Canton, NC

Canton NC is located in Haywood County, in the western part of the state.

2018 Best Guide to Canton, NC

November 10, 2015

Canton, NC is a small town located in western North Carolina, just west of Asheville and east of Waynesville NC and Maggie Valley NC. It's the second-largest town in the County of Haywood, and is with the shadows of Cold Mountain.

Resting at the bottom of Pigeon Valley, Canton got its name from one of the bridges crossing the Pigeon River, which consists of steel manufactured in Canton, Ohio.

Canton was originally known as Buford, which was incorporated in 1889. Two years later, the name of the town was changed to Pigeon Ford, after the well-known low-water river crossing in the area. It seems the early residents had trouble making up their mind about naming the town because another two years later it was finally renamed to Canton. A local paper production facility, Champion International has been the main source of income for Canton NC since the early 1900s.

As of 2012, there are 4,174 residents in Canton NC, an increase of about 4% since the year 2000. The town is about 4 square miles in size.

Where is Canton NC?

Canton is nestled among five hills along the banks of the Pigeon River in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Named after the town of Canton, Ohio, its moderate climate with four distinct seasons makes Canton one of the nicest places to live anywhere.

Canton is near major highways and within easy driving distance of the regional airport. Canton's beautiful residential communities lie along tree-lined streets on the hillsides. It is a beautiful small town.

Canton is the home of Evergreen Packaging - formerly Blue Ridge Paper - formally Champion Papers - Incorporated, Haywood County's largest industry. The mill produces paper and allied products. Two industrial parks have been developed just north of Canton.

The newest industry to join the park is Echlin, Incorporated, a world-class supplier of automotive replacement parts. Echlin will employ 150 people initially at the new plant opening later this year in the Beaverdam Industrial Park with a prospective employment of 350 jobs in three years.

The Town of Canton is under a council-Manager form of government consisting of a Mayor and four members of the Town Board of Aldermen. Town council is elected every two years.

Canton has a recreation program as part of its services to its citizens. The Recreation Park has a large, modern swimming pool; playground; picnic tables; lighted tennis courts, and ball fields adjacent to the park.

Activities include "Pickin in the Park" during the summer months; a walking trail surrounding the park area; an annual Labor Day celebration; a festival of lights during the Christmas holiday season; and the annual, lighted night Christmas Parade. Canton is within easy access of several fine golf courses.

Hiking and nature trails and superior trout and bass fishing are a part of the nearby National Forest. Nearby are the nation's two most visited national parks; Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. Located near Canton at Maggie Valley are the Cataloochee Ski Slopes with facilities for all classes of skiers.

Camping and outdoor living are at there best in the forests and campgrounds in Haywood County. There are many public and private campgrounds for the outdoorsman.

Canton NC County

Haywood is the Canton NC County of which we are speaking. It is the home of the Great Smoky Mountains, Folkmoot International Festival, has one of the top school systems in the state, and a lower than average cost of living and an even lower crime rate. Asheville, with its regional airport, is only 40 minutes away. I-40 provides excellent access from Knoxville, Tennessee, through Clyde, and on to the Raleigh-Durham area.

Haywood County encompasses 546 square miles and has a population of about 52,000. There are four incorporated towns: Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, and Clyde.

Quick Facts About Canton, NC

Canton, NC Population 2009 is 4,174
Change Since 2000 is +4%

Males: 1,997 (48%)
Females: 2,177 (52%)

Median Resident Age is 41 years
North Carolina Median Age is 42 years

Canton, NC Zip is 28716
General Canton NC Information

The elevation at the center of town is 2,609 feet. The Zip Code for Canton NC is 28716. There are about 4 square miles in the town proper. Canton NC belongs to the metropolitan district of Asheville, NC which is located about 20 miles east. The ancestry for most of the people consists of Irish, English, Scotts-Irish, German, and Dutch. Less than 3 % of Canton's residents are foreign born.

