Ontario Highway 2

From the AARoads Wiki: Read about the road before you go
(Redirected from Highway 2 (Ontario))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Highway 2

Highway 2 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Length1.0 km[1] (0.62 mi)
History1794 as the Governor's Road
August 21, 1917, as The Provincial Highway
Major junctions
West endGananoque eastern limits
East end Highway 401 westbound off ramp
Major cities(Before 1996) Windsor, Chatham, London, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto, Oshawa Belleville, Kingston, Cornwall
Highway system
Highway 427 Highway 3
Former provincial highways
Highway 2A  →

King's Highway 2, commonly referred to as Highway 2, is the lowest-numbered provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario, and was originally part of a series of identically numbered highways which started in Windsor, stretched through Quebec and New Brunswick, and ended in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prior to the 1990s, Highway 2 travelled through many of the major cities in Southern Ontario, including Windsor, Chatham, London, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto, Oshawa, Belleville, Kingston and Cornwall, amongst many other smaller towns and communities.

Once the primary east–west route across the southern portion of Ontario, most of Highway 2 was bypassed by Highway 401, which was completed in 1968. The August 1997 completion of Highway 403 bypassed one final section through Brantford. Virtually all of the 847.3 km (526.5 mi) length of Highway 2 was deemed a local route and removed from the provincial highway system by January 1, 1998, with the exception of a one-kilometer (0.62 mi) section east of Gananoque. The entire route remains driveable, but as County Road 2 or County Highway 2 in most regions. In Toronto, former sections of the route are now Lake Shore Boulevard and Kingston Road.

The Gananoque welcome arch, facing east towards the remaining provincial portion of Highway 2

Portions of what became Highway 2 served as early settlement trails, post roads and stagecoach routes. While the arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century diminished the importance of the route, the advent of the bicycle and later the automobile renewed interest in roadbuilding. A 73.7-kilometer (45.8 mi) segment of Highway 2 between Pickering and Port Hope was the first section of roadway assumed by the newly-formed Department of Public Highways (DPHO) on August 21, 1917. By the end of 1920, the department had taken over roads connecting Windsor with the Quebec boundary at Rivière-Beaudette, which it would number as Provincial Highway 2 in the summer of 1925. In 1930, the DPHO was renamed the Department of Highways (DHO), and provincial highways became King's Highways. By this time, it was one of the dominant transportation arteries across southern Ontario and was 878.2-kilometer (545.7 mi) long.[2]

The section of Highway 2 between Hamilton and Toronto along Lakeshore Road became the first paved intercity road in Ontario in 1914. Beginning in the mid-1930s, the DHO began reconstructing several portions of the highway into the new German-inspired "dual highway", including east from Scarborough along Kingston Road. This would be the progenitor to Highway 401, which was built in a patchwork fashion across Southern Ontario throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, often as bypass of and parallel to Highway 2 (except between Woodstock and Toronto). Conversely, the importance of Highway 2 for long-distance travel was all but eliminated, and coupled with the increasing suburbanization of the Greater Toronto Area, it became an urban commuter route between Hamilton and Oshawa.

Having being replaced in importance by the parallel freeways of Highway 401, the Queen Elizabeth Way, and finally Highway 403, the province gradually transferred sections of the route back to the municipal, county and regional governments that it passed through, a process known as downloading. In 1997 and 1998, the province downloaded 391.6 kilometers (243.3 mi) of Highway 2 and rescinded dozens of Connecting Link agreements, reducing the route to its current length.

Route description

Since 1998, Highway 2 has remained in the provincial highway system solely as a connection between westbound Thousand Islands Parkway and eastbound Highway 401. Highway 2 begins at the eastern town limits of Gananoque, and travels east a short distance before gently curving northward. It meets an interchange with the Thousand Islands Parkway—once referred to as Highway 2S,[3] prior to becoming a temporary part of Highway 401 in 1952[4][5]—and ends at the westbound Highway 401 offramp (Exit 648).[1] The roadway continues as Leeds and Grenville County Road 2 both east and west of the highway.[6]

A former portion of Highway 2 in Lennox and Addington County cosigned as the Heritage Highway

Before 1997

Before being mostly-decommissioned as a provincial highway in the mid-1990s, Highway 2 was a continuous route from Highway 3 in Windsor to the Quebec border.[7] Prior to the arrival of Highway 401 in the 1950s and early 1960s, Highway 2 was the primary east–west route across the southern portion of Ontario.[8] At one time it connected with Quebec Route 2, which was renumbered in 1966 as multiple highways,[9] and onwards to New Brunswick Route 2 and Nova Scotia Trunk 2 to end in Halifax. New Brunswick reassigned Route 2 to a new freeway running between Fredericton and Moncton in 2007,[10][11] while Nova Scotia kept its portion of Highway 2 intact, numbering its bypass as Highway 102 and Highway 104.

