Ontario Highway 26

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Highway 26 shield
Highway 26
A map of Highway 26
  Highway 26   Connecting Links
Route information
Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Length116.7 km[1] (72.5 mi)
ExistedJuly 2, 1927[2]–present
Major junctions
West end   Highway 6 / Highway 10 / Highway 21 in Owen Sound
 Hurontario Street
East end Highway 400 in Barrie
Location
Major citiesOwen Sound, Barrie
TownsMeaford, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Stayner (in Clearview)
Highway system
Highway 24 Highway 27
Former provincial highways
←  Highway 25

King's Highway 26, commonly referred to as Highway 26, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario, connecting the cities of Owen Sound and Barrie. Between these two cities, the highway serves the southern shoreline of Georgian Bay, passing through Meaford, Collingwood and Stayner, as well as passing the Blue Mountain Resort. In addition, the highway serves as the main route to Wasaga Beach, a popular recreational destination during the summer months.

Highway 26 was first assumed by the Department of Highways, predecessor to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, in 1927, along an existing trunk route between Barrie and Owen Sound. Various bypasses, mostly around Collingwood, have improved the route through the intervening years.

Route description[edit]

Highway 26 facing west towards Owen Sound; the highway dives through several large valleys between here and Meaford.

Highway 26 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 Bay.[3] Over the past several years the popularity of this region has increased, and traffic levels have increased accordingly.[1] 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.[4] For a time, the highway continued southward to Dunlop street, formerly 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 Highway 11 were eliminated. This shortened the highway's length by 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) and removed the 7.2-kilometre (4.5 mi) concurrency with Highway 27.[5] The current length of the highway is 116.7 kilometres (72.5 mi).[1]

Highway 26 between Owen Sound and Meaford in the west is not as highly travelled as the tourist areas to the east.[1] From Meaford eastwards, the highway runs along the Georgian Bay shoreline, and in The Blue Mountains, extending from Thornbury eastwards through to the west limits of Collingwood. It passes through a nearly continuous corridor of low-density resort-style residential developments, mostly concentrated in the Blue Mountain Resort area. Between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, the highway is a four-lane divided roadway with roundabouts transitioning to the undivided sections at both ends: one at Mosely Street in Wasaga Beach, and the other at Poplar Sideroad in Collingwood.[4]

It is also not a very straight route, as the highway makes four 90 degree turns: three at signalised intersections, including at High Street in western Collingwood, Hume Street in eastern Collingwood, the intersection with Simcoe Roads 91 and 42 in Stayner, and the unsignalised junction with Simcoe Road 27 (formerly Highway 27) north of Barrie.[4]

Several portions of Highway 26 are maintained under a Connecting Link agreement. Within Owen Sound, Meaford, Thornbury, Collingwood, Stayner and Barrie, maintenance of the route is shared between the MTO and the local municipality.[6]

History[edit]

The Highway 26 bypass between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach

Highway 26 was first assumed by the Department of Highways on July 2, 1927,[2] along an existing trunk route between Barrie and Owen Sound.[7] It began at a shared terminus with Highway 6 and Highway 10 in downtown Owen Sound, at the present intersection of 2nd Avenue East and 10th Street, and travelled 120.3 kilometres (74.8 mi) to Highway 11 in Barrie, at the intersection of Bayfield Street and Dunlop Street.[8][9]

When it was established, the route was paved between Meaford and Thornbury, as well as for approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Owen Sound through Woodford; the remainder was gravel-surfaced.[10][11] The gap between Woodford and Meaford was paved in 1930,[12] followed by the section from the current intersection of Simcoe County Road 53 (Wilson Drive) east to Midhurst and south to Highway 11 in Barrie in 1931.[13][14] In 1932, the section from the Grey and Simcoe County boundary (at Simcoe County Road 34 / Grey County Road 21) to Stayner was paved.[15][14] Due to the lack of resource available at the height of the depression, a 3-metre (10 ft)-wide pavement (one lane) was constructed approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east from Stayner to the present intersection of Simcoe County Road 22 (Horseshoe Valley Road West).[16] The gap between there, through Minesing, to Simcoe County Road 53 was paved with a single lane in 1934. That year also aw the section between Thornbury and the Simcoe–Grey County line paved, completing a continuous pavement between Owen Sound and Barrie.[17] The second lane of pavement between Stayner and west of Midhurst was completed over a decade later, in 1947.[citation needed]

Construction of the bypass at the Mosley Street roundabout in Wasaga Beach in July 2012
The roundabout in 2017

Since then, the route has remained almost unchanged, except in the Collingwood and Barrie areas. Prior to the completion of the Pretty River Parkway in Collingwood in the mid-1970s,[18][19] 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 the terminus of Highway 24 at First Street, where Highway 26 makes a 90 degree left turn (west) onto First Street, continuing on the present route.[20] 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 2003, Pretty River Parkway was widened to four lanes to match the existing sections of Huron and First Streets.

