Hwy 20A Hwy 20A Hwy 20A   

Ontario Highway 20A (Hamilton) Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1932-1937
  • Current Status: Renumbered as Hwy 53 & Hwy 55 in 1937
  • Current Names: Rymal Road, Garner Road, Upper Gage Avenue, Crockett Street & Sherman Access
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Hamilton (Wentworth)
  • Towns Served: Hamilton
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 2 - Duff's Corners
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 20 & Hwy 56 - Elfrida
  • Northern Terminus: Hwy 6 - Hamilton
  • Length in 1937: 27.3 km / 17.0 miles
King's Highway 20A Sign
Image courtesy of Jamie Malecki

History of King's Highway 20A (Hamilton):

There have been four different routes in Ontario numbered as King's Highway 20A. This section of Highway 20A was the longest of all four routes. It ran along Hamilton Mountain from Elfrida to Duff's Corners. A branch of this highway also extended into Downtown Hamilton. The route was sometimes referred to as the Upper Mountain Highway, since it enabled through traffic arriving in Hamilton on Highway 2 and Highway 20 to bypass Downtown Hamilton completely by keeping this traffic south of the Niagara Escarpment. Three other discontinuous sections of Highway 20A existed south of Bismarck, north of Stoney Creek and south of Thorold.

This route of Highway 20A was created when a section of Highway 20 was rerouted between Hamilton and Stoney Creek. Originally, Highway 20 entered Downtown Hamilton from Elfrida, via Rymal Road and Upper Gage Avenue. Shortly after Highway 20 was designated in 1930, plans were drawn up to reroute the highway from Elfrida northerly to the Highway 8 and Highway 8A Junction in Stoney Creek. The new proposed route for Highway 20 would descend the Niagara Escarpment through a new mountain access point at Stoney Creek, thereby allowing through traffic to bypass Downtown Hamilton altogether. Construction began on the new mountain access point in 1931. This work included the construction of a grade separation over the railway line at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment. When the new Stoney Creek Cut was completed in 1932, the old route of Highway 20 from Elfrida into Downtown Hamilton was renumbered as Highway 20A.

In 1933, a new section of Highway 20A was established between Long's Corners (Rymal Road and Upper Gage Avenue) and Highway 2 at Duff's Corners west of Ancaster. This new spur highway was designated so that Niagara-bound traffic from London and Brantford would no longer have to pass through Downtown Hamilton to access Highway 20. The assumption of the Long's Corners-Duff's Corners road took place on September 6, 1933. The spur road was paved from Long's Corners to the Highway 6 Junction at Ryckman's Corners in 1933, and from Ryckman's Corners to the Highway 2 Junction at Duff's Corners in 1934.

Unfortunately, the Department of Highways' decision to designate this spur road from Long's Corners to Duff's Corners as Highway 20A caused a great deal of confusion amongst the motoring public. Motorists who were unfamiliar with the road layout in the Hamilton area got a surprise when they found that the highway forked into two roads at Long's Corners, and both of those roads were marked as Highway 20A. The situation was finally rectified in 1937, when a route renumbering in the area replaced the ambiguous Highway 20A routes. The north-south section of Highway 20A running along Upper Gage Avenue from Downtown Hamilton to Long's Corners was redesignated as Highway 55. The east-west portion of the Upper Mountain Highway was renumbered as Highway 53. This renumbering extended the existing route of Highway 53, which ran from Woodstock to Brantford. The replacement of the Highway 20A designation with the Highway 53 designation greatly improved the highway numbering logic in the area. The new designation ensured that a motorist heading to Niagara Falls would only have to follow that one highway number once east of Woodstock in order to locate Highway 20. The original purpose of the Upper Mountain Highway was to keep Niagara-bound traffic from London and Brantford out of Downtown Hamilton. The new Highway 53 designation helped to achieve this goal.


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