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East of Fell’s Point on Baltimore’s outer harbor is Canton, a charming waterfront neighborhood founded in the late 19th century.
A quaint village square rimmed with restaurants, pubs and shops along O’Donnell Street is the heart of this neighborhood. But wander off Canton Square to the surrounding blocks and find the heart of Baltimore, from the nearly-lost Baltimore art form of the painted screen to window shrines and rows of classic marble stoops on traditional Baltimore brick and formstone row houses.
Canton is buffered by Patterson Park, once the country’s largest urban park, and Canton Waterfront Park.
One of the crown jewels of Baltimore’s water front communities is Canton. This vibrant neighborhood is located in South East Baltimore bordering Patterson Park, the Patapsco River, and 895. Today’s Canton is built from the ashes of Baltimore’s former industrial base. Once decrepit factories and warehouses have been refurbished and modernized for use as apartment lofts, entertainment venues, restaurants, and offices. Surrounding homes have been gutted and rehabbed with their formstone removed and roof top decks installed, complete with water and city light views.
Canton began in the late 1800’s as John O’Donnell’s former plantation was developed for expanding industrial use. As the factories, piers, and warehouses were added, homes were built for use by the blue collar workers who labored in the area. Canton thrived during this period of time as a major part of Baltimore’s blue collar identity. However by the 1980’s Canton’s industrial base had dwindled away, leaving behind unemployed workers and abandoned factories. Thanks to several development projects, small business leaders, and enterprising young residents Canton revitalized itself throughout the 1990’s to become one of the most popular neighborhoods in Baltimore.
O’Donnell’s name lives on today as the namesake of the heart of the community, O’Donnell Square. Many restaurants, pubs, boutiques, and other businesses can be found bordering the square. Other anchors of the community include the Can Company – a mixed use property of ground floor retailers and restaurants with commercial office space above and the waterfront developments consisting of parks, marinas, restaurants, pier homes, and condos. Of special note along the waterfront is the Korean War Memorial park which is a terminus of Baltimore’s waterfront promenade.