In 1972, the Ontario and Quebec governments designated Highway/Route 2 from Windsor to Rivière-du-Loup as the Heritage Highway (Route des Pionniers), a tourist route which continued eastward to the Gaspé Peninsula on what is now Quebec Route 132.[12][13] This tourist route included various side trips, such as highways to Ottawa and Niagara Falls.[14] While this signage is maintained in some counties, others have promoted local tours, including the Apple Route between Trenton and Brighton,[15] the Arts Route in Hastings County,[16] and the Chemin du Roy (The King's Way, now Route 138) between Montreal and Quebec City.[12][13]


Within Ontario and prior to 1997,[7] Highway 2 began in Windsor at the interchange between the E. C. Row Expressway and Highway 3 (Huron Church Road), where it also met the northern terminus of Highway 18. It followed the expressway east through Windsor, with the divided highway transitioning to an urban arterial road near Lesperance Road.[17] It travelled nearby the south shoreline of Lake St. Clair as it bisected Emeryville and Belle River before curving south briefly. It then turned east and travelled through a rural setting to Tilbury, where it met Highway 401 at two interchanges (Exit 56 and 63). Crossing from Essex County to Kent County, the highway curved northeast and passed through Chatham—where it intersected Highway 40Louisville and Thamesville—where it intersected Highway 21—before entering Middlesex County near Bothwell—where it met Highway 79.[18]

Between Chatham and Delaware, Highway 2 travelled roughly parallel to and north of the Thames River. It passed through the communities of Wardsville, Strathburn—intersecting Highway 76 and Highway 80—and Melbourne before encountering an interchange with Highway 402 and crossing the Thames River. Within Delaware, the highway intersected Highway 81 and turned east. At Lambeth it met Highway 4 and the two highways travelled concurrent northeast into London. In downtown London, Highway 2 and Highway 4 parted at the intersection of York Street and Richmond Street, with Highway 2 continuing east along the former. It intersected the northern end of Highway 100, now known as the Veterans Memorial Parkway. While the route was south of the Thames River between Delaware and London, it continued east along Dundas Street between the two branches of the river between London and Woodstock, intersecting Highway 19 between the two in the community of Thamesford.[18]

An unremoved Highway 2 reassurance marker in Toronto

At Woodstock, Highway 2 intersected Highway 59 and met Highway 401 at an interchange near the split with Highway 403. It then continued east, becoming parallel with the latter towards Hamilton. It intersected with Highway 53 at Eastwood and passed through the communities of Creditville, Gobles and Falkland before entering Paris. Within Paris, the highway intersected Highway 24A and met the western terminus of Highway 5, with which it remained within 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) through to Toronto. Highway 2 branched southeast through Brantford, where it intersected Highway 24 and became concurrent with Highway 53 before meeting the end of Highway 403 at Cainsville; Highway 54 branched south from there.[18]

Before 1997, Highway 403 was discontinuous between Cainsville and Ancaster, intersecting and merging into Highway 2 at both locations. The combined Highway 2/53 travelled east through Alberton, before splitting at Duff's Corners. Highway 2 split to the northeast, and Highway 403 resumed at what is now Exit 58. Highway 2 then travelled through Ancaster, became concurrent with Highway 8 and entered into Hamilton. Following a series of streets, the routes split, and Highway 2 travelled north, now concurrent with Highway 6. The two routes split northeast of Burlington Bay, with Highway 2 turning northeast into Burlington, encountering an interchange with the Queen Elizabeth Way at North Shore Boulevard. North Shore becomes Lakeshore Road, which the highway followed through Oakville and Mississauga along the shore of Lake Ontario towards Toronto.[18]


