The village of Canton, a 10-minute drive from Potsdam and also a prominent college town, is the county seat of St. Lawrence County with a population of 6,300. Canton was first settled in 1801 as “New Cairo,” and the village developed on farming and lumber. The village took its name from the Chinese city of Canton, now known as Guangzhou. Artist Frederic Remington, known for his Western paintings of cowboys and Native Americans, was born in Canton (and a museum dedicated to him is located a short drive away in Ogdensburg). St. Lawrence University was founded in Canton in 1856, followed half a century later by SUNY Canton.
Most businesses are located in the Village Park Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places alongside Herring-Cole Hall, Richardson Hall, and the Old Campus Historic District of St. Lawrence University. Canton features art galleries, including the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery and Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY). Nature lovers journey to Rushton Falls and the Grasse River. Restaurants nearby both college campuses include Park Bros, Nola’s General Store, The Hoot Owl, and Sergi’s.