When speaking of crime, there has been 1 murder and 5 rapes over the past 10 years. The local high school is Pisgah High. There are several middle and elementary schools servicing the town, Canton Middle, Bethel Middle, Meadowbrooke, Bethel Elementary, and North Canton Elementary.


The weather in Canton NC is generally mild, with four distinct seasons. Highs reach about 82 degrees in the summer and 40 degrees in the Winter. 

History of Canton NC

In the early 1800s, Canton NC was nothing more than a settlement for a few farmers because it was a convenient place to ford the river. At that time population was about 150 in total... Read More


The elevation of Canton NC is 2,609 feet above sea level. There are mountains surrounding the town that raise to about 1,000 feet high in elevation.


The town of Canton NC is 85% white, 8% Hispanic, and 2.4% black. About 83% of those older than 25 years of age hold a high school diploma, while 19% have a Bachelor's degree and 7% have a Graduate degree. The unemployment rate for Canton is 8.3% (July 2014). 53% are married, 10% are widowed, and 10% are divorced. About 150 of those living here were born outside the United States. As of August, 2014 there are 23 registered sex offenders living in Canton.

Politically speaking, the town is slightly more Republican than Democratic. During the previous four presidential elections, about 55% of the population voted for Republican candidates.

According to AreaVibes, Canton has a low livability score of 69. Even though the town has a low cost of living, stable housing market, plenty of amenities, and sunny weather, if fails in the crime category and gets a "D" in the education category. According to the site, the crime index in Canton is 53% higher than the state average, and the violent crime rate is almost 100% higher.


The newspapers that serve Canton NC are...

The Mountaineer
Asheville Citizen Times


There are violent crimes in Canton NC, but not as many as in larger towns. For example, there were just 3 murders (one was a murder-suicide) in the past 15 years. The town averages about 1 rape and 2 robberies per year. But, those numbers place Canton at a higher crime rate than the average American town. It rates at 392, as compared to nearby Clyde, which rates at 157. Violent crime in the year 2011 was more than double the U.S. average. Most crimes committed in the town are thefts, with 64%, followed by burglaries at 20%, and assaults at 9%.

High Schools

There is only one high school in Canton, and that is Pisgah High School. It is located on Black Bear Drive, where the newly integrated high school opened in 1966. Prior to that it was called Canton High School and was located in the present-day Canton Middle School building on Penland Avenue by the football stadium (Canton Memorial Stadium).


The nearest college is Haywood Community College in nearby Clyde. Many high school students from Canton attend Western Carolina College in Cullowhee, about 25 miles west. And, there is Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, 20 miles away in Asheville, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, also 20 miles away in Asheville.

Zip Code

There is only one zip code for Canton NC and it is 28716.

Nearby Towns



Canton NC is a very religious town, with 73% of its residents belonging to a religious organization. Most, about 66%, are Southern Baptists, while 19% are United Methodists, and the others are Catholic, Episcopal, Free Will Baptists, Church of God, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan.


The weather in Canton, NC is mild with wet springs, warm summers, and cold winters. Average temperatures are about 78 degrees F. in the summer, and 22 degrees in the winter. Canton receives about 4 inches per month of precipitation, including up to 11 inches of snow in December and January... more

Getting to Canton NC

Coming to Canton NC is fairly simple as the town is located 1/2 mile south of Interstate 40, as NC exit 31. Distances from...

Asheville, NC - 27 miles.
Knoxville, TN - 98 miles.
Atlanta, GA - 175 miles.
Nashville, TN - 268 miles.
Washington, DC - 481 miles.
New York, NY - 714 miles.
Charlotte, NC - 142 miles.
Chicago, IL - 658 miles.
Raleigh, NC - 259 miles.
Greenville, SC - 72 miles.


Canton Home Page

Zip Code
Pisgah Bears
Board of Trade
Things to Do
Canton NC Paper Mill
Canton NC Pool
Wells Funeral Home
Pisgah High School
Ingles Canton
Canton Middle School
Smoky Meadows Apartments
Canton NC County
Corn Maze Canton NC

Town of Canton NC
Canton on City Data
Canton on Wikipedia
Chamber of Commerce