Kingston Road sign

At the Etobicoke Creek, Highway 2 entered Etobicoke, one of the six municipalities in Metropolitan Toronto that amalgamated to form the present City of Toronto in 1998. At that point Lakeshore Road also transitioned to Lake Shore Boulevard. It intersected the southern end of Highway 27 and travelled through the community of New Toronto, where numerous motels flourished during the golden age of the automobile which have since given way to condominium development.[18][19] At Humber Bay, the route merged onto the Gardiner Expressway near Park Lawn Road, following it around the bay then through Downtown Toronto on an elevated roadway. Beyond the Don Valley Parkway interchange, the expressway descended to ground level, rejoining Lakeshore Boulevard near Leslie Street. It continued east before curving north at Woodbine Beach and becoming Woodbine Avenue (with the original route prior to the construction of the Gardiner and Lake Shore following three streets which are now partially or wholly absorbed into Lake Shore: Fleet, Cherry, and Keating Streets; as well as short sections of Leslie Street, Eastern Avenue, and Queen Street).[20][21] It then turned northeast and followed Kingston Road into Scarborough.[18]

Approaching the Highland Creek valley, Kingston Road split from Highway 2A at the Highland Creek Overpass, travelling parallel to and north of it as it transitioned into Highway 401. Highway 2 crossed the Rouge River into Pickering and Durham Region, initially alongside Highway 401 before departing farther north. It bisected Pickering Village and passed through Ajax. Entering Whitby—where it intersected Highway 12 at Brock Street—Kingston Road became Dundas Street, while in Oshawa it became King Street. The Highway split into a one-way pairing within the latter, with westbound traffic following the adjacent Bond Street. It continued eastward through Courtice, Bowmanville and Newcastle as it drifted closer to Highway 401 and Lake Ontario; an interchange with Highway 35/115 was encountered immediately west of Newcastle.[18]

Former Highway 2 facing southwest into downtown Trenton

After passing through Newtonville, Highway 2 entered Northumberland County, passing through the communities of Morrish and Welcome before turning southeast and crossing Highway 401 into Port Hope and intersecting the southern end of Highway 28. It continued near the shoreline of Lake Ontario through the town of Cobourg, where it intersected the southern end of Highway 45, as well as the communities of Grafton, Wicklow, Colborne and Salem. At the town of Brighton, where it intersected the southern end of Highway 30, the highway entered Hastings County and moved inland from Lake Ontario. In Trenton, the route crossed the Trent–Severn Waterway, intersected Highway 33, and began to travel along the northern shoreline of the Bay of Quinte.[18]

Continuing northeast, Highway 2 passed south of CFB Trenton and through the community of Bayside before travelling through the city of Belleville, where it intersected both Highway 62 and Highway 37. After passing thorugh the communities of Shannonville and Marysville, it turned south and bisected the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Highway 2 turned east at an intersection with Highway 49 and travelled through Deseronto, after which it entered Lennox and Addington County. At Napanee, the highway met the southern terminus of Highway 41 then travelled through the communities of Morven, Odessa and Westbrook before entering Kingston.[18]

Within Kingston, Highway 2 followed Princess Street and intersected Highway 38 and Highway 33, crossed the Cataraqui River and Rideau Canal on the La Salle Causeway, then intersected the southern end of Highway 15 near CFB Kingston. For the remainder of its length, the highway followed close to or along the northern shoreline of the St. Lawrence River. Travelling northeast from Kingston, Highway 2 passed through the communities of Barriefield, Ravensview and Pitts Ferry before reaching Gananoque and intersected the southern terminus of Highway 32.[18] By 1997, the portion of Highway 2 between the interchanges at Exit 648 east of Gananoque and Exit 687 west of Brockville along Highway 401 was maintained by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville,[7] serving the communities of Wilstead, Mallorytown and Butternut Bay. The highway intersected Highway 29 at Brockville, then passed through the communities of Maitland, Prescott and Johnstown, intersecting the southern end of Highway 16 at the latter. It passed through Cardinal, as well as the Lost Villages relocated towns of Iroquois, Morrisburg—where it intersected Highway 31Ingleside and Long Sault before entering Cornwall. It met the southern terminus of Highway 138 and continued northeast through the communities of Glen Walter and Summerstown. At Lancaster—the final notable community along Highway 2—the route met Highway 34, and shortly thereafter crossed into Quebec.[18]

Current routes

Despite being decommissioned as a provincial highway in the 1990s, almost the entirety of the former highway remains driveable, and is now maintained by the various counties, regions, and cities through which it passes. The various sections have the following designations, from west to east:[7]

Location Name Notes
Windsor E. C. Row Expressway Dougall Avenue to Banwell Road
Essex County Essex County Road 22, Essex County Road 42
Chatham-Kent Chatham-Kent Road 2 A 6.1 km (3.8 mi) of the route follows the extant Highway 40
Middlesex County Middlesex County Road 2, Longwoods Road, Dundas Street
London Wharncliffe Road, Stanley Street, York Street, Florence Street, Dundas Street
Oxford County Oxford Road 2
County of Brant Brant County Highway 2
Brantford Paris Road, Brant Road, Colborne Street East
Hamilton Wilson Street, Main Street, Paradise Road, King Street, Dundurn Street, York Boulevard One-way pairing; eastbound traffic follows Main Street and Dundurn Street, westbound traffic follows King Street and Paradise Road
Halton Region Plains Road, King Road, North Shore Boulevard, Lakeshore Road
Peel Region (Mississauga) Southdown Road, Lakeshore Road
Toronto Lake Shore Boulevard, Gardiner Expressway, Lake Shore Boulevard, Woodbine Avenue, Kingston Road 1950s maps pre-Gardiner Expressway show King Street and Queen Street as parallel alternate routes
Durham Region Durham Regional Highway 2 Kingston Road within Pickering and Ajax, Dundas Street within Whitby, King Street/Bond Street (one-way pair) within Oshawa, King Street within Bowmanville
Northumberland County Northumberland County Road 2
Hastings County Hastings County Road 2
Belleville Old Highway 2, Dundas Street A 1.0 km (0.62 mi) section follows the extant Highway 62 over the Moira River
Lennox and Addington County Lennox and Addington County Road 2 County Rd 2 West, also known as "Highway 2 West"
Kingston Kingston Road 2 Princess Street, Queen Street, La Salle Causeway, Ontario Street
United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Leeds and Grenville County Road 2 Excluding section from Gananoque east to Highway 401, which remains Highway 2
United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Road 2 Continues into Quebec as Quebec Route 338 towards Montreal


Highway 2 was the first roadway assumed under the maintenance of the Department of Public Highways (today's Ministry of Transportation of Ontario). The 73.5-kilometer (45.7 mi) section from the Rouge River to Smith's Creek, now Port Hope, was inaugurated on August 21, 1917, as The Provincial Highway. On June 7, 1918, the designation was extended east approximately 379 kilometers (235 mi) to the Quebec border.[22]


A painting of Kingston Road east of Toronto in the 1830s.

The forerunners to Highway 2 are numerous paths constructed during the colonization of Ontario. While some portions may have existed as trails created by Indigenous peoples for hundreds of years, the first recorded construction along what would become Highway 2 was in late October 1793, when Captain Smith and 100 Queen's Rangers returned from carving The Governor's Road 20 miles (32 km) through the thick forests between Dundas and the present location of Paris. John Graves Simcoe was given the task of defending Upper Canada (present day Ontario) from the United States following the American Revolution and with opening the territory to settlement. After establishing a "temporary" capital at York (present day Toronto), Simcoe ordered an inland route constructed between Cootes Paradise at the tip of Lake Ontario and his proposed capital of London. By the spring of 1794, the road was extended as far as La Tranche, now the Thames River, in London. In 1795, the path was connected with York. Asa Danforth Jr., recently immigrated from the United States, was awarded the task, for which he would be compensated $90 per mile.[23]

Beginning on June 5, 1799, the road was extended eastwards. Danforth was hired once more, and tasked with clearing a 10-meter (33 ft) road east from York through the bush, with 5 meters (16 ft) (preferably in the centre) cut to the ground. It was carved as far as Port Hope by December,[24] and to the Trent River soon after. Danforth's inspector and acting surveyor general William Chewett declared the road "good" for use in the dead of winter, but "impassible" during the wet summers, when the path turned to a bottomless mud pit. He went on to suggest that rather than setting aside land for government officials which would never be occupied, the land be divided into 200 acres (81 ha) lots for settlers who could then be tasked with statute labour to maintain the path.[24] Danforth agreed, but the province insisted otherwise and only four settlers took up residence along the road between Toronto and Port Hope;[25] like many other paths of the day, it became a quagmire.[26]

