History of King's Highway 24:
King's Highway 24 is a major arterial highway through the Counties of Norfolk, Brant and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The highway links Highway 3 in Simcoe to Highway 401 in Cambridge, via Brantford. Until the late 1990s, the highway was much longer. The route once extended from Long Point on Lake Erie to Collingwood on Georgian Bay. Most sections of Highway 24 were transferred to municipalities during the hastily-executed highway downloading spree of 1997-1998, which saw thousands of kilometres of provincial highways handed over to cities, counties and other municipalities across Ontario. About 70% of Highway 24 was downloaded. The highway was over 250 km in length prior to 1997, but is only 75 km in length today.
The history of Highway 24 dates back to the late 1920s, when the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) established a new Provincial Highway which connected Simcoe to Guelph via Waterford, Brantford, Paris and Galt (See Map). Preliminary Route Plans were prepared in June, 1927, showing the proposed route of the new Provincial Highway through Norfolk, Brant, Waterloo and Wellington Counties. The entire highway from Simcoe to Guelph was assumed by the DPHO on July 2, 1927. The new highway began at Highway 3 in Simcoe and ran northerly to connect with Highway 6 in Guelph. Sections of the road passing through Waterford, Brantford, Paris, Galt, Hespeler and Guelph were not assumed by the DPHO and thus those sections of the route remained under municipal jurisdiction. The new route between Simcoe and Guelph was designated as Provincial Highway 24. The new highway was 95 km (59 miles) in length, including the municipally-owned sections within towns. Between Paris and Brantford, Highway 24 was signed concurrently with Highway 2 for a distance of 11 km. Provincial Highway 24 was re-designated as King's Highway 24 in 1930.
During the 1930s, several major changes were made to the route of Highway 24. In 1930, a new route for Highway 24 was established between Brantford and Galt (See Map). A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated April 2, 1930, showing the proposed relocation of the route of Highway 24 in Brant and Waterloo Counties. The DPHO assumed the new highway between Brantford and Galt on June 4, 1930. The new Highway 24 route was 7 km shorter than the original highway route between the two cities via Paris. The old route of Highway 24 between Paris and Galt was renumbered as Highway 24A. The concurrent routing of Highway 2 and Highway 24 between Brantford and Paris was discontinued as well during 1930. In 1936, Highway 24 was extended south from the Highway 3 Junction in Simcoe to the Highway 6 Junction in Port Dover. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated May 15, 1936, showing the proposed route of the new Highway 24 Extension between Simcoe and Port Dover in Norfolk County. The Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed the new highway between Simcoe and Port Dover on September 9, 1936. The section of the road passing through Simcoe was not assumed by the DHO. The extension to Port Dover added another 15 km (9 miles) to the length of Highway 24 (See Map).
In 1937-1938, Highway 24 was extended north from Guelph to Collingwood (See Map). This massive highway extension through Wellington, Peel, Dufferin, Grey and Simcoe Counties added another 142 km (88 miles) to the length of Highway 24. The new highway was assumed in several different sections over the course of approximately one year. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated March 4, 1937, showing the proposed route of the new Highway 24 Extension between Guelph and the Wellington-Peel County Boundary just east of Erin. The DHO assumed this new highway northeast of Guelph on March 31, 1937. Later in the year, two other new sections of Highway 24 were assumed between Shelburne and Collingwood. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated May 26, 1937, showed the proposed route of Highway 24 within Simcoe County, from the Singhampton area northerly to Collingwood. On June 2, 1937, a second Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DHO, showing the proposed route of Highway 24 in Dufferin County north of Shelburne. These two new sections of Highway 24 were assumed by the DHO on August 11, 1937. For a short period in late 1937 and early 1938, a gap existed in Highway 24 between the Wellington-Peel County Boundary near Erin and Shelburne. However, this situation did not last for very long. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DHO in September 1937, showing the proposed route of Highway 24 through Peel County from the Wellington-Peel County Boundary near Erin to Orangeville, via Alton. This final section of Highway 24 was assumed by the DHO on April 13, 1938. Between Orangeville and Shelburne, Highway 24 was routed concurrently with Highway 10 for a distance of 25 km, thus uniting the two discontinuous north and south sections of Highway 24. Most of the Highway 24 Extension was under the jurisdiction of the DHO, but the urban sections of the route passing through Erin, Orangeville and Collingwood were non-assumed sections of the highway which remained under the jurisdiction of the municipality. This extension of Highway 24 to Collingwood in 1937-1938 brought the total length of Highway 24 up to 230 km (143 miles).
