Editor’s note: this blog is a pure opinion piece, my apologies in advance to any fans of Canton Township, MI reading this! I do point out at least a couple of good things about Canton in this blog, so there!
As fate would have it, my husband and I wound up taking a drive into Canton Township, MI today. We stopped in at a Verizon store (which wound up being a pointless venture), and we picked up some groceries at Canton’s Aldi store, which is located on Ford Road, a busy East/West road running smack in the middle of the township.
First off, I HATE Canton! There is just something…absolutely soul-sucking about this place to me…something artificial. Just driving into this place fills me with…hate. If taking a nice hike in the woods gives me an endorphin boost and energizes me, driving into Canton does the absolute opposite. A tangible thing I hate about Canton is its incessant traffic. Forgive me, I’m a small town girl at heart…I like cities with distinct downtown areas and old buildings. And I love history.
Ford Road in Canton (near Lilley) looking East…
With more than 90,000 people living in Canton (per recent Census numbers), there must be SOMETHING to like about it, right? How can more than 90,000 people be wrong? Canton is the second most populous township in the state of Michigan – and Michigan’s eleventh most populous entity. With that many people, they’re going to need a place to put their trash. Behold “Mount Trashmore” (not its real name):
Don’t try to ski on these slopes…You might get a condom or used diaper stuck to your ski…
If you like to shop? Fuhgettabout it! You have IKEA (can’t move into a new house without paying a visit to IKEA), you have at least a couple of Home Depot stores, restaurants galore, Kohl’s, JC Penney, at least a couple of Kroger stores. And a really big Art Van store.
Canton’s stand-alone Art Van store
There is even a Hobby Lobby and buybuy Baby (I have no plans to visit either of these stores anytime soon). Want a place to bring kids on their birthday? There is a Chuck E. Cheese! Like strip malls? I’d guess Canton has more strip malls per capita than just about any other place in Michigan! And because the zoning commission requires a certain percentage of brick in the exterior, they’re all going to be…well, brown! Brown is aesthetically pleasing, isn’t it? Well, not if you’re the CEO of IKEA…
Love assembling things? Have a large vehicle to take home that compressed mattress or sofa? Like Swedish meatballs and loganberries? Here is Canton’s IKEA store, which was (apparently) exempt from the “brick” requirement. Tax base, tax base, tax base uber alles!
Maybe you’re not a shopper…are you a religious person? There is nearly every kind of place of worship in this multicultural community! There is a synagogue, a Hindu temple, numerous Protestant churches and Catholic churches. I do not think there is a snake handler church, however…(you might want to try Sterling Heights or Utica).
Have kids? Are you into parks and recreation? Well, the Summit on the Park is a decent recreation center and offers various recreation programming. The public library is decent. If you don’t mind a public park with absolutely no older growth trees, natural bodies of water or personality – well then look NO further than Canton’s Heritage Park! They have the Canton Liberty Fest here every June, with midway rides and other activities (it’s actually not that bad of a festival, even if it is a bit…bland). They do fireworks at night (I like fireworks)! The beer tent is good!
Is education important to you? The Plymouth-Canton school system IS pretty decent (hey, this blog isn’t TOTALLY full of hate)! One of my dear friends is a teacher in this school district. I have a lot of respect for teachers for being willing to…do what they do (I’m just going to say NOT it).
Like choices in housing? You have “bigfoot” homes, single family homes, condominiums, apartments, townhomes, even a couple of mobile home communities (guess where most of the crime in Canton happens)? You can laugh about the irony of some of these developments being named for the various wildlife that were killed/displaced when the trees were razed and the buildings were erected. I’m guessing you won’t see too many pheasants running around on the Pheasant Run golf course!
Pheasant Run Golf Course in Canton, MI
Like history? The only place you’re going to get even a glimpse of Canton’s history besides a book in the public library is located at the corner of Ridge and Cherry Hill Roads. There is an old church and cemetery there. And a building used by the Ford Motor Co. in the early 20th Century.
Cherry Hill United Methodist Church, on Ridge south of Cherry Hill (established 1882).
I’ve already talked quite a bit about what Canton HAS. What DOESN’T it have? It doesn’t have a “personality,” rather than its utter lack of personality. There is no “downtown.” It’s a textbook example of what happens when a community says, “Hey everybody, come on IN!” Want to turn left on Ford Road in heavy traffic without a traffic light? I’m going to let Ray Liotta from Goodfellas do the talking here…
He thinks he’s going to turn left on Ford Road on a Saturday afternoon without a traffic light!