Multicultural, arts and greenery: 10 things you need to know about Canton

A buzzing, dynamic and diverse suburb of Cardiff, Canton is home to many interesting, exciting places and activities you can get involved in.

This peaceful yet vibrant multicultural inner-city community is easily accessible, just a 10 mins walk, from Cardiff City Centre.

1. Origins of the name Canton

Cowbridge Road is the cultural hub of Canton

The name Canton is derived from the nearby Canna brook in Pontcanna (Welsh pont bridge and Canna). The word ‘ton’ can either mean farm or meadow. The name of Canton could also stand for ‘St. Canna’s (a princess and part of the Breton Royal Family) estate’. According to historical records, Canton probably started life as a hamlet before the Norman invasion.

2. The Welsh language is going strong in Canton

Capel Cymraeg Salem on Market Road is the only Welsh chapel in the West of Cardiff

Canton is the most Welsh-speaking district of central Cardiff, with two Welsh-medium primary schools and one Welsh-language place of worship, Capel Cymraeg Salem on Market Road. Cardiff Chinese Christian Church on Llandaff Road used to have Welsh-speaking services, but the language was changed to English in the late nineteenth century. The 2011 census recorded that just over 19 percent of Canton residents over the age of three years are Welsh-speaking.

3. You won’t be short of green spaces to relax in

A beautiful fountain at the centre of Thompson’s Park

Looking for a relaxing, scenic spot for a walk? Canton has an array of green spaces perfect for an afternoon stroll. You can watch the ducks at Thompson’s Park, join in with beach volleyball at Victoria Park, or visit the children’s play area at Sanatorium Park. As we move into autumn, these are ideal locations to admire the season’s beautiful red, orange and yellow foliage.

4. Religion: Not just one but many 

Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Canton trains individuals in mindfulness and yoga

Canton is not only home to many Irish immigrants, who settled here in the 19th century, but also houses a significant Asian population, including Pakistanis and Indians, making it one of the most culturally rich areas in Cardiff. Hopping around the area, you will find the Cardiff Tibetan Buddhist Centre, Bilal Mosque, Leckwith Gospel Hall, St. John the Evangelist Church and many more, all situated very close to each other. 

5. Sports fans will find something to keep them entertained

Cardiff City Stadium is the home of Cardiff City football club

Home to Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff International Sports Campus, Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club, Canton Rugby Football Club, and a whole host of other sports clubs, Canton is the place to be if you’re a sports fanatic. Whether participant or spectator, you’re sure to find a sport that interests you in Canton.

6. Artistic? You’ll definitely find something to take your fancy in Canton 

An art exhibition at the Llanover Hall Arts Centre

As well as a hub for sports, Canton is the place to be for artists and creatives. Chapter Arts Centre boasts a cinema, theatre, art gallery and café, while Llanover Hall Arts Centre has a full calendar of events and groups you can take part in. Pottery, stained glass, watercolour, life drawing, woodworking, creative writing: you name it, you can do it at Llanover!

7. Canton Library: a quiet harbor for readers

Canton Library on the Cowbridge Road is a cozy place to read

For visitors who are passionate about reading, what could be nicer than having a leisurely reading day with family and friends? Canton Library is situated on the Cowbridge Road creating a flexible and attractive space for readers of all ages. Different well-designed reading zones, a children’s area, a study room and improved IT facilities all provide a cosy place to read and relax.  

8. Political game going strong

Office of Kevin Brennan (MP) and Mark Drakeford (AM) on the Cowbridge Road

The electoral ward of Canton is located in the constituency of Cardiff West. Since 1996, the ward has elected three Labour councillors at every election to the new Cardiff County Council. Currently they are Stephen Cunnah, Susan Elsmore and Ramesh Patel.

The current MP for Cardiff West, Kevin Brennan, was a member of Cardiff Council representing the ward of Canton between 1991 to 2001. In 2016, he was appointed as Shadow Minister for Arts & Heritage. Brennan and Mark Drakeford (Cardiff West AM) regularly hold surgeries on alternate Saturdays for residents of Cardiff West to discuss any issues they may be experiencing. The surgeries are held between 10am and 12.30pm at the Ely and Caerau Community Hub.

9. Markets: vitality of the city

A fruit vendor at Cowbridge Road with his warm and sincere smile

Still hesitating about the best place to shop? Canton has a large variety of markets to satisfy your shopping needs. You can purchase various fruits and vegetables in Canton Fruit Market at a fair price, or buy some fresh local produce and handicrafts at Canton Flea Market, always picking up all the best bargains. Vendors welcome you with their warm and sincere smiles, hoping you will have a wonderful shopping time.  

10. A day in Canton is always great

Castle Bingo on the Cowbridge Road tempting people to a game

For such a small place, Canton offers some of the most fun activities to do, from casinos to bingo, all located nearby on Cowbridge Road. To train kids in martial arts, there is a Tae Kwon-Do centre, and for those who love ballet there is Nicola Peros’ ballet school, helping you keep your child busy while teaching them a new skill. 

With a rich history and diverse present, Canton is one of the busiest suburbs in Cardiff.