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Canton exceeds expectations

Travels with Deb

Welcome to Canton! Photo by Debbie Stone

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Photo by Debbie Stone

Recent history-making performances and milestone moments are the focus in the “Pro Football Today Gallery,” while the “Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery” chronicles Super Bowl history with exciting game footage and interactive kiosks. You’ll be dazzled by all the bling when you see all the Super Bowl rings on display.

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Photo by Debbie Stone

Outside, is the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, where the enshrinement ceremony, Hall of Fame Game and the Concert for Legends are held. Nearby, is the National Youth Football & Sports Complex, a home for football, soccer, lacrosse and rugby. In the works is a major expansion project to the 200-acre campus that will up the ante when it comes to Canton’s appeal as a must-see destination. Construction has already begun on the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, a mixed-use development to include a football-themed luxury hotel, shops, restaurants, a performance center, player care center and the Hall of Fame Experience, an indoor amusement park and football-themed waterpark. The goal is to have the majority of the project completed by September, 2020, when the football world will converge in Canton to celebrate the centennial of the NFL’s founding in the city.

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Photo by Debbie Stone

Though the Hall is the number one attraction in Canton, the city offers a host of other sights and activities for visitors to enjoy. You might be surprised to learn that President McKinley, a native Ohioan, called Canton home throughout his adult life. He began his legal career, married his wife and ran for the nation’s highest office here, campaigning with his famous “front porch” speeches. So, it is fitting that he is also buried here. His body and those of his wife and daughters are entombed in a massive, beehive-shaped mausoleum, reached by a set of 108 steps. Next door to the memorial is the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

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Photo by Debbie Stone

History buffs will also be interested in the First Ladies National Historical Site, which is a unit of the National Park Service and operated in partnership with the National First Ladies’ Library. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to preserve, promote and educate the public about the significant role of First Ladies of the U.S. and their contributions throughout history. The site consists of the Ida Saxton McKinley House, the family home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and the longtime residence of William and Ida McKinley, together with the Education and Research Center. The home is a brick Victorian structure, built in 1841, and furnished in the style of the era. Costumed docents give regularly scheduled tours of the place.

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Photo by Debbie Stone

Take the Hall of Fame City Food Tour with Canton Food Tours for a foray into the city’s burgeoning culinary scene. You’ll get to sample dishes from several notable restaurants downtown. The tour is both a progressive dinner experience and informative walking tour. Along the way, you’ll stop at various points of interest to check out the colorful public art, learn about noteworthy buildings, like the historic Palace Theater and the Stark County Courthouse with its famous “Trumpeters of Justice” angels, and stroll through the hip and happening Music Block in the Arts District. With museums, galleries, concerts, theater and communitywide arts events, there’s no shortage of cultural opportunities in the city.

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