Toronto Focus Page...

Map created by James Alcock. Highway symbols (c) Christopher Bessert, all rights reserved.

Toronto is part of an elite group of North American cities that maintains a system of freeways and expressways at the municipal or county level. Although officially called “controlled access arterial roads” by the City of Toronto Roads Department, there are several highways in Toronto that meet the definition of “at-grade expressway.” The term “expressway” is used in most of the United States, as well as in some Canadian provinces, to signify a partially limited-access highway that has some at-grade intersections. Because the routes are limited access, the owners of private property next to the highway do not have the right to driveway access on the highway. One feature of the at-grade expressways in Toronto is that bus routes do not travel on them. The only exception to this general rule is Kingston Rd, which does have buses on it.


Allen Road:
The northern section of Allen Road in Toronto, from Wilson Avenue to Dufferin Street, is an expressway. The southern section is a freeway. The expressway segment has a speed limit of 70 km/h (45 mph), and the freeway segment has a speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The expressway portion of Allen Road was completed in 1982.

Pictures: (click here)


Black Creek Drive:
Black Creek Drive in Toronto serves as a 4-lane expressway continuation of the Hwy 400 freeway towards downtown. Although most of the highway was built by the province, it has been maintained by the city ever since construction was completed. Metro Toronto was responsible for both the construction and maintenance of the expressway from Eglinton Ave to its southern end at Weston Rd. The expressway, which has a speed limit of 70 km/h (45 mph), currently has traffic lights at its at-grade intersections. However, the right of way already exists to add interchanges in the future. The plan “Get Toronto Moving” proposes upgrading Black Creek Drive to a full freeway called Black Creek Parkway. This plan to provide multimodal transportation improvements in Toronto is currently not the official plan of the city of Toronto, but is supported by the CAA and many strong business interests. This plan, which proposes to end congestion in Toronto through a mix of new highways, transit improvements, and a large system of bikeways, may be adopted by the city of Toronto if it gets enough support. In my opinion, it will provide for a much better plan for the city with more varied transportation choices. More information is available here.


Date History
1979 construction began
1982 construction complete

Junction Log:

Junction Type of Access
Jane St interchange. This is the end of the Hwy 400 freeway
Maple Leaf Dr underpass
Queen’s Dr underpass
Lawrence Ave signal. There is land for an interchange here.
Trethewey Dr signal
Industry St signal
Eglinton Ave signal. There is land for an interchange here.
Photography Dr signal
Weston Rd signal

Pictures: (click here)



Kingston Road:
Kingston Rd is an expressway on the east side of Toronto, running from Danforth Ave (Highway 5) to Highway 2A, a short freeway that connects to the 401 freeway. It is Canada’s oldest expressway, and served as part of the main highway from Toronto to Montreal. This highway, known as Highway 2, was the first highway built to go right across the Province of Ontario from The US border at Windsor to the Quebec provincial border near Montreal. This status lasted until the 401 freeway was built in the 1950’s. Today, Kingston Road is a six-lane divided signalized highway with a speed limit of 60 km/h (37 mph), serving as the connector between downtown Toronto and Scarborough.


Date History
1936 Kingston Rd. opens as a four-lane divided expressway, the first in Canada
1950's The opening of the 401 freeway diverts inter-regional traffic away from Kingston Rd.
1976 The Kingston Rd. expressway is widened to six lanes.

Junction Log:
The only interchanges on Kingston Rd are at the western end (Danforth Avenue) and the eastern end (Highway 2A). Between the two interchanges, there are several traffic signals.

Pictures: (click here for historic pictures)

Pictures: (click here for modern pictures)



Lake Shore Boulevard:
Lake Shore Boulevard is a 6-lane divided expressway with a speed limit of 60 km/h (37 mph). Most of the highway runs underneath the elevated Gardiner Expressway freeway, in downtown Toronto. Lake Shore Boulevard also extends east past the end of the Gardiner Expressway, but not as far east as it needs to extend. According to transportation planner James Alcock,

“There is a gap between the east end of Lake Shore Boulevard and the western end of Kingston Road that should be linked up. They are connected, but unfortunately, by a rather narrow local road portion that presents a major bottleneck. This is an older built-up area and there is no room to widen the road to link up the expressways. Various attempts to do this in the past, in the form of an eastern extension of the Gardiner Expressway freeway, have met with stiff local opposition. An eastern extension of this freeway to connect to Kingston Road, built out in Lake Ontario, is being looked at instead.”

Pictures: (click here)



Markham Road:
Markham Road, part of Highway 48, is a 6-lane divided expressway that runs north from the Highway 401 freeway. The speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph).

Pictures: (click here)



Highway 27:
Hwy 27 is a municipally maintained expressway northwest of Toronto, traveling north from the Hwy 427 freeway at exit 350. The speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph) from 401 to Belfield Road and 70 km/h (45 mph) from Belfield Road to beyond the northern Toronto boundary.

Junction Log:
There is a grade-separated interchange with Dixon Road, which is the first junction north of Highway 401. Grade-separated ramps provide access to the Woodbine Race Track also. The rest of the intersections north from Belfield Road are signalized.

Pictures: (click here)



Overview of Toronto’s Municipal Freeways:
The Gardiner Expressway freeway is a Municipal eastern extension of the Province's Queen Elizabeth Way running along the north shore of Lake Ontario from Highway 427 to just east of the Don Valley Parkway. The eastern half of the freeway, which passes through downtown Toronto, is elevated above Lake Shore Boulevard. A proposed eastern extension to connect with Highway 401, known as the Scarborough Expressway, was shelved in the 1970's, even though much of the land for it was acquired by the city.

The Don Valley Parkway is a southern Municipal extension of the Province's Highway 404 running through the beautiful Don River valley connecting Highway 401 with the Gardiner Expressway on the lake shore.

Highway 2A is a short former Provincial freeway, now a Muncipal freeway, which connects Kingston Road with the Highway 401 freeway. It was meant to be the eastern terminus of a proposed extension of the Gardiner Expressway freeway, known as the Scarborough Expressway.

The Allen Road from north of Wilson Avenue south to Eglinton Avenue West is the only completed portion of Toronto's former Spadina Expressway. It was intended to run south into downtown Toronto, but a massive protest against the extension resulted in the cancellation of further construction in June 1971. The freeway, now only 2.5 miles (5 km) in length, was stopped at Eglinton Avenue West. There has been no further freeway construction within Toronto since then. The name of this route was changed from Spadina Expressway to Allen Expressway in 1969 and then to Allen Road, to reflect its truncated status, in 1980. The northern extension as an expressway was built in 1982.

Pictures: (click here)


James Alcock is the author of this page.

Last Updated: 1/17/05

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