In 1944, approximately 10 km of Highway 24 was relocated onto a new alignment between Singhampton and Duntroon. The original 1937 route of Highway 24 turned west at the Highway 91 Junction in Duntroon and then turned south towards Singhampton at the Simcoe-Grey County Boundary. On July 19, 1944, the DHO assumed a new 10 km route for Highway 24 which ran southerly from Duntroon. Just north of Glen Huron, the new Highway 24 route turned westerly, where it met the original Highway 24 alignment in Singhampton. The relocated Highway 24 route had fewer hills than the original route. The old alignment of Highway 24 was decommissioned in July 1944, when the old highway route was transferred to the Townships of Osprey and Nottawasaga. The original route of Highway 24 followed today's Simcoe Road 91 and Osprey-Clearview Line (Simcoe Road 95 & Grey Road 31).
In 1961, a route renumbering took place south of Orangeville. As originally established in the 1930s, Highway 24 ran from Erin to Orangeville via Alton. However, most traffic heading between Erin and Orangeville preferred the paved route offered by Highway 10 and Highway 51 via Caledon Village. In an effort to improve route continuity, Highway 24 was extended northeast from Coulterville to Caledon Village along the route of Highway 51. The overlapped route of Highway 10 & Highway 24 which had previously existed between Shelburne and Orangeville was continued south from Orangeville to Caledon Village, in order to provide a continuous route for Highway 24. The new route of Highway 24 via Caledon Village was actually 2 km longer than the old highway via Alton, but the new route eliminated the narrow, winding section of the highway (John Street) within the Town of Orangeville. The old route of Highway 24 via Alton was renumbered as Highway 136 in 1961 (See Map). Highway 51 was renumbered as Highway 24. The Highway 51 designation was thus retired from the provincial highway system, until that route number was utilized again in 1970 on a different highway in the Chatham area.
At the time of assumption in 1927, Highway 24 was mostly a gravel-surfaced highway. The section of Highway 2 & Highway 24 between Paris and Brantford was paved, as well as the section of Highway 24 between Galt and Hespeler. Short sections of Highway 24 immediately north of Simcoe and from Mohawk to Brantford were paved at the time of assumption. Several miles of concrete pavement were completed between Simcoe and Waterford in 1930, which completed the paved highway between Simcoe and Brantford. Nearly six miles of concrete pavement was completed on Highway 24 southwest of Galt in 1931. The balance of the highway from Galt to Paris was paved with a mixed macadam surface in 1931. A concrete pavement was completed on Highway 24 between Hespeler and Guelph in 1932, which completed the paved highway between Brantford and Guelph. The section of Highway 24 between Simcoe and Port Dover had already been paved when the DHO took over this portion of the route in 1936. When Highway 24 was extended north from Guelph to Collingwood in 1937-1938, the majority of the route was gravel-surfaced. Only the overlapped section of Highway 10 & Highway 24 between Orangeville and Shelburne was paved at that time. Highway 24 was paved between Collingwood and Nottawa in 1937. During 1938, limited paving work began on the Highway 24 Extension immediately north of Guelph and near Erin. However, the vast majority of the new Highway 24 Extension would remain gravel-surfaced until the 1950s. Some paving work was completed between Collingwood and Duntroon in 1946. A paving contract was awarded in 1950 to construct an asphalt surface on Highway 24 from the Highway 10 Junction in Shelburne northerly for approximately 7 miles. A further 11 miles of the highway was paved in 1951 in the Hornings Mills and the Duntroon areas. A 15 mile section of Highway 24 was paved south of Duntroon in 1952 and 1953, which completed paving operations between Shelburne and Collingwood. A large paving contract was completed in 1953 between Guelph and Erin, which concluded paving operations on this section of Highway 24. Paving work was completed between Erin and the Highway 51 Junction at Coulterville in 1959. The last remaining gravel-surfaced section on Highway 24 between Coulterville and Orangeville remained that way right up until that section of the route was renumbered as Highway 136. The revised route of Highway 24, via Former Highway 51 and the overlapped routing with Highway 10, was already paved at the time of the route renumbering in 1961.
Many urban sections of Highway 24 were designated as Municipal Connecting Links in the 1950s and 1960s. In Port Dover, the non-assumed section of Highway 24 lying between Walker Street (Highway 6 Junction) and Prospect Street was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated April 14, 1965. The non-assumed section of Highway 24 within the Town of Simcoe lying south of the Highway 3 Junction was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated January 15, 1959. A short section of Highway 24 from the Highway 3 Junction northerly to Davis Street in Simcoe was transferred from the province to the Town of Simcoe on December 17, 1970. Another section, from Davis Street to Thirteenth Street, was transferred to the Town of Simcoe on August 11, 1976. The entire non-assumed section of Highway 24 through Simcoe was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated February 7, 1979. The Municipal Connecting Link designation for the section of Highway 24 lying south of the Highway 3 Junction was repealed by a Minister's Order dated September 16, 1997. The Municipal Connecting Link status was retained along Highway 24 from the Highway 3 Junction northerly to Thirteenth Street. The route of Highway 24 through Brantford via Brant Avenue was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated July 17, 1958. Brantford's Municipal Connecting Link system was expanded to include St. Paul Avenue and King George Road under an Order-in-Council dated February 4, 1965. The sections of Highway 24 following Colborne Street and Mount Pleasant Street were added onto the designated Municipal Connecting Link system on March 31, 1966. The Municipal Connecting Link designation for the section of Highway 24 lying south of the Highway 403 Interchange was repealed by a Minister's Order dated September 16, 1997. The Municipal Connecting Link status of Highway 24 lying north of the Highway 403 Interchange to the Brantford City Limits at Powerline Road was retained. The route of Highway 24 via Water Street in Galt (now Cambridge) lying north of the Highway 8 Junction was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated October 29, 1959. The section of Water Street from Concession Street to Levins Street was added to Galt's Municipal Connecting Link system by an Order-in-Council dated November 9, 1960. On April 28, 1961, the entire section of Highway 24 lying between the north limits of the City of Galt and the new Highway 401 Interchange was transferred from the province over to municipal jurisdiction. On December 14, 1961, the entire route of Highway 24 through the City of Galt, including the recently-transferred section of the route lying south of the Highway 401 Interchange was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link. The section of Highway 24 through Hespeler via Queen Street and Avenue Street (today's Guelph Avenue) was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated December 17, 1959. The entire route of Highway 24 through the City of Guelph was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link in 1960. The Municipal Connecting Link designation for the section of Highway 24 lying south of the Highway 6 Interchange (Hanlon Expressway) and north of Highway 7 (Wyndham Street) was repealed by a Minister's Order, effective January 1, 1998. In Erin, the non-assumed section of Highway 24 lying between Guelph Road and the Canadian Pacific Railway crossing was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated August 18, 1960. This Municipal Connecting Link was also repealed by a Minister's Order, effective January 1, 1998. The non-assumed route of Highway 24 through Orangeville via John Street, Broadway and First Avenue was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated December 4, 1958. The non-assumed section of Highway 24 within the Town of Collingwood was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council dated September 3, 1959. This Municipal Connecting Link was also repealed by a Minister's Order, effective January 1, 1998.
A substantial relocation of Highway 24 took place during the 1960s between Brantford and Simcoe. The original route of Highway 24 between Brantford and Simcoe was narrow and meandering, and passed through a number of small communities which lined the original highway. The new Highway 24 was constructed a short distance to the west of the original highway. Initially, this route was envisioned to become an extension of Highway 24A, and was even marked as such on the 1966 Official Ontario Road Map (See Map). However, it was ultimately decided to call the new route Highway 24 rather than Highway 24A. Some sections of the route between Scotland and the Highway 53 Junction were built on a brand new alignment. The new Highway 24 between Simcoe and the Highway 53 Junction west of Brantford was completed and opened to traffic on August 18, 1967. Although slightly longer than the original highway, the new Highway 24 was considerably faster, since it bypassed all of the towns and villages along the original route of Highway 24. With the new section of Highway 24 open to traffic, the DHO sought to transfer the original route of Highway 24 to Brant and Norfolk Counties. The bypassed section of Highway 24 was transferred from the province to Brant County on April 1, 1968. The bypassed section of Old Highway 24 in Norfolk County from the Brant County Boundary to Waterford was transferred by the province to Norfolk County on October 2, 1969. The section of Old Highway 24 from Waterford to the new Highway 24 Junction north of Simcoe was transferred by the province to Norfolk County on July 12, 1969.
