Ontario Trans-Canada Highway information
Here is the route of the Trans-Canada Highway from east to west:
After crossing from Quebec, the highway winds up the fertile and wide Ottawa Valley until it reaches Ottawa, Canada's capital. Originally called "Bytown," and located where the Ottawa River is joined by the Rideau and the Gatineau rivers, the city has many stone buildings dating back before Confederation (1867). Ottawa is also an endpoint of the Rideau Canal, a magnet for small boaters.
The Trans-Canada Highway continues up the Ottawa River along the original fur-trading route through pretty valley towns like Arnprior, Pembroke and Petawawa, to Mattawa.
At Mattawa the highway ventures west through rugged and hilly Canadian Shield along a voyageur route, for the next 1640 km to Manitoba. North Bay, on the eastern end of beautiful Lake Nipissing, was important to early French fur traders, is also where the Trans-Canada Highway splits.
The main route takes you west through Sudbury, which is the nickel capital of the world, because of its fortunate location at an ancient meteor crater.
The highway continues west along the North Channel above Manitoulin Island (the largest island in a lake in the world), to Sault Ste Marie (the "Soo").
Sault Ste Marie is a rare city, in that it has populations on both sides of the International border and locals tend to go over the bridge as if it was any other to take advantage of bar hours or shopping deals.
From there, the Trans-Canada heads north through the Algoma wilderness, the scene of many Group of Seven paintings, and then at Wawa begins the route west along the northern shore of Lake Superior, one of Canada's great drives, past company towns like Marathon and Terrace Bay. The "northern" route takes you through Hearst and most rugged portion of the Canadian Shield.
The two routes link up at Thunder Bay, at the western end of Lake Superior and again at Kenora, in the middle of Ontario's "Lake Country." Both routes offer spectacular wilderness scenery, though you should pay strict attention to road conditions and "last gas" signs (gas stations, like towns, are every 60 to 100 miles). Exercise caution from Vermillion Bay west to Kenora because of its sharp curves and non-existent shoulders. Also watch out for "surprise" traffic lights in Thunder Bay and Kenora, if not taking the "bypass" expressway.
History of the Trans-Canada in Ontario
Is Toronto on the Trans-Canada?
Contrary to popular belief, Canada's largest city Toronto is NOT on the Trans-Canada, but is 80 miles (128 km) west of Peterborough, on the "southwest" route, which runs from Ottawa through Peterborough, which is the heart of Ontario's "Cottage Country," and then north through Parry Sound to Sudbury.
The highway that runs through toronto is the 401 Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, which connects Detroit, Michigan & Windsor, Ontario with Toronto and the "Golden Horseshoe" region, and continues eastwards to Montreal (where the highway numbering changes) and on to Quebec City.
Fortunately, we have detailed itineraries to get travellers to Toronto, or Torontonians to the Trans-Canada! More about getting to the Trans-Canada Highway from Toronto, and lots of information for Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area ("the GTA")
Some Useful Links
Our Pick of Useful Links:
Ontario Highway Features & Points of Interest
Cities to Visit
Here are some featured Ontario cities & towns along or near the Trans Canada Highway:
ON: Wawa lies at an important junction of highway 17 south and highway 101 east into the major mining cities of Ontario^s North.
ON: Nestled in the heart of the Golden Horseshoe\ against the Niagara Escarpment, and has long been known as a Steel Town.
ON: Barrie is a small attractive city with swimmable beaches and scenic waterfront along Lake Simcoe.
ON: Toronto is Ontario^s capital, with top-flight shopping, museums, attractions, and dining
ON: Oshawa began in 1760, and lay on the York-to-Kingston road, where in a mid-1800s farming implement and carriage works grew into General Motors Canada.
Routes & Itineraries
Here are some featured itineraries of Ontario segments of the Trans Canada Highway:
ON: Here is the itinerary for the 309 km from Toronto to Kingston along Highway 401, also known as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Continuing with segment from Kingston to Montreal),
ON: Here is the itinerary for the 304 km along Highway #17 between Mattawa and Ottawa, via Deep River, Renfrew, Pembroke, Arnprior, Cobden, Carp, and Kanata
ON: Here is the itinerary for the 247 km along #17 between Ignace and Thunder Bay, via Kakabeka Falls
ON: Here is the itinerary for the 246 km along Highway #17 between Kenora and Ignace
ON: Here is the itinerary for the 153 km route along Route 69 from Parry Sound to Sudbury (a continuation of the route from Toronto to Parry Sound):
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