Ontario (Toronto bypass): between Kingston and Montreal along Ontario #401 & Quebec #20
Here is the itinerary for the 248 km from Kingston to Montreal along Ontario Highway 401, and Quebec Autoroute 20, known as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, to continue into Montreal on #40, the Trans-Canada Highway
The 206 kilometre long Rideau Canal connected Kingston and Ottawa, using the Cataraqui River from Kingston, and the Rideau River from Ottawa. Following the War of 1812-1814, England realized that it needed a protected route between Montreal in Lower Canada and York (Toronto) in Upper Canada. The canal used 47 locks and 24 dams to climb 49 metres (160 feet) above Lake Ontario, and then fall 84 metres (275 ft) back down to the Ottawa River. Today, the waterway is used primarily by recreational boaters, and passes through many quaint towns and villages, with plenty of shopping, dining and accommodation along the way.
The Thousand Islands, which actually number 1865 of them, lie in the St Lawrence for the 50 miles from the point where it drains Lake Ontario. The islands range in size from a rock sticking out of water up to Wolfe Island which is 27 miles long and 9 miles wide. They form a connection between the Canadian Shield and New York's Adirondack Mountains just south of the border. In 1904 Canada designated some of the islands as part of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park. Visitors can take tours of the islands, which are popular with sailors and boaters from Canada and the US.
In the 1950s, the US and Canadian governments created the St Lawrence Seaway, extends 3790 km inland from the Atlantic to the west end of Lake Superior. Dams created stable water levels and harnessed the St Lawrence's hydroelectric potential while fifteen locks were built to handle ocean-going freighters.
The river was key to early exploration of North America's interior, but it was a rugged waterway, punctuated with series of rapids, and at Niagara an insurmountable waterfall. Starting in 1829, small canals and locks were built for boats to bypass the rapids and the Niagara Falls, but they were massively expanded in the 1950s to handle international shipping. The largest locks and dams in this section of the Seaway are at Cornwall and at Lachine (Montreal).
Trans-Canada Highway History
Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map
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|Next West: Toronto to Kingston||Next East: Ottawa to Montreal|
Montreal to Quebec City
Ontario Highways road condition reports for this segment.