Ontario Trans-Canada Highway information



Trans-Canada Highway, near Heyden

Why Visit Ontario?

Ontario is Canada's most populous province, it has fast-paced urban areas in the South around the Golden Horseshoe, along the 401, and in the Ottawa Valley. These present great architecture, interesting history, great shopping, and a variety of dining experiences. It " has amazing natural areas, including the many shores of Lake Huron, the Kawartha, Muskoka, and Rideau cottages areas close to the cities, and then there's the rugged North, defined as anything north of the French River 9with Algonquin Park thrown in).

Here is the route of the Trans-Canada Highway from east to west:

Parliament Hill in Ottawa After crossing from Quebec, the highway winds up the fertile and wide Ottawa Valley until it reaches Ottawa, Canada's capital. Originally called "Bytown," and located where the Ottawa River is joined by the Rideau and the Gatineau rivers, the city has many stone buildings dating back before Confederation (1867). Ottawa is " an endpoint of the Rideau Canal, a magnet for small boaters.

Mattawa Railway Bridge, over Ottawa River The Trans-Canada Highway continues up the Ottawa River along the original fur-trading route through pretty valley towns like Arnprior, Pembroke and Petawawa, to Mattawa.

At Mattawa the highway ventures west through rugged and hilly Canadian Shield along a voyageur route, for the next 1640 km to Manitoba. North Bay, on the eastern end of beautiful Lake Nipissing, was important to early French fur traders, is " where the Trans-Canada Highway splits.

The main route takes you west through Sudbury, which is the nickel capital of the world, because of its fortunate location at an ancient meteor crater.

Southern Ontario's Trans-Canada route through the South

Southern Ontario Road Map Itineraries along the Trans-Canada:

Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury Sudbury to Mattawa Itinerary Mattawa to Ottawa Itinerary Ottawa to Montreal, Quebec To/From Toronto Itineraries
Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior

The highway continues west along the North Channel above Manitoulin Island (the largest island in a lake in the world), to Sault Ste Marie (the "Soo"). Sault Ste Marie is a rare city, in that it has populations on both sides of the International border and locals tend to go over the bridge as if it was any other to take advantage of bar hours or shopping deals.

Terry Fox memorial, just east of Thunder Bay, along the TCH
From there, the Trans-Canada heads north through the Algoma wilderness, the scene of many Group of Seven paintings, and then at Wawa begins the route west along the northern shore of Lake Superior, one of Canada's great drives, past company towns like Marathon and Terrace Bay. The "northern" route takes you through Hearst and most rugged portion of the Canadian Shield.

Kenora, view from Lake Of The Woods
The two routes link up at Thunder Bay, at the western end of Lake Superior and again at Kenora, in the middle of Ontario's "Lake Country." Both routes offer spectacular wilderness scenery, though you should pay strict attention to road conditions and "last gas" signs (gas stations, like towns, are every 60 to 100 miles). Exercise caution from Vermillion Bay west to Kenora because of its sharp curves and non-existent shoulders. " watch out for "surprise" traffic lights in Thunder Bay and Kenora, if not taking the "bypass" expressway.

Ottawa is the largest city on the Ontario portion of the Trans-Canada, with North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay much smaller.

Nothern Ontario's Trans-Canada route through the North

Northern Ontario Road Map Itineraries along the Trans-Canada:

Winnipeg, MB to Kenora Kenora to Ignace Itinerary Ignace to Thunder Bay Itinerary Thunder Bay to Marathon Marathon to Wawa Itinerary Wawa to Sault Ste Marie Itinerary

History of the Trans-Canada in Ontario

Is Toronto on the Trans-Canada?

Island Airport with City View Contrary to popular belief, Canada's largest city Toronto is NOT on the Trans-Canada, but is 80 miles (128 km) west of Peterborough, on the "southwest" route, which runs from Ottawa through Peterborough, which is the heart of Ontario's "Cottage Country," and then north through Parry Sound to Sudbury.

