Home to two universities; St. Lawrence University and State University of New York at Canton, this community is bustling with activity throughout the year.
The Canton Winterfest features 10 days of recreational and cultural events including skating and sledding outings, cook offs, theater and entertainment. A fund-raiser Polar Bear Golf Tournament has also become a tradition for this festival – orange golf balls are provided.
When the weather warms, the unofficial kick-off to summer is the Dairy Princess Festival, held the first weekend in June. A new Dairy Princess is crowned and the “Big Wheels®” race for 4 to 6 year olds is held in the Village Park. This race is the social event of the year for these youngsters and its attendance grows every year. And even those without children entered find great fun cheering on the little ones. The race is followed by a Block Dance with vendors in the Park.
And every Tuesday and Friday during the summer the area’s largest farmers’ market can be found in the center of the village at the park. Sample some of the best produce from the county, pick up some fresh plants or flowers, try some home-baked goods and relax in the shade with some special entertainment.
The Silas Wright Museum, 3 East Main Street, offers a glimpse to St. Lawrence County’s past. Hundreds visit every year doing genealogy research at the County Historical Association, housed at the Museum, which was the home of New York’s former governor (1842-1844), Silas Wright. The gift shop features local interest books, historic building models, as well as hand-blown glass ornaments.
The Brush Gallery at St. Lawrence University offers exhibits throughout the college year from special invited artists to on-campus students. The Brewer Bookstore just across campus carries a wide variety of current title for the casual reader as well as scholarly tomes for the college student. This store is a great gift shop to explore as well.
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) is a truly special place in Canton. The organization is dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the folk traditions and local culture of the past and present in New York State’s North Country. The gift shop and gallery at 53 Main Street features items of all types from Amish baskets to quilts, honey, candy, maple syrup, candles, carvings books and special recordings.
TAUNY has also created a Register of Very Special Places on their website, www.tauny.org or www.northcountryfolklore.org/RSVP. These places are spread across the region. Create your own tour using the web and plan “a very special place trip” while visiting. And don’t miss the special exhibits at TAUNY. They have a lot of display space for canoes, baskets or other great traditional arts.
There are a number of other unique shops in the Canton area, such as a wool shop just off the Village Park, and Fiber Options, a specialty yarn and fiber shop in Rensselaer Falls – the second village within the Town of Canton. Amish baskets are sold in town on the weekends during the summer. Ostrander’s Bed and Breakfast at 1675 State Highway 68, has a specialty shop carrying items made from sheepskin, including slippers, mittens, hats, scarves and mats.
And while in Rensselaer Falls, an adventure awaits at Kyle’s World and the Ladies First Gallery. Owned by Kyle and Sally Hartman, this area “junk and treasure” shop was featured in the book New York Curiosities by Cindy Perman. Kyle has unique salvaged items from old homesteads, churches and farms. He has mounted a one-man campaign of “This Place Matters,” showing his pride of living in the Northern reaches of New York State. Sally’s gallery features her art work, as well as those of many other local artisans.
Recreation and sports abound in Canton as well, with two golf courses, St. Lawrence University Golf Course and Partridge Run. Also at Partridge Run is a 3.3-mile recreational trail for walking, biking or rollerblading. Just outside of town on County Route 14 is the Indian Creek Nature Center with hiking trails and bird watch blinds.
For more information visit the Canton Chamber website.
Canton is 10 miles from Potsdam, and about 19 miles from Ogdensburg.
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