Hwy 38 Hwy 38 Hwy 38   

Ontario Highway 38 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1934-1998
  • Current Status: Decommissioned
  • Current Name: Gardiners Road & Road 38
  • Location: Eastern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Frontenac
  • Towns Served: Kingston, Harrowsmith, Verona, Tichborne and Sharbot Lake
  • Southern Terminus: Hwy 2 - Cataraqui
  • Northern Terminus: Hwy 7 - Sharbot Lake
  • Length in 1997: 70.0 km / 43.5 miles
HWY 38 - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 38 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 38:

King's Highway 38 was a minor collector highway which connected Highway 2 in Cataraqui west of Kingston to Highway 7 at Sharbot Lake. The highway was 70 km in length and it existed up until the late 1990s, when it was downloaded in its entirety. The history of Highway 38 dated back to the mid-1930s, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed the Sharbot Lake Road as a new King's Highway. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated January 25, 1934, showing the proposed route of the new provincial highway in Frontenac County. The entire route was assumed by the province on April 25, 1934, and was designated as King's Highway 38. Originally, Highway 38 was 76 km (47 miles) in length. Highway 38 was signed concurrently with Highway 2 from the ferry dock in Downtown Kingston to Cataraqui. This was presumably done to assist in guiding American motorists disembarking from the Wolfe Island Ferry to the Highway 38 turn-off at Cataraqui and to other northern destinations. In 1936, construction began on a new alignment for Highway 38 between Hartington and Verona. The new Highway 38 alignment between Hartington and Verona was completed in 1938. The old Highway 38 alignment via Boyce Road, Quarry Road, and Bunett Road was transferred to the Township of Portland, effective January 9, 1939. The overlapped route of Highway 2 & Highway 38 was discontinued in 1954. As a result, the length of Highway 38 was reduced by approximately 6 km (4 miles).

As originally assumed in 1934, Highway 38 was gravel-surfaced for its entire length. The highway was paved from Cataraqui northerly to Murvale in 1937 and from Murvale northerly to Verona in 1938. Paving operations resumed on Highway 38 after World War II. In 1946, the section of Highway 38 from Tichborne to the Highway 7 Junction at Sharbot Lake was paved. The balance of the highway was paved in 1950 and 1951.

In 1956, a section of Highway 38 was realigned to accommodate the construction of the Kingston Bypass. The new route of Highway 38 went directly south to Highway 2, instead of its old route which ran southeasterly to Cataraqui via McIvor Road and Sydenham Road. The new route of Highway 38 formed the western leg of the Kingston Bypass, which was a new interceptor road built by the DHO to allow through traffic to bypass the congested route of Highway 2 through Downtown Kingston. For nearly 5 years, the Highway 38 junction on Highway 401 marked the end of the new freeway. The Kingston Bypass section of Highway 401 was completed and opened to traffic in November 1957. The freeway temporarily ended at a "T-junction" at the new Highway 38. In 1962, Highway 401 was finally extended west past Highway 38 towards Odessa, and a proper grade-separated interchange was built at Highway 38.

The entire route of Highway 38 was downloaded in the 1990s. The first section of Highway 38 to be transferred ran from Highway 2 up to the Highway 401 Interchange. This section of Highway 38 was transferred by the province to the municipal tier on March 27, 1996. Included in this transfer was a section of Old Highway 38 (Midland Avenue) which had been bypassed by a new Highway 38 Diversion (Gardiners Road) in the mid-1990s. On January 1, 1998, the remainder of Highway 38 was downloaded from the province to the City of Kingston and the Townships of South and Central Frontenac. The road is now officially known as Gardiners Road in the City of Kingston and Road 38 in Central and South Frontenac Townships. The road is still commonly referred to as "Highway 38" by motorists. Services are available in most major communities along the highway. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 38 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Please visit the Highway 38 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 38.





HWY 38 ROUTE MAP - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 38 MILEAGE TABLE - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 38 PHOTOGRAPHS - © Cameron Bevers


Additional Information About King's Highway 38:

Learn More About King's Highway 38  (My Upcoming Publications)

King's Highway 38 - Route Information  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)

King's Highway 38 - A Virtual Tour  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)


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