Canton, located along U.S. Highway 52, is the first Minnesota city along this major north-south route.
The farmland around Canton, with its rich soils, was the first area of choice by the local Amish community, who began to settle just north of the city limits in 1974. That community has grown steadily and now encompasses many acres. Buggies are a common sight in town and in the countryside. U.S. Highway 52 Between Prosper and Preston is a designated Amish Buggy Byway.
Canton was originally founded in 1879 as a stopping point for the railroad. At first its legal name was “Boomer,” depicting how fast it was built, but because another town in Minnesota had the same name, “Boomer” was changed to Canton.
Canton’s population has remained constant through its history at a little less than 400. For many years its economy was based on agriculture as were so many rural Minnesota cities. This has changed, however. Increasingly more of its citizens are young families, who like the small town flavor of Canton, the affordable housing, closeness to various large cities that offer employment and easy access to a major highway.
The oldest church in Fillmore County, the Lenora Methodist Church, built in 1856, is located just four miles north of Canton. It is worth a visit to see the construction from stone quarried locally, hand carved pews, a pot belly stove, an old pump organ and kerosene lamps.
Abundant pheasant, deer, raccoon, and turkey populations, as well as great trout streams, make hunting and fishing a major attraction around Canton. Groomed snowmobile trails run through the area and city. Canton’s newest attraction is the Canton Speedway where Go-Kart races are held every other Sunday in the summer, beginning in June.