In 1937. the road west of Pembroke became lableled an extension of Highway 17, which continued west to Sault Ste. Marie Portions of this highway were already paved: east of Sault Ste. Marie, west of Blind River, through Sudbury, east of Sturgeon Falls, and through Mattawa.
2016: Highway 17 - Sturgeon Falls westerly Resurfacing / passing lanes / culvert rehabilitation 10 km
2018: Duchesnay Creek Bridge, CNR overhead, North Bay Resurfacing / bridge replacement / bridge removal
Lake Nippising was formed as melting ice Age glacial meltwater spread over low-lying land. The glacial deposits and sediments that resulted have turned into clay, and have produced good arable land east
Just west of Hagar the highway squeezes into a rocky channel with Veuve River and the CPR
Much of the North shore of Lake Nipissing is deeded to the Ojibewa Indians, where they log on the reserve, run/lease cottages
Champlain Lookout Champlain reached with this point canoeing west on the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers, back in 1615 before continuing west on the French River on his way to Georgian Bay, before heading south to Lake Simcoe, and back east on the St Lawrence
The North Bay Bypass was completed in 1953, taking Highway 11 (north-south) and Highway 17 9east-west) traffic to the east and north of the city's business centre. Both the old route of Highway 17 through the city (via Main Street and Fisher Street) and the North Bay Bypass were posted with the Highway 17 route number.
In 1958, North Bay's Business Route through Downtown North Bay was given a new route number, Highway 17B/11B.
In the mid-1970s, Highway 17B was rerouted through designated one-way streets through Downtown North Bay. Between Fisher Street and Cassels Street, Highway 17B followed Oak Street southbound and McIntyre Street northbound, taking drivers for a 6.3 km our through the city.
This stretch of the Trans-Canada parallels a key part of the early Voyageur Route into the heart of North America. This water route was used by the French to travel by canoe to connect their fur-traders and their Catholic priests. who travelled west from the settlements of Quebec and Hochelaga (now Montreal) on the St Lawrence to the Upper Great Lakes (those that lie above Niagara Falls) and down the Mississippi to New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi. From the south shore of Lake Nipissing, following traditional routes of the First Nations, the voyageurs proceeded down the French River to Lake Huron.
Just east of North Bay is the important la Vase Portage between Trout Lake (one of 7 Trout Lakes in Ontario), at the west end of the Mattawa River system, and Lake Nippissing, from which the voyageur traveled on the French River down to Lake Huron. There is a historical monument commemorating Champlain's visit in 1615 (though Etienne Brule passed through here in 1610)
The terrain between North Bay and Mattawa is characterized as Rocky Upland, with a foundation built on the Canadian Shield. They intersperse hard rock ridges with sand and gravel deposits (which is important for road construction), which is covered with a small amount of sandy loam topsoil and clays. The forests in this area have been logged one or more times since the 1800s. Forests that have been burned sometimes causes the scrub condition seen along the highway.
When the Ice Age receded about 11,000 years ago. the meltwaters created the Champlain Sea, which allowed clays an sands to settle in the area along the Ottawa River. These form the base for the soils supporting the region's forestry and agriculture industries.
The area around Mattawa is classified as a Terrace Zone, with valley terraces of coarse soils that are suited to aspens and willows, which attract big game animals like deer. Over the past century, human encroachment and hunting has forced deer away from the Ottawa/Mattawa Rivers to the protected areas of Algonquin Park to the southwest of the Trans-Canada, and to the Samuel de Champlain and the Mattawa River Provincial Parks to the north of the Trans-Canada. The Ottawa River Valley east of Mattawa has sandy soils well suited to potato farming, with farmers alternating with rye to condition the soil.
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