, is a charter township of Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a suburb of Detroit and only twenty minutes east of Ann Arbor. As of the 2000 census, the township had a total population of 76,366. The 2006 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau put the population at 86,539. Canton is one of Michigan's fastest growing communities. Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Canton was the nation's 20th safest municipality with a population over 75,000 during 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. The designation is based on crime statistics in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.
The township of Canton was created by act of the Michigan Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1834 out of what had been Plymouth Township. It was named after the city of Canton in China. The name was chosen for the purpose of not conflicting with the name of any post office in existence at the time. At the time, there was a territorial law from April 12, 1827, prohibiting the incorporation of any new township having the same name as any existing post office. However, on October 20, 1829, the legislature had passed legislation creating the townships of Lima and Richland out of Bucklin Township. Governor Lewis Cass returned the acts unapproved, citing a conflict under the law. The legislature thus had to substitute the names of Nankin and Pekin after the cities of Nanking and Peking in China. Although the name of Pekin was changed to Redford in 1833, apparently when naming Canton, the legislature decided to continue having at least two townships named for Chinese cities.
The first meeting to organize the township was held in April, 1834.