Kingston Road at the Rouge River, c. 1909

Danforth's road did not always follow the same path as today's Kingston Road. Beginning near Victoria Park Avenue and Queen Street East, the road can be traced along Clonmore Drive, Danforth Road, Painted Post Drive, Military Trail and Colonel Danforth Trail. Other sections of the former roadway exist near Port Hope and Cobourg,[27][28] as well as within Grafton.[29] Otherwise the two roads more or less overlap until they reach the Trent River; beyond this point Danforth's road is continued (1802) on a more southern route to reach the Bay of Quinte at Stone Mills (now Glenora).[30] As the route straying through Scarborough avoided many of the settlers who had taken up residence near the lake, Danforth's road was bypassed by 1814 by William Cornell and Levi Annis. The Cornell Road (as it was known for a short time) shortened the journey from Victoria Park to West Hill, but remained mostly impassible like Danforth's route to the north. Finally succumbing to increasing pressures, the government raised funds to straighten the road and extend it through Belleville to Kingston. The work was completed by 1817 and the road renamed The Kingston Road.

Downriver from Kingston, roads built along the St. Lawrence for War of 1812 military use became a popular means to avoid rapids on the river by travelling overland.

Prescot, now called Fort Wellington, is important as being the chief stage between this port and Montreal, from which it is distant 130 miles, and between which coaches run every day, except Sundays. From the position of this place, however, as at the head of the Montreal boat-navigation, and at the foot of the sloop and steam navigation from the lakes, it must soon increase in extent, as it will rise in importance.

— George Henry Hume, 1832[31]

Stagecoach and mail road

1839 milestone near Odessa
Original milestone marker in Kingston

The creation of a post road extended year-round communication which had already existed on the Chemin du Roy from Quebec City-Montreal westward, with the first stagecoaches reaching York (Toronto) in January 1817.[32] This link proved economically vital to enterprises such as the Bank of Montreal, established 1817 with branches in Quebec, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto. The original coaches left Montreal every Monday and Thursday, arriving in Kingston two days later; the full Montreal-York run took a week.[33]

As with earlier routes (such as the Danforth Road),[34] coaching inns prospered in every wayside village as the stagecoaches made frequent stops for water, food or fresh horses.[35]

The original York Road (from Kingston) aka Kingston Road (from York) was initially little more than a muddy horse path. In 1829, a ferry crossing on the Cataraqui River in Kingston was replaced by a draw bridge.[36] In the 1830s, efforts were made by various toll road operators to macadamise the trail as a gravel stagecoach road. On one section between Cobourg and Port Hope the Cobourg Star on October 11, 1848, expressed "surprise and deep regret, that the Cobourg and Port Hope Road Company have placed a tollgate on their road, although only just gravelled" adding a week later "On Sunday night last, the Toll House and Gate on the Port Hope Road were burned to the ground. We regret to say that there is no doubt as to its having been done designedly as a very hard feeling has grown up against the Company, from their having exacted Toll before the road was properly packed. They might have known that no community would quietly submit to drive their teams and heavy loads through six inches of gravel and pay for the privilege. But we would not be understood to sanction the lawless proceeding which has taken place."[37]

Despite these issues, this road would remain the principal means of winter travel until the Grand Trunk Railway connected Montreal and Toronto in 1856. As intercity traffic formerly carried by the various stagecoach operators migrated to the iron horse, stagecoach roads faded to primarily local importance, carrying regional traffic.

This changed as the 20th century and the invention of the motorcar quickly made evident a need for better roads in the young but growing Dominion. The macadamised Lake Shore Road between Toronto and Hamilton, in poor condition with ongoing erosion, was the first section to be upgraded with concrete. The Toronto–Hamilton Highway, proposed in 1914, was opened along the lakeshore in November 1917.[38] The Cataraqui Bridge, a toll swing bridge, was replaced by the La Salle Causeway that same year.

In 1918, the province subsidised the county and municipal purchase of various former toll roads (Brockville-Prescott, Paris-Brantford, Cobourg-Port Hope and Cobourg-Baltimore) to be improved and incorporated into the provincial highway system.[39][40] Later acquisitions included a road from Cobourg to Grafton. As the roads became publicly owned, toll gates were removed.

In 1925, the Galipeault Bridge and Taschereau Bridge, both adjacent to 1854 Grand Trunk Railway bridges which were the first fixed mainland links to Montreal, brought Route 2 onto Montreal Island.