401 heading east at Night, at Keele Street The highway that runs through toronto is the 401 Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, which connects Detroit, Michigan & Windsor, Ontario with Toronto and the "Golden Horseshoe" region, and continues eastwards to Montreal (where the highway numbering changes) and on to Quebec City.

Fortunately, we have detailed itineraries to get travellers to Toronto, or Torontonians to the Trans-Canada! More about getting to the Trans-Canada Highway from Toronto, and lots of information for Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area ("the GTA")

Along the 401, the Macdonald Cartier Freeway (NOT the Trans-Canada!)

This highway connects Detroit & Windsor (even better once the new Gordie Howe International Bridge is completed and opened) with industrial Central Ontario, and with Montreal and the Trans-Canada Highway east of that great port city. This highway was built in the mid 1960s

The Ontario heartland has a number of automotive manufacturing plants and assembly contractor, including Fiat Chrysler (Brampton, Windsor), General Motors (Oshawa, Ingersoll), Ford (Oakville), Honda (Alliston), Toyota (Cambridge, Woodstock). Toronto itself is also head office to many of the country's major banks and retail brands, and many other manufacturers. When it was amalgamated into a single city absorbed Etobicoke (to the west), Scarborough (to the east), and North York (to the north) which despite amalgamation -- and decades after it -- still have unique personalities, shopping, cultural and ethnic variations.

The Greater Toronto Area (or "GTA") which encompasses Mississauga & Brampton to the city's west, York Region to the city's north (extending up to Barrie), and Durham Region to the city's east, clustered around Oshawa.

The 401 continues east along Lake Ontario, with the Kawartha and Halliburton cottage areas, and continuing east along the north shore of Lake Ontario to pass by Trenton (home to CFB Trenton) and Belleville, with Quinte Island /Price Edward County and its wine country to the south of the 401, and continuing east to Kingston before passing the St Lawrence Seaway and several international bridges to New York State.

Some Useful Links

Ontario Speedtraps Large Roadside Attractions Trans-Canada Trail Gas Prices

Trans-Canada Highway Website Features:

Provinces with the Trans-Canada Highway Province Cities along the Trans-Canada Highway City Town along the Trans-Canada Highway Town History Transcanada Highway Hisory Itinerary Trans-Canada Highway Ferries Ferry Trans-Canada Highway Ferries Tour

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on "+" or "-" to zoom in or out. "Satellite" combines map & photo.


Ontario Highway Features & Points of Interest

Cities to Visit

Here are some featured Ontario cities & towns along or near the Trans Canada Highway:

Kitchener-Waterloo Travel informationKitchener-Waterloo Travel information

ON: Kitchener-Waterloo is located in the heartland of Southern Ontario, also called Canada^s Technology Triangle

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Pembroke, Ontario Travel InformationPembroke, Ontario Travel Information

ON: Pembroke is the largest in the Upper Ottawa Valley, once surrounded by forests, and was a centre of the timber trade. Pembroke was the first community in Canada with electric street lights powered by the adjacent the hydro-electric plant

More info...

Mattawa, Ontario Travel InformationMattawa, Ontario Travel Information

ON: This 3,000 resident community lies at the junction of the Ottawa and the Mattawa rivers. The name is the Ojibway phrase for \meeting of the waters.\

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Sault Ste Marie, Ontario Travel InformationSault Ste Marie, Ontario Travel Information

ON: Sault Ste Marie (pronounced \sue saint marie\) is on the St Mary;s River between the two largest Great Lakes: Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

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Oshawa, Ontario Travel InformationOshawa, Ontario Travel Information

ON: Located on the Kingston Road, by the mid 1800s the community attracted farming implement and carriage works, which became auto assembly for Buick and the Chevrolet and became General Motors Canada.

More info...

Routes & Itineraries

Here are some featured itineraries of Ontario segments of the Trans Canada Highway:

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Ontario Provincial Info  Click to expand this menu