History of King's Highway 118:
King's Highway 118 is a major collector highway which runs directly across Central Ontario, from Highway 11 in Bracebridge to Highway 28 at Paudash. However, the original route of Highway 118 was very different to the route that the highway follows today. The route of Highway 118 has also gotten progressively longer over the years, as the highway has been extended over the past four decades.
The history of Highway 118 dates back to November 1955, when the Ontario Department of Highways (DHO) assumed two sections of road which became Highway 118. The first section of road to be designated as Highway 118 was the Bracebridge-Dorset Road on November 16th, 1955. One week later, on November 23rd, the DHO assumed another section of road which ran from Highway 69 (later known as Highway 169) at Glen Orchard to Highway 11 in Bracebridge. Highway 118 followed the route of Highway 11 for a distance of approximately 4 km. The new route of Highway 118 was 86 km in length. The highway was fully paved prior to being assumed as a King's Highway. In 1974, the eastern portion of Highway 118 from Bracebridge to Dorset was renumbered as Highway 117. This shortened the length of Highway 118 to only 34 km.
In the 1970s, a new county road was opened between Bracebridge and Carnarvon. This strategic county road formed the only direct east-west road link between Highway 35 in Haliburton County and Highway 11 in the District of Muskoka. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation eventually took over ownership of the county road and upgraded the route to King's Highway standards. This county road, formerly known as Haliburton Road 1 and Muskoka Road 4, was designated as a part of Highway 118 on November 27, 1981. In addition, portions of Secondary Highway 519 and Secondary Highway 530 between Carnarvon and Haliburton Village were also incorporated into Highway 118. Following the 1981 extension, Highway 118's length stood at 113 km. The new highway ran from Highway 169 in Glen Orchard to Highway 121 in Haliburton Village.
The exact route of Highway 118 through Bracebridge from 1974 until 1998 is not particularly clear. The highway originally entered into Bracebridge along Monck Road. At Manitoba Street, Highway 118 turned south into Downtown Bracebridge. Highway 118 resumed its route east along Taylor Road, where it joined Highway 11 a short distance east of Downtown Bracebridge. When the east leg of Highway 118 was renumbered as Highway 117, it threw the route of Highway 118 through Bracebridge into limbo. Some Official Ontario Road Maps from the 1970s and 1980s indicate that Highway 118 was signed along Wellington Street and Ecclestone Drive (Muskoka Road), while others indicate that the route simply ended at Manitoba Street in Downtown Bracebridge. A few of the maps indicate that Highway 118 continued to connect to Highway 11 via Taylor Road, as was the case prior to 1974. When the Wellington Street Bridge was completed across the Muskoka River in 1983, it provided a new route for Highway 118 traffic to follow through Bracebridge. It is believed that the route of Highway 118 followed the Wellington Street Extension and Ecclestone Drive from the time the new bridge was completed in 1983 up until 1998, but this has not yet been confirmed. Apparently, the route of Highway 118 through Bracebridge was a municipally-signed connecting link, which makes it difficult to determine what the "official" route of the highway actually was.
On January 1, 1998, the portion of Highway 118 from the Highway 11 Junction to Highway 169 in Glen Orchard was downloaded. This former section of Highway 118 is now officially known as Muskoka District Road 118, although the road is still commonly referred to as "Highway 118" by motorists. The route of Highway 118 was extended once again in 2003, when the route of Highway 121 between Haliburton Village and Paudash was renumbered as Highway 118. The route renumbering, which officially took place on May 1, 2003, extended the length of Highway 118 to 128 km.
Highway 118 is a rather remote two-lane highway for its entire length. Services are rather scarce along Highway 118 outside of large communities. The only major towns along the highway are Bracebridge, Carnarvon, Haliburton Village and Paudash. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 118 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Please visit the Highway 118 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 118.
Additional Information About King's Highway 118: