The Canoe River arises from headwaters near Lake Massapoag in Sharon, and meanders generally southwards through the towns of Sharon, Foxborough, Mansfield, and Easton to empty into Winnecunnet Pond in Norton.
The river provides drinking water for about 50,000 people in the region who receive their water from its aquifer. It has been designated a sole source aquifer and since 1991, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  
The river has a number of earlier names. The section near the headwaters in Sharon were once called Massapoag Brook, and the section in that town alone powered six industrial mills in the nineteenth century.