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Highway 26 is a provincial highway in the Canadianmarker province of Ontariomarker, connecting the cities of Barriemarker and Owen Soundmarker.


Highway 26 in Springwater, looking west.
Highway 26 is Owen Sound and Meafordmarker in the west is not as highly traveled as the tourist area to the east. It is also not a very straight route, as the highway makes four right-hand turns at signalled intersections, including the junction with Simcoe Road 27 (formerly Highway 27) north of Barrie (which is not signalled), the intersection with Simcoe Roads 91 and 42 in downtown Stayner (which lacks a right-hand turn lane), Hume Street in eastern Collingwood, and High street in western Collingwood. Although there is a Realignment Program currently underway.

The routing of the highway takes it from the junction with Highway 6, Highway 10 and Highway 21 in Owen Sound to its terminus at Highway 400 in Barrie at the Bayfield street interchange. For a time the highway continued southward to Dunlop street (Highway 11) in Barrie, cosigned with Highway 27. The southern portion of Bayfield street was downloaded to the City of Barrie along with Dunlop street in 1997, when these sections of Highway 27 and 11 were eliminated. This shortened the highway's length by 1.3 kilometers and removed the 7.2 kilometer concurrency with Highway 27. The highway's current length is 115.7 km.

The highway serves as a major link between Barrie and the Greater Toronto Area (via Highway 400) and the popular tourist region on the southern shore of Georgian Baymarker. Over the past several years the popularity of this region has increased, and traffic levels have increased accordingly. Major reconstruction work was undertaken to repair the very old bridge over the Nottawasaga River in Edenvale (between Barrie and Staynermarker).


A major realignment of the highway is currently in the construction phase that will, when completed, bypass the town of Collingwoodmarker. The present section of highway between Collingwood and Wasaga Beachmarker is a very poor-quality and dangerous section of road, with many small intersecting streets and private residences with direct highway entrances, along with very high traffic volumes. The new alignment will have the highway veer west from a point along its present route between Stayner and Wasaga Beach, and swing south around Collingwood. Plans are to make this section a controlled-access expressway, potentially with some grade-separated interchanges. It is also not known if the bypass will be numbered "Highway 426", "26B", "26" (with the other road gaining a suffixed route, A for alternate, B for business, or possibly even C for connector, but that is unlikely), or even be locally-maintained.

Pretty River Parkway

Prior to the completion of the Pretty River Parkway in Collingwood in the 1970s, Highway 26 was routed through Collingwood along Hume Street, before making a 90 degree right turn (north) at the intersection with Highway 24 (Now Simcoe Road 124, Hurontario Street) with which it was concurrent until Highway 24's terminus at First Street, where Highway 26 makes a 90 degree left turn (west) onto First Street, continuing on the present route. The Pretty River Parkway was a bypass of this highly congested downtown route, branching off to the north from Hume Street and swinging gradually westward along the shoreline until becoming Huron Street, which is the eastward extension of First Street beyond Hurontario. In 2002 and 2003, the Pretty River Parkway was widened to two lanes in each direction to match the existing sections of Huron and First Streets, with a stretch between the Pretty River Bridge and Huron Street being divided by a small median. Upgrades to Highway 26 within the town of Collingwood are likely; when the new bypass is completed, this section will be downloaded to the town, which will no longer get provincial funding for its maintenance. This new bypass has been suspended in conclusion this may never occur. Hume Street, for example, has fallen into disrepair since it became a town street.


On July 6, 2009 two Barrie Police officers were stabbed and one suspect killed outside Bayfield Mall near downtown Barriemarker, During the investigation the ramps from highway 26 to the 400 were shut down and no one had access to the bayfield street (highway 26) interchange Ontariomarker.

Another incident occurred on August 1st in Barrie a major vehicle crash caused eastbound traffic to share lanes on the westbound side.


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