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Ontario Highway 108 (#1) Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1953-1954
  • Current Status: Decommissioned in 1954
  • Current Names: The Queensway
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: York
  • Towns Served: Toronto
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 27 - Etobicoke
  • Eastern Terminus: QEW - Toronto
  • Length in 1954: 6.4 km / 4.0 miles
King's Highway 108 Sign
Image courtesy of Jamie Malecki

History of King's Highway 108 (#1):

The first King's Highway 108 has a rather unusual and mysterious past. The history of the highway which ultimately became Highway 108 in 1953 actually dates back to the early 1930s, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed ownership over a section of road in Etobicoke Township. This road, which was essentially an extension of Toronto's Queen Street, ran from Toronto westerly to Browns Line (Highway 27). The route was first depicted on a Preliminary Route Plan dated June 1, 1931, and was formally assumed as a King's Highway by the DHO on October 7, 1931. The road was originally part of the proposed "Middle Road" highway between Toronto and Port Credit. The new highway was not initially assigned a route number. During the early 1930s, the DHO developed plans to extend the Middle Road from Port Credit to Highway 2 west of Burlington. By 1937, the Middle Road had been completed between Toronto and Burlington, and in 1939, the Middle Road was rededicated as the Queen Elizabeth Way. It was decided that a controlled-access highway diversion would be built to carry the Queen Elizabeth Way into the City of Toronto. The intention of this diversion was to separate local traffic on Queen Street in Etobicoke Township from higher speed through traffic approaching Toronto on the Queen Elizabeth Way. Construction began on the new diversion through Etobicoke Township in 1938. The diversion began where the Queen Elizabeth Way intersected Browns Line (Highway 27) and extended easterly to the Humber River, where the new route tied into Highway 2 (Lakeshore Road). The new diversion opened to traffic in 1940. The 6.4 km bypassed section of the highway via Queen Street (later Queensway) was retained in the provincial highway system after 1940, but it apparently did not have a posted route number for many years thereafter. In 1953, the Queensway was assigned the King's Highway 108 designation. The highway was very short-lived, and was decommissioned one year after the route was established. Jurisdiction over the highway was transferred from the province to the newly-formed City of Metropolitan Toronto, effective January 15, 1954. A different, unrelated Highway 108 has existed near Elliot Lake since 1957.

Strangely, the Queensway was once again taken over by the DHO in 1956, for reasons that at this point are not clear. The route of the reassumed Queensway matched the previously-designated route of Highway 108 through the former Township of Etobicoke, which had been transferred to Metro Toronto in 1954. The route of the Queensway through Etobicoke was first depicted on a Preliminary Route Plan dated September, 1956. The highway was reassumed as a King's Highway by the DHO, effective December 26, 1956. The new highway via the Queensway apparently did not have a posted route number. Provincial ownership of the Queensway ceased permanently in 1958, when jurisdiction over the highway reverted back to Metro Toronto on December 4, 1958. It is entirely possible that the Queensway was assumed by the DHO between 1956 and 1958 in order to provide a temporary alternate route to the Queen Elizabeth Way. Construction was underway on new ramp connections from the Queen Elizabeth Way to the Gardiner Expressway at the Humber River around that time. However, it has not been confirmed for certain that this was indeed the intention of the temporary assumption of the Queensway.

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