In 2001, the Georgian Triangle Area Transportation Study determined that traffic levels along Highway 26 both east and west of Collingwood were exceeding capacity. The Simcoe Area Transportation Network Needs Assessment repeated this analysis the following year.[21] Subsequently, work on a new bypass east of Collingwood began on April 11, 2003.[22] The old route was a dangerous section of road with numerous intersecting side streets and private residences with direct highway entrances, while the bypass is designed to be a fully-controlled access four-lane divided highway without any at-grade crossings.[citation needed] The new alignment has the highway veer west in the west end of Wasaga Beach, and from a roundabout with Mosley Street it runs parallel to and south of the old route to a roundabout at Poplar Sideroad, near the eastern town limits of Collingwood. The bypass opened on November 14, 2012.[23] The former route is now known as Beachwood Road from Collingwood to Mosley Street in Wasaga Beach. The remaining section of the former alignment south of Mosley Street has been renamed Lyons Court.[24]

Within Barrie, a portion of Highway 26 was transferred to the city in 1998, truncating it at Highway 400. This former portion is now known simply as Bayfield Street.[25]

Major intersections[edit]

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 26, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1] 

DivisionLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
GreyOwen Sound0.00.0  Highway 6 / Highway 10 south /   Highway 6 / Highway 21 westBeginning of Owen Sound Connecting Link agreement
1.71.114th AvenueEnd of Owen Sound Connecting Link agreement
Meaford26.7–
30.0
16.6–
18.6
Meaford Connecting Link agreement
Thornbury39.824.7Peel StreetBeginning of Thornbury Connecting Link agreement
42.126.2End of Thornbury Connecting Link agreement
Craigleith52.332.5Grey Road 19 sign.png County Road 19
Grey-Simcoe boundaryThe Blue MountainsClearview boundary55.034.2Grey Road 21 sign.pngSimcoe Road 34 sign.png County Road 21 / Simcoe County Road 34 (Osler Bluff Road) /
Long Point Road
Beginning of Collingwood Connecting Link agreement
Simcoe
Collingwood62.238.6Hurontario Street (To Simcoe Road 124 sign.png County Road 124)Formerly Highway 24
66.541.3Poplar SideroadEnd of Collingwood Connecting Link agreement;
Beginning of 4-lane divided highway
Wasaga Beach72.244.9Mosley Street / Nottawasaga 33/34 SideroadEnd of 4-lane divided highway;
Mosley Street was formerly Highway 92 east of the former alignment of Highway 26; now Beachwood Road
Stayner75.747.0Community boundary; Beginning of Stayner Connecting Link agreement
Simcoe Road 91 sign.png County Road 91 – west / King Street South – southFormerly Highway 91; King Street leads south to Simcoe Road 42 sign.png Airport Road
78.248.6Mowat StreetEnd of Stayner Connecting Link agreement
Sunnidale Corners86.753.9Simcoe Road 10 sign.png County Road 10 (Sunnidale Road)
Springwater99.261.6Simcoe Road 22 sign.png County Road 22 (Horseshoe Valley Road ) – east Horseshoe Valley
Midhurst110.868.8Simcoe Road 27 sign.png County Road 27 – northFormerly concurrent with Highway 27 into Barrie
Barrie114.271.0Northern city limits; Beginning of Barrie Connecting Link agreement
116.772.5 Highway 400End of Highway 26
117.973.3 Highway 11 (Dunlop Street)Former terminus of Highway 26;[26] Connecting Link agreement repealed in 1997
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2016). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Appendix 6 - Schedule of Assumptions and Reversions of Sections". Annual Report (Report) (1926 and 1927 ed.). Department of Highways. March 1, 1929. pp. 59–60. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Westoll, Nick (July 13, 2018). "Road trip Ontario: Collingwood region ideal spot for those who want active getaway". Global News. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Google (November 12, 2021). "Highway 26 – Length and Route" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (April 1997). Provincial Highways Distance Table (PDF). Government of Ontario. pp. 51–52. ISSN 0825-5350. Retrieved November 12, 2021 – via Ontario Legislative Assembly.
  6. ^ Connecting Links Program 2021-22 Guide (PDF) (Report). Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. August 2020. p. 12. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Ontario Department of Public Highways. 1927. §§ E–F4. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  8. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Ontario Department of Public Highways. 1928. Mileage Tables, Barrie, Owen Sound inset. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  9. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Ontario Department of Public Highways. 1928. §§ E–F4. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  10. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Department of Public Highways. 1927. § E–F4. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  11. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Department of Public Highways. 1928. § E–F4. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  12. ^ "Pavement Operations During 1930". Annual Reports (Report) (1930 and 1931 ed.). Department of Highways. October 24, 1932. p. 31. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ "Pavement Operations During 1931". Annual Reports (Report) (1930 and 1931 ed.). Department of Highways. October 24, 1932. p. 34. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ a b Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by D. Barclay. Department of Public Highways. 1932–33. § J6–L7. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  15. ^ "Pavement Construction in 1932". Annual Reports (Report) (1932 ed.). Department of Highways. March 5, 1934. p. 24. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  16. ^ "1933 Construction Operations". Annual Reports (Report) (1933 and 1934 ed.). Department of Highways. March 18, 1935. p. 23. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  17. ^ "1934—Construction by Residencies". Annual Reports (Report) (1933 and 1934 ed.). Department of Highways. March 18, 1935. p. 99. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  18. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1974. § H21. Retrieved December 7, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  19. ^ Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section, Surveys and Plans Office. Ontario Department of Public Highways. 1977. §§ F–G22. Retrieved December 7, 2021 – via Archives of Ontario.
  20. ^ Collingwood, Ontario. Map Sheet 041 A/08 (Map) (1 ed.). 1:63,360. Cartography by Geographical Section. Department of National Defence. 1941. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  21. ^ Bowe, Raymond (August 1, 2003). "Residents get a feel for highway route". Enterprise - Bulletin. p. 3.
  22. ^ Punch, Rachel (April 15, 2003). "Hwy. 26 alignment gets underway". Enterprise - Bulletin. p. 1.
  23. ^ Gennings, Michael (November 15, 2012). "New Section of Highway 26 Open". Metroland Media. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  24. ^ Google (November 20, 2021). "Former Route of Highway 26 Between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  25. ^ Google (November 20, 2021). "Former Route of Highway 26 into downtown Barrie" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  26. ^ Provincial Highways Distance Table. Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. 1989. pp. 76–77. ISSN 0825-5350.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is not from Wikidata