Ontario Highway 11

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Highway 11 shield Trans-Canada Highway shield

Highway 11
Route information
Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Length: 1,780.2 km[1] (1,106.2 mi)
Existed: 1920 – present
Major junctions
South end:  Highway 400 – Barrie
   Highway 12 – Orillia
 Highway 60 – Huntsville
 Highway 17 – North Bay
 Highway 63 – North Bay
 Highway 64 – Marten River
 Highway 65 – New Liskeard
 Highway 66 – Kenogami
 Highway 101 – Matheson
  Highway 17 / Highway 61 – Thunder Bay
 Highway 71 – Fort Frances
West end: MN 72Baudette, MN
Divisions: Simcoe County, Muskoka, Parry Sound District, Nipissing District, Timiskaming District, Cochrane District, Thunder Bay District, Rainy River District
Major cities: Barrie, Orillia, North Bay, Temiskaming Shores, Thunder Bay
Towns: Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Burk's Falls, South River, Powassan, Temagami, Englehart, Matheson, Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Hearst, Longlac, Geraldton, Nipigon, Fort Frances, Rainy River
Highway system
←  Highway 10   Highway 12  →

King's Highway 11, commonly referred to as Highway 11, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. At 1,780.2 kilometres (1,106.2 mi), it is the second longest highway in the province, following Highway 17. Highway 11 begins at Highway 400 in Barrie, and arches through northern Ontario to the Ontario–Minnesota border at Rainy River via Thunder Bay; the road continues as Minnesota State Highway 72 across the Baudette-Rainy River International Bridge.

North and west of North Bay, Highway 11 forms part of the Trans-Canada Highway. The highway is also part of MOM's Way between Thunder Bay and Rainy River.


1927 postcard of the Ferguson Highway

Highway 11 was originally planned as a trunk road to connect the communities of Southern Ontario to those of Northern Ontario, as a continuous route from Toronto to North Bay. In 1919, Premier of Ontario Ernest Charles Drury created the Department of Public Highways, though much of the responsibility for establishing the route he left to minister of the new cabinet position, Frank Campbell Biggs. By linking together several previously built roads such as Yonge Street, Penetanguishene Road, Middle Crossroad and the Muskoka Road, all early colonization roads in this region, a continuous route was created between Toronto and North Bay; however, the new department's jurisdiction did not extend north of the Severn River. North of the Severn River, the roadway was maintained by the Department of Northern Development.

Further expansion was planned with a new highway from North Bay to Cochrane. Construction began in 1925, including reconstruction of portions of the old Muskoka Road from Severn Bridge which was officially opened on July 2, 1927. When it was opened, it was named the Ferguson Highway, in honour of Premier George Howard Ferguson (Drury's successor). Roads in northern Ontario later came under the Ministry of Transportation and became provincial highways.

Highway 11 facing north towards Bracebridge

Over the years, Highway 11 grew to stretch from downtown Toronto all the way to the Minnesota border. Highway 11 became synonymous with Yonge Street, the name of the street in Toronto which formed its southernmost segment. It is from this that Yonge Street gained a disputed reputation as the "longest street in the world".

In 1997, the care of the highway portion south of Barrie, including Yonge Street, was transferred by the provincial government to various regional governments as part of significant cost reductions by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. This practice is called downloading, in that the financial burden will fall to a lower tier government; this is often used when a stretch of road lost its regional importance and it is improper to ask other taxpayers in other regions to pay for this road from which they derive no benefit. Along with the name Yonge Street, the section in York Region is now York Regional Road 1, the section in Simcoe County is now mostly Simcoe County 4. Within the city of Toronto, which does not have a regional road numbering system, it is now known simply as Yonge Street. Highway 11 consequently assumed the 1.1-kilometre highway stub formerly known as Highway 400A, and now ends at the interchange with Highway 400 just north of Barrie's city limits.

In 2003, a major bridge failure at the Sgt. Aubrey Cosens VC Memorial Bridge at the Montreal River in Latchford caused a complete closure and significant detour.

Highway 11 began to be upgraded beginning in the 1960s when the stretch between Barrie and Gravenhurst was upgraded to a 4 lane highway with a median barrier and right-in/right-out ramps, with a signed speed limit of 90 km/h. Upgrades continued in the 1970s between Gravenhurst and Huntsville, where the highway was built with a grass median and a mix of interchanges and at grade intersections. Major reconstruction of Highway 11 between North Bay and Huntsville began in 2003, upgrading the route from a two-lane rural highway to a four-lane road. In some sections the route was being built as an expressway with right-in/right-out ramps or at-grade intersections, while in others it was built as a full 400-Series freeway.

Highway 11 crosses the 45th parallel (halfway between the equator and north pole) 600 metres north of the bridge carrying Highway 118 at interchange 182, just outside Bracebridge.

Due to a steep incline as it descends Thibeault Hill into North Bay, the southbound Algonquin Avenue segment of Highway 11 features the only runaway truck ramp on Ontario's highway system.[2] The Ministry of Transportation is currently undertaking a study of potential highway improvements in the North Bay area, which may include a new westerly realignment of this segment to bypass the hill.

On August 9, 2012, construction of the fully divided four lane freeway between Huntsville and North Bay was completed.[3] However, as the section south of Gravenhurst is still a RIRO expressway rather than a full freeway, the highway is not currently slated to be renumbered as Highway 411.