Provincial highway

Lake Shore Boulevard, winter 1925

Ontario has published an official highway map since at least 1923, an era when many provincial highways were still gravel or unimproved road. To accommodate the passenger cars of the Roaring Twenties, efforts to pave Ontario's roads had begun in earnest. The 1926 Official Road Map of Ontario boasted the "Highway from Windsor to the Quebec border, via London will all be paved at the end of the present year" and "a person will then be able to travel over 700 miles of pavement without a detour".[41] Twenty-five years after the first provincial road improvement efforts, Ontario maps boastfully listed fifteen king's highways (numbered 2-17, as 1 and 13 were never assigned) and a growing network of county roads. While thousands of miles of dirt and gravel road still remained throughout the system, the steel rails which crossed the region now had a credible rival in southern Ontario.

Beginning in 1935, Highway Minister Thomas McQuesten applied the concept of a second roadway to several projects along Highway 2:[42] a 4 mi (6.4 km) stretch west of Brockville,[43][44] a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) stretch from Woodstock eastward,[43] and a section between Birchmount Road to east of Morningside Avenue in Scarborough Township.[44] When widening in Scarborough reached the Highland Creek ravine in 1936, east of Morningside, the Department of Highways began construction on a second bridge over the large valley (the original having been constructed as a bypass of the former alignment through West Hill in 1919).[45] From here the highway was constructed on a new alignment to Oshawa, avoiding construction on the congested Highway 2.[46] As grading and bridge construction neared completion between Highland Creek and Ritson Road in September 1939, World War II broke out and gradually money was siphoned from highway construction to the war effort.[42]

Highway 2 near Brockville, 1952

The wartime rationing of the 1940s soon gave way to the fifties neon era of growing prosperity, increased vehicle ownership and annual paid vacations. Service stations, diners, motels and tourist-related establishments were proliferating on long strips of highway such as Toronto's Lakeshore Boulevard and Kingston Road to accommodate the growing number of travellers.

Increased traffic initially led to a construction boom, but soon the most congested sections were among the first candidates to be bypassed by freeway. By 1955, businesspeople along the north shore of Lake Erie were organising efforts to promote tourism on Highways 2 and 3, both of which stood to lose traffic upon the construction of Highway 401.[47] In 1956, the 401 provided a continuous Toronto Bypass from Weston to Oshawa.

A portion of the highway in the area of Morrisburg was permanently submerged by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958. The highway was rebuilt along a Canadian National Railway right-of-way in the area to bypass the flooded region. The town of Iroquois was also flooded, but was relocated 1.5 kilometres north rather than abandoned. This event led to the nickname of The Lost Villages for a number of communities in the area.[48]

Countless roadside motels from Windsor to Montreal were bypassed in the 1960s, with the 401 freeway completed in 1968. Growing hotel chains built new facilities near the 401 offramps, saturating the market in some areas. By the 1980s, Toronto's portion of the Kingston Road was in steep decline.[49] Some motels were used to shelter homeless or refugee populations,[50] others were simply demolished.[51]

Highway 2 being widened to four lanes through Oshawa, 1965

The section of Highway 2 between Woodstock and Ancaster (today a part of Hamilton) was not bypassed by 401 (which followed a more northerly corridor to serve Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph), but was ultimately bypassed by Highway 403. As the main street in many communities Highway 2 remained busy with stop-and-go local traffic, sustaining countless shopkeepers and restaurateurs but offering little comfort to independent tourist motels. Outside urban areas, numerous former service stations were converted to other uses,[52] demolished or abandoned.

The last section from Ancaster to Brantford, was bypassed on August 15, 1997.[53] On January 1, 1998, most of the former length of Highway 2 was downloaded, transferring the highway from provincial responsibility to local counties or municipalities. The route lost its King's Highway designation in the process, along with much of its visibility on printed Ontario maps. Many Ontario highways which originally ended at Highway 2 (as the backbone of Ontario's highway system) were truncated or simply decommissioned, most often becoming county roads.

One token provincially maintained section of Highway 2 remains east of Gananoque; this section remains provincially maintained because the Thousand Islands Parkway does not have a complete interchange with Highway 401, meaning that some drivers must use the Highway 2 interchange to transfer between the two roads.

Major intersections

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 2, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1] 

Leeds and GrenvilleGananoque0.00.0Western terminus is at the gated entrance to Gananoque
Leeds and the Thousand IslandsThousand Islands Parkway
1.11.8 Highway 401Kingston, BrockvilleEastern terminus is at the offramp from westbound 401
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

The following table lists the major cities along Highway 2, as originally noted on mileage charts included with Ontario's official road maps. These 1920s figures are based on the original 544.5 mile routing through Aultsville and Moulinette, Ontario.