In 1970, Highway 24 was relocated and extended south from Simcoe to Highway 59 at Long Point. Preliminary Assumption Plans for the proposed extension of Highway 24 through Norfolk County were registered on June 5, 1970. The new 25 km route of Highway 24 to Long Point was officially designated as a King's Highway by an Order-in-Council on July 16, 1970. The old route of Highway 24 leading into Port Dover was renumbered as Highway 6 (See Map). A bypass was built for Highway 10 & Highway 24 around the eastern side of Orangeville in 1970. The old route of Highway 24 through Downtown Orangeville via Broadway and First Avenue briefly became Highway 24B. The construction of the Hespeler Bypass in the early 1990s provided instant congestion relief for a section of Highway 24 through Hespeler, which had been plagued by constant through traffic between Cambridge and Guelph. The new bypass was built as a four-lane divided expressway (See Map). The new Hespeler Bypass was completed and opened to traffic in late 1992, relieving one of the worst traffic bottlenecks along Highway 24.
The highway downloading spree of 1997-1998 hit Highway 24 particularly hard. In an attempt to reduce expenditures on highway maintenance, the provincial government sought to divest itself of highways which it deemed to serve only a local purpose. As a result, the province transferred significant sections of Highway 24 over to municipalities. In 1997-1998, all portions of Highway 24 lying south of Simcoe were downloaded, as were all portions lying north of the Highway 401 Interchange in Cambridge. The southernmost section of Highway 24 from Simcoe southerly to the Highway 59 Junction at Long Point was downloaded and transferred to the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk on March 31, 1997. The overlapped section of Highway 24 & Highway 53 immediately west of Brantford was transferred to the County of Brant on March 31, 1997. As a result of this transfer, Highway 24 was signed via Rest Acres Road (Formerly Highway 7094) between the Highway 53 Junction and the Highway 403 Interchange south of Paris. The northern section of Highway 24 from Cambridge northerly to Collingwood survived until the following year, when this portion of the highway was also transferred. The sections of Highway 24 were transferred to the Counties of Simcoe, Grey, Dufferin, Peel, Wellington and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, effective January 1, 1998. The Highway 24 designation was removed from the overlapped section of Highway 10 & Highway 24 between Caledon Village and Shelburne in 1998. The length of Highway 24 fell from a length of over 250 km at the beginning of 1997 to a length of less than 75 km by the end of 1998. The former route of Highway 24 is now known as Norfolk County Road 24 from Long Point to Simcoe, Colborne Street approaching Brantford, Waterloo Regional Road 24 north of the Highway 401 Interchange, Regional Road 24 in the Regional Municipality of Peel and County Road 124 in Wellington, Dufferin, Grey and Simcoe Counties.
Highway 24 traverses a mostly rural portion of Southern Ontario, although it does pass through several large cities and towns along its route. The principal towns located along the pre-1998 highway are Simcoe, Brantford, Cambridge, Guelph, Erin, Caledon, Orangeville, Shelburne and Collingwood. Most sections of Highway 24 are two lanes, but there are some short undivided four-lane sections from Brantford to the Highway 5 Junction, from Orangeville northerly for about 10 km to Camilla and from Primrose to Shelburne. The Hespeler Bypass is a four-lane divided expressway. Passing lanes appear periodically along Highway 24 from Brantford to Shelburne. Services along Highway 24 are generally quite plentiful, except in some of the rural areas between Long Point and Simcoe, where services are somewhat scarce outside of larger communities. Services are very scarce between Shelburne and Singhampton. The speed limit on Highway 24 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 24 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 24.
Winter Driving Tip: The northern section of Highway 24 is one of Ontario's most notorious highways when it comes to winter road conditions. The highway is frequently closed during the winter between Shelburne and Collingwood due to blowing and drifting snow. Blowing snow will often result in zero-visibility conditions. Skiers and snowboarders heading to Blue Mountain and other surrounding ski resorts should inquire at the ski resort about road conditions before they leave in the evening, as Highway 24 can be very dangerous at night when blowing and drifting snow conditions exist. The weather conditions on this highway can deteriorate very rapidly when snowsqualls blow in from nearby Georgian Bay. On cold, windy days, it is highly advisable to find an alternate route between Shelburne and Collingwood. Airport Road runs parallel to Highway 24. Since the road lies below the Niagara Escarpment, it is less likely to be closed due to drifting and blowing snow, making this a potential alternate route in poor weather conditions.
Additional Information About King's Highway 24: