Ontario (Toronto bypass): between Kingston and Montreal along Ontario #401 & Quebec #20

Gananoque's Thousand Islands Bridge across the St Lawrence

Why travel between Kingston and Montreal?

This route follows the mighty Saint Lawrence River which takes all the water from all the Great Lakes from Lake Ontario down to sea level at Montreal. You pass the Thousand Islands at the mouth of Lake Ontario, and just to the south along Highway 2 are many colonial era towns. At Morrisburg, you pass the Upper Canada Village which represents Canada in 1867, when it ceased to be colony and became a country. You will also pass a number of major dams on the St Lawrence, providing both navigable waters for ocean-going ships and Seaway freighters, but also generate power to the communities along or near the river. After crossing the Ontario-Quebec border, you cross the Ottawa River onto the Island of Montreal, which has several municipalities, including the City of Montreal.

Here is the itinerary for the 248 km from Kingston to Montreal along Ontario Highway 401, and Quebec Autoroute 20, known as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, to continue into Montreal on #40, the Trans-Canada Highway

Marine Museum at Kingston The 206 kilometre long Rideau Canal connected Kingston and Ottawa, using the Cataraqui River from Kingston, and the Rideau River from Ottawa. Following the War of 1812-1814, England realized that it needed a protected route between Montreal in Lower Canada and York (Toronto) in Upper Canada. The canal used 47 locks and 24 dams to climb 49 metres (160 feet) above Lake Ontario, and then fall 84 metres (275 ft) back down to the Ottawa River. Today, the waterway is used primarily by recreational boaters, and passes through many quaint towns and villages, with plenty of shopping, dining and accommodation along the way.

The Thousand Islands, which actually number 1865 of them, lie in the St Lawrence for the 50 miles from the point where it drains Lake Ontario. The islands range in size from a rock sticking out of water up to Wolfe Island which is 27 miles long and 9 miles wide. They form a connection between the Canadian Shield and New York's Adirondack Mountains just south of the border. In 1904 Canada designated some of the islands as part of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park. Visitors can take tours of the islands, which are popular with sailors and boaters from Canada and the US.

Thousand Islands Bridge, at Gananoque In the 1950s, the US and Canadian governments created the St Lawrence Seaway, extends 3790 km inland from the Atlantic to the west end of Lake Superior. Dams created stable water levels and harnessed the St Lawrence's hydroelectric potential while fifteen locks were built to handle ocean-going freighters.

The river was key to early exploration of North America's interior, but it was a rugged waterway, punctuated with series of rapids, and at Niagara an insurmountable waterfall. Starting in 1829, small canals and locks were built for boats to bypass the rapids and the Niagara Falls, but they were massively expanded in the 1950s to handle international shipping. The largest locks and dams in this section of the Seaway are at Cornwall and at Lachine (Montreal).

Trans-Canada Highway History

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

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Next West: Toronto to Kingston Next East: Ottawa to Montreal
Montreal to Quebec City

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Detailed Itinerary


Highway Point & Features


Junction Hwy 101, Wawa Info Centre, N to Wawa airport, town of Wawa, all services (Wawa)  282.5 
Municipality of Wawa, 3 km to the N of the highway..

Highway 101, as Mission Rd in to Wawa, continues E to Chapleau..

Chapleau, pop. 2300, 130 km E of highway..

Algoma Motel..

Beaver Motel..

Best Northern Resort & Restaurant..

Bristol Motel..

Camp Michi Wawa..

High Falls Motel and Cabins..

Lakeview Hotel..

Lakewood Motel..

Mystic Isle Motel..

Northern Lights Motel & Breakfast..

Parkway Motel, 3 km S of junction, on Highway 17..

Miss Ellie's Bed & Breakfast..

Wawa Motor Inn..

Michipicoten's 9 Hole Golf Course..

Visitor Information Centre, with the famous statue of the Wawa Canada Goose. public washrooms...

Lady Dunn Health Centre, 3.7 km Nof highway, via Hwy 101 & Broadway Ave..
Cross Magpie River (Wawa)  249.6 
Magpie River Rd, S to Wawa RV Resort & Campground (Wawa)  254.5 
Wawa RV Resort & Campground..
Services, W side of Hwy 295 
Services, W side of Hwy 289.3 
39  Hwy 519 N to Dubreuilville & Algoma Central Railway 440.7 
Town of Dubreuilville, pop. 900, 35 km NE of highway..
54  Obatanga Provincial Park, S of hwy 422.8 
Obatanga Provincial Park, with 32 lakes, day-use area, camping, water sports, winter sports...
61  Services, Lodging, E side of hwy 429.2 
63  Passing Hammer Lake, lake is to W of highway for 6 km 427.9 
74  Roadside Turnout, picnic area, west side of hwy 438.3 
85  crossing small lake 406.9 
86  creek crossing 398.1 
90  Highway Junction Hwy 631, S to town of White River (services along the hwy) (White River)  375.5 
Town of White River, to S of highway..

White River Heritage Museum, celebrating the home of Winnie the Pooh, the early CPR, and AJ Cason of the Group of Seven painters...

Continental Hotel and Restaurant ..

White River Motel..

Township of Hornepayne, 97 km NE of highway..

Winnie the Pooh Statue in White River..

Thermometer at east entrance to White River, marking coldest spot in Canada..
108  Crossing White River 345 
112  Crossing White River 342 
117  Road S to Pic Mobert North Indian Reserve, and town of Mobert (8 km) and access to Pukuskwa National Park 356.6 
Pic Mobert North Indian Reserve, on east shore of White Lake..

Access to Pukuskwa National Park, via White River..
123  Bridge over White Lake 322.5 
Over east side of White Lake..

White Lake Provincial Park, south of highway, on west side of White Lake. Camping, water sports, sandy beaches winter sports...
127  Bridge over Dunc Lake 322.5 
over northern portion of Dunc Lake..
135  Cedar Lake S of hwy 312.4 
140  Junction Hwy 614 N to Manitouwadge (58 km), Roadside turnout on S side just W of junction 312.1 
Township of Manitouwadge, pop. 2300, 58 km N of highway. Home to Golden Giant gold mine...

Early 1980s, gold was discovered at Hemlo, near highway junction. Several open pit mines in the area,..

small rest stops with bathrooms just to W of junction. both sides of highway..

Prairie Lake Project uranium mine, operated by Nuinsco Resources Limited, 28 km N of Hihgway
145  Gravel Pit mine to N of hwy 321.6 
154  Passing Lake S side of hwy 260.6 
Rious Lake to S of highway, about 1.7 across...
167  Crossing Black River 240.2 
173  hwy 627, S to Pic River Indian Reserve 50 212.8 
Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation..

community of Heron Bay, 10 km S of highway, in the Pic River 50 Reserve..

mouth of Pic River is 20 km S of highway, and has sandy beaches with dunes on the N side of the river's mouth...

Pukaskwa National Park, Hattie Cove entrance. Pukaskwa is the only wilderness national park in Ontario...
173  Crossing Pic River 197.5 
Pedestrian bridge on N side of hihgway, accessed by trails along S side of highway (go figure!)..
176  East access to Marathon, all services, OPP (Marathon)  311.8 
Superior Slopes Ski Hill, just W of highway junction. Ski hill (325 ft, 11 runs) slopes away form the road...

Gravel pits on N side of highway, one a km E of junction, 1 a km W of junction...

Craig's Pit Provincial Park, 5 km SW of highway. Hiking trails to access glacial kettles in gravel beds. No facilities...

south side of highway, beside Superior Slopes Ski Hill..

Service station on N (westbound) side of highway, about 1.3 km W of this junction...
180  Peninsula Rd, (W) to north access to Marathon (5 km), all services (Marathon)  316.1 
Marathon Municipal Airport (CYSP), just NW of highway..

Town of Marathon, about 2.5 km SW of highway..

Marathon District Museum..

Mink Creek Falls..

Peninsula Golf Course, 9 holes designed by Stanley Thompson..

Best Western Airport Motor Inn..

Lakeview Manor..

Marathon Harbour Inn ..

Peninsula Inn..

Travelodge Marathon..

Wayfare Inn, /4 mile west of Marathon Intersection..

Pic River Guest Suite..

Penn Lake Park campground,2 km from highway, in-town..


Highway Point & Features


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