Tracing its roots to the forestry and railway industries, Canterbury was once was home to over 1000 residents and served as a service centre for the surrounding area of western York County. There were at least 3 general stores, a small department store, a railway hotel, bank, and a butcher as late as the mid 1960's, all gone now.
Early settlers of the area were Loyalists ( possibly disbanded soldiers of the King's American Regiment and their families ) displaced by the end of the American Revolution (1780's) later augmented by immigrants from Ireland (Ulster and Donegal, circa 1840 or so).
In the winter of 1865 Canterbury was briefly the focus of much military activity when some 9000 British troops passed through the village on their way to "The Canadas" ( Ontario and Quebec ). The British government had become alarmed about the possibility of an American invasion following the end of the Civil War and sent this military contingent to reinforce the garrisons in The Canadas. Canterbury was at the time at the end of the rails from the coast. Troops debarked at the station and were then driven by horse drawn sleigh up the Saint John River and then the St Lawrence to Quebec City.
The village is located west of the Trans-Canada Highway on Route 122.
Canterbury was located on the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway line which was subsequently merged into the New Brunswick Railway and later the Canadian Pacific Railway. CP Rail operated through the village to serve its rail network in the upper Saint John River valley until it abandoned these lines in the early 1990s. The original CPR station still stands off Main Street and the rail line is now a recreational trail.
Canterbury has a school, which educates students from kindergarten to grade 12 all in one building. The school has escaped closure several times, but had its future sealed in 2002 with an extensive construction overhaul and addition of a new gym.
The village was incorporated in the early 1970s and has a village office on Main Street.