 1927 the Massey Foundation and the Canton United Church provided funding to move the Hope Chapel from its original location on the northwest corner of the property to its present site. The building was placed on cement foundations, was lengthened to include a stage, and had a kitchen and dining room added.[5] The Hope Chapel is now the Canton Hall.[16] As of 2014 the church was in good repair, with a new steel roof, but attendance was low.[6] The Canton Mill still stands, but is privately owned and is not open to the public.[17]

The Canton Municipal Office, at 5325 County Road 10, is just to the north of the village.[18] In 2007 a consultant reviewed the use and condition of properties owned by the municipality of Port Hope. One of the recommendations was to relocate parks, recreation and culture staff from the Canton Municipal Office to the Town Hall. The Canton Municipal Office could be used as a community meeting space.[19]

Canton, Ontario 3 - Mill creek west from CR10

Mill creek west from County Road 10

Canton, Ontario 6 United Church

United Church

Canton, Ontario 9 Graveyard


Canton, Ontario 5 - Former flour mill cropped

Former flour mill

Canton Ontario - Kellog Road grain storage

Grain storage on Kellog Road to the west

Perrytown - Looking south from St. Anne's Anglican Church towards Canton and Lake Ontario

Looking south from St. Anne's Anglican Church in Perrytown towards Canton and Lake Ontario



  1. ^ The Ganaraska – and Port Hope – were called "Smith's Creek" after the early settler Peter Smith, a fur trader who had a house near the mouth of the creek in 1788. The settlement was renamed "Port Hope" in 1818, despite a move to call it "Toronto". The Mississaugas called the creek "Pemitiscutiank". It took its present name from the Cayuga village of Ganaraske, which stood on the creek.[7]


  1. ^ Canton, geonames.
  2. ^ Raza 1990, p. 336.
  3. ^ Canton Airport, SkyVector.
  4. ^ a b Canton, Old Durham County.
  5. ^ a b Hope Chapel, United Church of Canada.
  6. ^ a b c d Canton United Church, wondercafe.
  7. ^ Founding of Port Hope, Heritage Trust.
  8. ^ McEvoy 1869, p. 91.
  9. ^ A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer... 1880, p. 370.
  10. ^ Stiver 2014.
  11. ^ Advertisers' Hand Book ... 1912.
  12. ^ Ontario. Legislative Assembly 1891, p. 67.
  13. ^ Maclear, Fetherling & Gaffen 2013, p. 324.
  14. ^ a b Milligan 2004, p. 19.
  15. ^ Milligan 2004, p. 20.
  16. ^ Northumberland county Top 5..., p. 2.
  17. ^ Northumberland, OHS.
  18. ^ Contact, Municipality of Port Hope.
  19. ^ Report looks at future options... 2007.


Canton Aerodrome

Canton Aerodrome, (TC LID: CTN7), is adjacent to Canton, Ontario, Canada.

Edward E. Dodds

Edward Edwin Dodds (1845 to January 12, 1901) was a Canadian soldier who fought with the Union Army as a member of the 21st New York Cavalry during the American Civil War. He received the United States' highest award for bravery during combat, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at Ashbys Gap, Virginia on July 19, 1864. That award was conferred on June 11, 1896.

Eugene Forsey

Eugene Alfred Forsey, (May 29, 1904 – February 20, 1991) served in the Senate of Canada from 1970 to 1979. He was considered to be one of Canada's foremost constitutional experts.

George MacKinnon Wrong

George MacKinnon Wrong, (June 25, 1860 – June 29, 1948) was a Canadian clergyman and historian.

Lionel Massey

Lionel Massey (July 2, 1916 – July 28, 1965) was a Canadian civil servant and dignitary, most noted for serving as Secretary to the Governor General of Canada during his father Vincent Massey's term as Governor General.Born in Toronto to Vincent and Alice Massey, he was educated at Upper Canada College and Balliol College, Oxford. He served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps during World War II, during which he was injured in Greece and spent time as a German prisoner of war. He returned to Canada in 1944, and married Lilias Ahearn Van Buskirk in 1946. The couple's primary residence was Batterwood House in Canton, Ontario, although they travelled frequently on family business.When Vincent Massey was appointed as Governor General in 1952, he appointed Lionel as secretary; as Alice Massey had by this time died and there would be no viceregal consort, Lilias was simultaneously appointed as acting châtelaine of Rideau Hall.Following the end of Vincent Massey's term in office, Lionel was appointed as administrative director of the Royal Ontario Museum. He was promoted to associate director of the institution in 1963. He also served on the boards of Hart House, Upper Canada College and the Stratford Festival.He died in Toronto on July 28, 1965 after suffering a stroke.

Pelham Edgar

Oscar Pelham Edgar (17 March 1871 – 7 October 1948) was a Canadian teacher. He was a full professor and head of the Department of English at the Victoria College, Toronto from 1910 to 1938. He wrote many articles and several monographs on English literature. He had a talent for identifying and encouraging promising new authors. He was an active member of various literary societies, and was the force behind the establishment of the Canadian Writers’ Foundation to help needy authors.

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