Windsor00.0 Highway 3  – Detroit
London121.7195.9 Highway 4  – Clinton
Hamilton201.2323.8 Highway 6  – Guelph
Highway 8  – Kitchener-Waterloo
Port Credit230.9371.6 Highway 10  – Brampton
Toronto244.2393.0 Highway 11  – Barrie
Whitby273.3439.8 Highway 12  – Midland
Port Hope307.0494.1
Belleville358.9577.6 Highway 14  – Marmora
Kingston409.7659.3 Highway 15  – Smiths Falls
Prescott470.6757.4 Highway 16  – Ottawa
Rivière-Beaudette544.5876.3Ontario/Quebec border
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Various changes to the routing caused the length to vary between 540 and 544 miles between the initial paving of the highway in 1926 and its decertification in 1998. While the route remains drivable for its entire length, officially only a 1.1 km stub currently remains under provincial control.

See also



  1. ^ a b c Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2016). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Government of Ontario. pp. 8–9. Archived from the original on April 9, 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Ontario Sessional Papers, 1932, No.27-47". 1932.
  3. ^ "A Forest of Highway Signs". The Ottawa Journal. September 21, 1948. p. 4. Retrieved January 19, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Shragge & Bagnato 1984, pp. 89, 93.
  5. ^ Woodsworth, Charles J. (October 17, 1952). "Tasteless Names For Ontario Roads". The Evening Citizen. Vol. 110, no. 93. Ottawa: Southam Newspapers. p. 40. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  6. ^ MapArt 2011, p. 37, section C59.
  7. ^ a b c d Transportation Capital Branch (1997). "Provincial Highways Distance Table" (PDF). Provincial Highways Distance Table: King's Secondary Highways and Tertiary Roads. Ministry of Transportation of Ontario: 2–8. ISSN 0825-5350. Retrieved October 11, 2022 – via Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
  8. ^ Abdelmahmoud, Elamin (2022). Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 9780771002236. Retrieved October 15, 2022. Take Ontario Highway 2, for example. The road was once the main east-west artery of Southern Ontario ... But most of its route was bypassed by the 401, a wider highway with a faster speed limit.
  9. ^ Johnston, Grant (July 13, 1966). "Quebec to Amend Highway Numbering System". Montreal Gazette. p. 17. Retrieved October 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "The Four Lane Trans-Canada Highway In New Brunswick: Route numbers, names and exits changes" (Press release). New Brunswick Department of Transportation. 2007. Archived from the original on November 23, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  11. ^ "Four-lane Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick open to traffic" (Press release). New Brunswick Department of Transportation. November 1, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Canadian Heritage Highways...Route of the Pioneers". The Times Herald. February 11, 1973. p. 2C. Retrieved October 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ a b Corbett, Bill (May 6, 1979). "The Heritage Highways Span 400 Years of Canadian History". Hartford Courant. p. 11F. Retrieved October 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Fitzgerald, G. J. (July 26, 1975). "Heritage Highway Link Between Early Settlements". Montreal Gazette. p. 23. Retrieved October 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Ramshaw, Andre (December 26, 2020). "A Town Without Pier". The Windsor Star. p. ES5. Retrieved October 15, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Arts Route". Artsroute.ca. April 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map) (1994 ed.). Cartography by Cartographic Unit, Surveys and Design Office. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Windsor inset. Archived from the original on May 22, 2022. Retrieved October 14, 2022 – via Archives of Ontario.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ontario Road Map (Map) (1994 ed.). Cartography by Cartographic Unit, Surveys and Design Office. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. §§ E1-O20. Archived from the original on May 22, 2022. Retrieved October 14, 2022 – via Archives of Ontario.
  19. ^ "The End of an Era – Last Remnants of Lakeshore Motel Strip Disappears". The Lakeshore Villages. Vol. 5, no. 5. CityMedia Group. December 2012 – January 2013. p. 11. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  20. ^ "Aerial photo of the now-defunct Keating St, with Leslie St. and Eastern Ave. collectively designed to carry through-traffic in 1947 (Upper left)". City of Toronto Archives (via Eloquent Systems Inc.). Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  21. ^ "Aerial photo of the former eastern section of Fleet St. and section of Cherry St. and the now-defunct Keating St. (north of ship turning basin with median section at far right) in 1957". City of Toronto Archives (via Eloquent Systems Inc.). Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  22. ^ Shragge p.73
  23. ^ Shragge p.11
  24. ^ a b Shragge p.13
  25. ^ Armstrong, Alvin (March 15, 1973). "Historic Kingston (Part 53): Danforth the Road Builder". The Kingston Whig-Standard. Vol. 47, no. 87. p. 3. Retrieved October 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Brown p. 93
  27. ^ Google (June 7, 2010). "Danforth Road near Port Hope" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  28. ^ Google (June 7, 2010). "Danforth Road near Cobourg" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  29. ^ Google (June 7, 2010). "Old Danforth Road in Grafton" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  30. ^ William Canniff, Great Britain. Army. King's Royal Regiment, 2nd Battalion (1869). History of the settlement of upper Canada (Ontario): with special reference to the bay Quinté. Dudley & Burns.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. ^ George Henry Hume (1832). Canada, as it is: comprising details relating to the domestic policy, commerce and agriculture, of the Upper and Lower Provinces : comprising matters of general information and interest, especially intended for the use of settlers and emigrants. W. Stodart. ISBN 9780665451003.
  32. ^ "History of the Bank of Montreal" (PDF). Bank of Montreal. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  33. ^ Claude Bélanger (January 2005). "Bank of Montreal - Quebec History". Marianopolis College, Westmount. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  34. ^ Margaret McBurney; Mary Byers (Oct 1, 1987). Tavern in the town: early inns and taverns of Ontario. University of Toronto Press. p. 66.
  35. ^ Emogene Dymock Van Sickle (1937). The Old York road and its stage coach days. pp. 66–71.
  36. ^ Armstrong, Alvin. Buckskin to Broadloom - Kingston Grows Up. Kingston Whig-Standard, 1973.
  37. ^ "Shameful and Disgraceful Conduct (October 11) and Burning of Toll House and Gate (October 18)". Cobourg Star. 1848. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  38. ^ "Toronto–Hamilton Highway Proposed". The Toronto World. Vol. 34, no. 12125. January 22, 1914. p. 14. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  39. ^ Toll road purchased, page 6, The Toronto World - Jul 22, 1918
  40. ^ Government buys old toll road, The Toronto World - Dec 31, 1918
  41. ^ Official Road Map of Ontario, Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1926. Promotional text on map attributed to "S. L. Squire, deputy minister".
  42. ^ a b Shragge, John G. (2007). "Highway 401 - The story". Archived from the original on March 28, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
  43. ^ a b Google (March 8, 2010). ""Dual Highway" 2 east from Woodstock" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  44. ^ a b "Highway Conditions In Eastern Ontario". The Ottawa Citizen. Vol. 94, no. 127. November 13, 1936. p. 29. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  45. ^ Brown p. 105
  46. ^ Shragge pp. 93–94
  47. ^ Towns along the superhighways (backpage editorial), Ottawa Citizen, page 56, May 27, 1955
  48. ^ "The Lost Villages". The Lost Villages Historical Society. Retrieved September 30, 2007.
  49. ^ Dave LeBlanc. "It's check-out time for Scarborough's storied motel strip". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  50. ^ "AT ISSUE: Displaced families continue to call Kingston Road motels home". Inside Toronto. 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  51. ^ "Motel gives way to mews". Toronto Star. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  52. ^ Betty Stapleton; Jim Potts (1999). "Old B/A station, Newtonville". oldgas.com.
  53. ^ "Highway 403 extension opens Friday". The Toronto Star. August 15, 1997. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  54. ^ 1926 Ontario official road map, Queen's Printer for Ontario, distance chart. These distances appear on all 1926-1929 official maps. 1930s maps list Highway 2 as 541.1 miles instead of the original 544.5 miles; early 1950s indicate 542.2 miles. Subsequent construction of the E. C. Row Expressway and St. Lawrence Seaway would have further changed length and routing of the highway.


  • Brown, Ron (1997). Toronto's Lost Villages. Polar Bear Press. ISBN 1-896757-02-2.
  • Shragge, John; Bagnato, Sharon (1984). From Footpaths to Freeways. Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Historical Committee. ISBN 0-7743-9388-2.
  • Ontario Back Road Atlas (Map). Cartography by MapArt. Peter Heiler Ltd. 2011. ISBN 978-1-55198-226-7.