Route description[edit]

The highway passes through remote northern parts of the province. The stretch of highway between Hearst and Longlac, over 200 km, is totally uninhabited, and it is recommended that travelers stop to refuel before crossing this region.

Business routes[edit]

Highway 11B is the designation for business routes of Highway 11, nine of which have existed over the years. Two continue to exist today, while the remaining seven have been decommissioned. With the exception of the short spur route into Atikokan, all were at one time the primary route of Highway 11 through the communities they served, and were redesignated as 11B after a newer bypass alignment was constructed.

Highway 11B entering Cobalt

All sections of Highway 11B have now been decommissioned by the province with the exception of the Atikokan route and the southernmost section of the former Tri-Town route between Cobalt and Highway 11.

In 1967, a section of the Cobalt route of Highway 11B collapsed into an abandoned mine, cutting off the town of Cobalt.[4]


Highway 11 facing south from Highway 12 in Orillia

Highway 11 between Barrie and Gravenhurst is currently a right-in/right-out (RIRO) expressway (local access permitted, turnarounds via special interchanges), except for a section around Orillia which is a full freeway. Another freeway section does exist in Barrie with the freeway segment from the southern terminus ending at Penetanguishene Road (Simcoe Road 93). The MTO is currently planning on either converting the existing RIRO expressway to a full six-lane freeway, or bypassing it with an entirely new alignment. An environmental and fiscal study concluded that the improvements from Barrie to Gravenhurst will involve the existing route being widened with the exception of a portion south of Gravenhurst that may potentially be constructed to the east of the current road.[5]

Major intersections[edit]

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 11, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1] 

Division Location km[1] mi Exit Destinations Notes
Simcoe Oro-Medonte 0.0 0.0    Highway 400A south – Barrie, Toronto
County Road 93 north (Penetanguishene Road) – Midland
Continuation of Ontario Highway 400 kilometre markers
5.7 3.5   Oro-Medonte Line 4
15.8 9.8    County Road 20 (Oro-Medonte Line 11)
Orillia 23.6 14.7 129 Memorial Avenue Northbound exit only; southbound exit and northbound entrance via Oro-Medonte Line 15
25.3 15.7 131  Highway 12 south (Old Barrie Road) – Whitby
27.7 17.2 133  Highway 12 north (Coldwater Road) – Coldwater, Midland
29.8 18.5 135  County Road 18 (West Street / Burnside Line)
31.4 19.5   Laclie Street Northbound entrance and southbound exit
Severn 38.9 24.2   Bayou Road / New Brailey Line
46.7 29.0   County Road 169 south
49.0 30.4  
Severn River bridge
Muskoka Gravenhurst
64.9 40.3 169 District Road 169 west (Muskoka Road) – Bala, Parry Sound Dead Man's Curve; no northbound entrance
69.9 43.4 175 District Road 41 west (Bethune Road)
District Road 6 east (Doe Lake Road)
76.8 47.7 182  Highway 118 east – Haliburton
District Road 118 west – Bracebridge, Port Carling
78.8 49.0 184 District Road 37 (Fredrick Street / Cedar Lane)
83.6 51.9 189 District Road 42 (Taylor Road)
87.5 54.4 193 District Road 117 east – Dorset
Huntsville 101.8 63.3 207  Highway 141 west – Parry Sound, Utterson
District Road 10 – Port Sydney
114.3 71.0 219 District Road 3 (Aspdin Road / Main Street) Huntsville Bypass
116.6 72.5 221 District Road 2 (West Road / Ravenscliffe Road)
118.3 73.5 223  Highway 60 east – Ottawa – Algonquin Provincial Park
121.5 75.5 226 District Road 3
126.3 78.5 235  Highway 592 north (Novar Road) – Emsdale Emsdale Bypass
Parry Sound Emsdale 135.2 84.0 244 Fern Glen Road west / Scotia Road east
139.4 86.6 248  Highway 518 west – Parry Sound
141.1 87.7 252 Doe Lake Road west / Three Mile Lake Road east
Burk's Falls 148.3 92.1 257  Highway 520 (Ontario Street) – Magnetawan Burk's Falls Bypass
151.9 94.4 261 Ontario Street
Sundridge 167.6 104.1 276  Highway 124 – Parry Sound, South River Sundridge / South River Bypass
South River 174.4 108.4 282 Mountain Road and Tower Road
179.9 111.8 289  Highway 124 – Sundridge
Laurier 184.9 114.9 294 Goreville Road / Summit Road
Trout Creek 192.3 119.5 301  Highway 522 west – Commanda Trout Creek Bypass
197.1 122.5 306 Highway 522B
Powassan 207.6 129.0 316  Highway 534 west – Nipissing, Restoule
Callander 220.6 137.1 329 Highway 654 (Lake Nosbonsing Road) – Nipissing To  Highway 94 north – Corbeil
Nipissing North Bay 229.7 142.7 338 Lakeshore Drive Formerly Highway 11B
235.4 146.3 344  Highway 17 east – Ottawa Beginning of Highway 17 concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Route map[edit]

Western half of King's Highway 11
Eastern half of King's Highway 11


See also[edit]

  • Webers, a fast-food restaurant located alongside the highway, near Orillia


External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google