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Highway 2 was the major east-west provincial highway in Southern Ontario, running from Windsormarker in the west to the Quebec boundarymarker near Lancastermarker in the east and joining together the towns and cities of the western two-thirds of the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor within the Canadianmarker province of Ontariomarker. A 4.4 km piece near Gananoquemarker is still signed and maintained by the province, but the majority of the highway was turned over to the local governments to maintain.


Highway 2 was the original road joining together the main settlements of southern Ontario, based on earlier trails and footpaths, and it served as the primary wagon and stage coach route before the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway. Most of the towns and cities in the corridor are built around the highway and use it as one of their main streets, many with names like Danforth Road, King Street, Kingston Road, Montreal Road, or Dundas Street.

Before the Highway 2 designation was applied in the 1920s, the road was commonly referred to as the Provincial Road. Many of the original nineteenth century brick inns and taverns along the route still exist, especially in smaller towns and villages, though the buildings have typically passed to other uses.

A portion of the highway in the area of Morrisburgmarker was permanently submerged by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958. The highway was rebuilt along a Canadian National Railway right-of-way in the area to bypass the flooded region. The town of Iroquoismarker was also flooded, but was relocated 1.5 kilometres north rather than abandoned. This event led to the nickname of The Lost Villages for a number of communities in the area.

Capacity upgrades

During the mid-1930s, the Department of Highways (evolved into today's Ministry of Transportation) built the Queen Elizabeth Way. Upon seeing how efficient this new "superhighway" was at moving traffic, the department elected to upgrade Highway 2 to the new four-lane standards in several areas where traffic congestion had become problematic. Grading started around the St. Joachimmarker area, and dual carriageways were completed west of Chathammarker, near Woodstockmarker, Brockvillemarker and Bellevillemarker. These upgrades stopped with the onset of the Second World War and the decision to build a new controlled-access route across the province. None of those sections have any control of access; they are merely four-lane divided routes.

Bypassing of Highway 2

The construction of Highway 401 during the 1940s, 1950s and '60s along a (mostly) parallel route, bypassed the town and city cores, and made Highway 2 largely redundant except for local travel and tourism, and led to a decline of many businesses built alongside it. In many cases, businesses moved from town and city centres to malls and plazas located closer to Highway 401. Provincial downloading of highways to local municipalities has largely resulted in the elimination of this highway as a provincial entity, and it has now become mostly a series of connected county roads. A short portion still maintained as a provincial highway runs in unison with Highway 49 from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territorymarker border to the former Highway 2 turnoff in the south. There is also a small section still in existence from the eastern limit of the Town of Gananoquemarker to Highway 401.

Current status

Before the deletion of Highway 2, most of which took place on January 1, 1998, it was a continuous road from Highway 3 in Windsormarker to the Quebecmarker border. It now has the following designations:

Highway 2 remains signed in parts of Toronto, where markers direct drivers along Lake Shore Boulevard west of downtown, and Lake Shore Boulevard, Coxwell Avenue (changed from the old route on Woodbine Avenue), and Kingston Road east of downtown.

See also


  1. Former Ontario Highways
  2. Google Maps Street View, accessed November 2009

External links

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