History of King's Highway 17B (Ottawa):
Ottawa's Highway 17B Business Route was established in 1966, once the new Ottawa Queensway was completed across the City of Ottawa. The Ottawa Queensway was built as part of a multi-year freeway construction project to relieve traffic congestion on the urban section of Highway 17 through Ottawa. As various sections of the Ottawa Queensway were completed between 1960 and 1966, the route of Highway 17 was gradually relocated onto the new freeway. The final construction phase of the Ottawa Queensway was completed and opened to traffic on October 28, 1966 between Concord Street and the Hurdman Bridge over the Rideau River. After that time, the route of Highway 17 was signed continuously along the Ottawa Queensway between the Montreal Road Interchange in Gloucester Township and the Pinecrest Road Interchange located at the western entrance to the City of Ottawa.
Portions of the former Highway 17 route through the City of Ottawa and the nearby City of Eastview became Highway 17B in 1966. The route of Highway 17B first appeared on the 1967 Edition of the Official Road Map of Ontario. The highway's route began at the Ottawa Queensway Interchange at Montreal Road in Gloucester Township and followed Montreal Road, Rideau Street, Wellington Street and Richmond Road through Eastview and Ottawa. Highway 17B reconnected with Highway 17 at the intersection of Carling Avenue, Richmond Road and Pinecrest Road at the western entrance to the City of Ottawa (See Map). Initially, the route of Highway 17B was approximately 13 1/2 miles (22 km) in length. The vast majority of Highway 17B was under municipal jurisdiction. The only section of the highway that was still administered by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) by 1966 was the section that followed Montreal Road in Gloucester Township. This provincially-owned section extended from the eastern limits of the City of Ottawa at Skead Road (today's Blair Road) easterly for about 2 miles to the Ottawa Queensway Interchange (the new route of Highway 17). Jurisdiction over this section of Highway 17B was transferred from the DHO to the newly-formed Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton following its creation in 1969.
It is believed that the route of Highway 17B was signed locally by the municipalities, as the Ottawa route of Highway 17B was not identified in any of the DHO's highway mileage tables. It is also believed that this highway was not covered by a formal Municipal Connecting Link agreement. Curiously, the route of Highway 17B through Ottawa disappeared entirely from the Official Road Map of Ontario starting in 1970. The route of Highway 17B made a reappearance on the 1977 Edition of the Official Road Map of Ontario, but with a slightly amended route. Rather than follow Wellington Street all the way into Downtown Ottawa as was the case from 1967-1970, Highway 17B turned north from Wellington Street at Churchill Avenue and followed Scott Street easterly towards downtown. The amended route of Highway 17B rejoined Wellington Street at a point west of Bronson Avenue. Highway 17B was also extended westerly from its former western terminus at Old Highway 17 (Pinecrest Road) to the Ottawa Queensway at the Richmond Road Interchange (See Map).
The route of Highway 17B was amended yet again in the early 1980s, when the highway's route was changed to follow Richmond Road, Carling Avenue and Bronson Avenue on the western approach to Downtown Ottawa. Highway 17B then followed a one-way street system through the downtown area. As illustrated on the 1982-1983 Edition of the Official Road Map of Ontario, the eastbound route of Highway 17B followed Chamberlain Avenue east from Bronson Avenue. The highway then turned north into Downtown Ottawa via Elgin Street where the eastbound route rejoined the westbound route at Wellington Street. The westbound route began at Elgin Street and continued west via Wellington Street to O'Connor Street, where Highway 17B turned south. At Catherine Street, Highway 17B turned west from O'Connor Street to Bronson Avenue. At Bronson Avenue, the westbound route of Highway 17B turned south from Catherine Street and rejoined the eastbound route of Highway 17B at the intersection of Bronson Avenue and Chamberlain Avenue (See Map). The eastbound route of Highway 17B through Downtown Ottawa was modified a couple of years later. Rather than follow Elgin Street, eastbound Highway 17B turned north onto Kent Street from Chamberlain Avenue and followed Kent Street into Downtown Ottawa. At Wellington Street, the eastbound route of Highway 17B turned east and followed Wellington Street to O'Connor Street where it rejoined the westbound route of Highway 17B. Although the eastbound route of Highway 17B was altered, the westbound route of Highway 17B via O'Connor Street remained unchanged. A one-way street system was also introduced in the vicinity of the Rideau Centre near Nicholas Street. These changes to the route of Highway 17B were first illustrated on the 1984-1985 Edition of the Official Road Map of Ontario (See Map).
Ottawa's Highway 17B route was last shown on the 1996 Edition of the Official Road Map of Ontario, which suggests that the city's maintenance of the signed Highway 17B route likely ceased in 1997. This date is more or less consistent with the suspension of several other signed "B" Business Routes across Ontario. At least one Highway 17B route marker (the one depicted above) was still in place on O'Connor Street as recently as 2005. However, since the route of Highway 17B was being signed exclusively by the municipality, it is unclear exactly when the route signing was discontinued.