Ontario Trans-Canada Highway information



Trans-Canada Highway, near Heyden

Why Visit Ontario?

Ontario is Canada's most populous province, it has fast-paced urban areas in the South around the Golden Horseshoe, along the 401, and in the Ottawa Valley. These present great architecture, interesting history, great shopping, and a variety of dining experiences. It also has amazing natural areas, including the many shores of Lake Huron, the Kawartha, Muskoka, and Rideau cottages areas close to the cities, and then there's the rugged North, defined as anything north of the French River 9with Algonquin Park thrown in).

Here is the route of the Trans-Canada Highway from east to west:

Parliament Hill in Ottawa 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.

Mattawa Railway Bridge, over Ottawa River 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.

Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior

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.

Terry Fox memorial, just east of Thunder Bay, along the TCH
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.

Kenora, view from Lake Of The Woods
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.

Ottawa is the largest city on the Ontario portion of the Trans-Canada, with North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay much smaller.

Nothern Ontario's Trans-Canada route through the North

History of the Trans-Canada in Ontario

Is Toronto on the Trans-Canada?

Island Airport with City View 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.

401 heading east at Night, at Keele Street 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:

    Known Speedtraps in this province Large Roadside Attractions Trans-Canada Trail Gas Prices

Ontario Highway Features & Points of Interest

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Cities to Visit

Here are some featured Ontario cities & towns along or near the Trans Canada Highway:

Kitchener-Waterloo Travel informationKitchener-Waterloo Travel information

ON: Kitchener-Waterloo is located in the heartland of Southern Ontario, also called Canada^s Technology Triangle

More info...

Barrie, Ontario Travel infrmationBarrie, Ontario Travel infrmation

ON: Barrie is a small attractive city with swimmable beaches and scenic waterfront along Lake Simcoe.

More info...

Pembroke, Ontario Travel InformationPembroke, Ontario Travel Information

ON: Pembroke is the largest in the Upper Ottawa Valley, once surrounded by forests, and was a centre of the timber trade. Pembroke was the first community in Canada with electric street lights powered by the adjacent the hydro-electric plant

More info...

Wawa, Ontario travel InformationWawa, Ontario travel Information

ON: Wawa lies at an important junction of highway 17 south and highway 101 east into the major mining cities of Ontario^s North.

More info...

Mattawa, Ontario Travel InformationMattawa, Ontario Travel Information

ON: This 3,000 resident community lies at the junction of the Ottawa and the Mattawa rivers. The name is the Ojibway phrase for \meeting of the waters.\

More info...

Routes & Itineraries

Here are some featured itineraries of Ontario segments of the Trans Canada Highway:

Toronto bypass: Toronto through Barrie, Orillia and to Parry Sound via #400Toronto bypass: Toronto through Barrie, Orillia and to Parry Sound via #400

ON: Here is the itinerary for the 219 km route along #400 and #69 from Toronto through Barrie, Orillia and to Parry Sound. This route continues with Parry Sound to Sudbury (which is on the Trans-Canada)

More info...

Toronto bypass: from Toronto to Kingston along Highway 401Toronto bypass: from Toronto to Kingston along Highway 401

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),

More info...

Ontario: #17 between Marathon and WawaOntario: #17 between Marathon and Wawa

ON: Here is the itinerary of the 180 km along #17 between Marathon and Wawa, via White River and Pukaskwa National Park

More info...

Toronto bypass: Parry Sound to Sudbury, via Route 69/400Toronto bypass: Parry Sound to Sudbury, via Route 69/400

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):

More info...

Ontario: between Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec via #417Ontario: between Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec via #417

ON: Here is the itinerary for the 186 km along Ontario #417 and Quebec #40 between Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec:

More info...

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Provinces with the Trans-Canada Highway Province Cities along the Trans-Canada Highway City Town along the Trans-Canada Highway Town Itinerary Transcanada Highway Hisory History Trans-Canada Highway Ferries Ferry Trans-Canada Highway Ferries Tour

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