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Trans-Canada Highway Overview

CLICK TO VIEW full-size Trans-Canada Highway Route Map

Trans-Canada Highway Route Map

The highest spot on the Trans-Canada is Kicking Horse Pass (on the Alberta-BC border, the continental divide) with an elevation of 1643 m, which incidentally is 316 m higher than the Rogers Pass. The Rogers Pass portion of the highway was paved in 1962, completing the coast-to-coast highway (see more complete history of the highway).

The Trans-Canada Highway (see Highway Map)  links several provincial highways, some of which are 4-lane divided, but many stretches (much through isolated wilderness and agricultural land) are still 2 lanes. It connects Highway #1 in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (where #16 is the northern Yellowhead Route, and #3 is the southern Crowsnest Route), with #17 in Ontario (#69, #12, #7 in the southern route), #40, #20 and #85 in Quebec, #2 in New Brunswick, #104 and #105 in Nova Scotia, and #1 in PEI and in Newfoundland.

There is no Trans-Canada Highway through the Yukon, Northwest Territories, or in Nunavut (nor in Newfoundland’s Labrador). And there is not Trans-Canada Highway through Toronto (but we have routes to take you to/from there!) . See our travel itineraries for “everything-you-can-see” details of each section of the highway.

We’ve also compiled our list of top “must see” attractions along the way. This list has 14 items that we feel characterizes Canada and the Canadian experience. The mid-point of the highway is at Batchwana Bay, just north of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, on the Sault to Wawa segment, which was opened in 1963. We appreciate your feedback.

For detailed maps for each province, click on its name at the TOP OF THE PAGE. Or you can click on the MAP to view specific route itineraries.

Trans-Canada Highway History

As early as 1910, there were calls for a national road across Canada, and Tofino laid claim to the “western terminus” in that year, a dream unfulfilled, but the sign remains on its waterfront to this day. The “first post” of the Canadian Highway was planted in Victoria in 1912. The first successful crossing of Canada by car was in 1912, when Thomas Wilby supplemented existing dirt roads with railway rights of way along the rugged Lake Superior north shore and over the Rocky Mountains.

Some sections of the highway were paved early on (for example, Highway 17 in Northern Ontario was paved in 1937), while others had major construction challenges and would require federal support.

Rogers Pass Visitors Centre on the Trans-Canada Highway
In 1949, the federal Trans-Canada Highway Act set out Provincial and Federal cost-sharing for construction of the roadway, which would revolutionize travel as well as transport in Canada. This public work project rivaled the cost and economic impact of the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway (which was completed in 1959).

Construction of the highway formally began in 1950 and would continue for several more years. The Trans-Canada Highway was officially opened by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at a ceremony in Roger’s Pass, British Columbia on September 3, 1962, with a follow-up ceremony in Wawa the next summer. Newfoundland was the last province to complete its highway, in 1967.

More detailed Trans-Canada Highway history…

Other Neat Info

We are created by TransCanada FoundLocally Inc, which has been developing websites and providing locally-focussed (ie Canadian) web marketing services since 1999.

To see the full route of the Trans-Canada, see out particularly on the highway route Itineraries. We have also added tons of content, about your drive between the cities, with what  you might see along the way the geography, the flora & forests, the fauna & wildlife, and the farming & agriculture. We even have an ULTIMATE Canadian Bucket List.

Check out the Travel Information page, or the info for each province, using the menu at the top!