History of King's Highway 41:
King's Highway 41 is a major trunk highway which serves Eastern Ontario and the Upper Ottawa Valley. The highway currently begins at Highway 7 at Kaladar and ends at Highway 17 in Pembroke. Until recently, Highway 41 continued south from Kaladar to Highway 2 in Napanee, but this southern section of Highway 41 was decommissioned as a King's Highway during the highway downloading of 1997-1998.
Highway 41 was first established in 1935, when the Napanee-Kaladar Road was assumed as a new provincial highway. The new highway was assumed by the Ontario Department of Highways (DHO) on May 1, 1935. Highway 41 was initially 51 km in length, beginning at Highway 2 in Napanee and continuing north to Highway 7 at Kaladar. During the late 1930s, Highway 41 was extended north from Kaladar to the Highway 60 Junction near Golden Lake. The DHO assumed the new section of Highway 41 north of Kaladar in several stages during the autumn of 1937. The section of Highway 41 lying within Frontenac County was assumed by the province on September 29, 1937. The section lying with Lennox & Addington County was assumed on October 6, 1937, while the section lying within Renfrew County was assumed on October 20, 1937. For many years, Highway 41 was the only provincial highway serving the vast regions of northern Lennox & Addington County and western Renfrew County. It was not until the 1950s that other provincial highways were constructed to serve this vast area. In 1957, Highway 41 was extended north from Eganville through to Pembroke. The Eganville-Pembroke Road was designated as a new provincial highway on April 11, 1957. It is interesting to note that one contemporary source indicates that this highway extension to Pembroke was initially designated as Highway 134, and not Highway 41. However, even if the route had been designated as Highway 134 at first, it certainly did not remain that way for very long. The 1958 Official Ontario Road Map clearly marks the highway extension from Eganville to Pembroke as Highway 41. The bypassed section of Highway 41 leading from Eganville to Golden Lake was renumbered as Highway 60 in 1957. In 1978, a section of Highway 41 near Lake Dore north of Eganville was relocated onto a brand new alignment.
In the late 1930s, the DHO designated a new provincial highway across Prince Edward County from Picton to Coles Wharf. The new highway was first assumed by the province on April 13, 1938. For reasons that may never be known, the DHO chose to number this new King's Highway as Highway 41. This proved to be a very foolish decision by the DHO, because there was no bridge connecting Prince Edward County to the mainland near Picton at that time. The two sections of Highway 41 were separated by a large body of water known as the Bay of Quinte. This discontinuous southern section of Highway 41 was 18 km in length. For a few years, a ferry service connected Coles Wharf to Huff Wharf on the mainland. A county road led from Huff Wharf to Napanee, where Highway 41 resumed again on its route north towards Kaladar and Eganville. Unfortunately, the ferry service was eventually suspended, severing the already tenuous link between the two dicontinuous sections of Highway 41. For many years, it was not possible to directly access the southern section of Highway 41 from the northern section of Highway 41, other than to drive along a very circuitous route to Picton via Glenora or Belleville. It is unclear why the DHO chose to number the new highway in Prince Edward County as a part of Highway 41. In retrospect, it would have been much wiser to have extended Highway 41 south from Napanee to meet Highway 33 between Adolphustown and Bath. By the 1960s, a new high-level bridge across the Bay of Quinte to Deseronto was being considered. The DHO took this opportunity to rectify the Highway 41 numbering anomaly, and redesignated the southern section of the highway as Highway 49 in 1966. The Quinte Skyway was completed and officially opened to traffic on September 6, 1967, finally providing a fixed link between Prince Edward County and the mainland.
By the late 1990s, the Ontario Government sought to rid itself of highways which it determined to be provincially insignificant. The section of Highway 41 from Napanee to Kaladar was deemed to serve a local purpose only. Consequently, this 51 km section of Highway 41 was downloaded to the County of Lennox & Addington on Janaury 1, 1998. The road is now known as Lennox & Addington Road 41. The section of Highway 41 from Mud Lake Road to Pembroke Street (Formerly Highway 148) in Pembroke was apparently decommissioned many years ago, although the entire route is still signed as a King's Highway by the municipality.
Highway 41 traverses a surprisingly remote region in Eastern Ontario. The scenery along this highway is quite rugged and beautiful, particularly between Mazinaw Lake and the Highway 132 Junction near Dacre, where the highway climbs through the Madawaska Highlands and the Opeongo Mountains. The highway passes through very few communities along its 154 km route. The only major towns located along the highway are Eganville and Pembroke. Services along Highway 41 are rather scarce, although gas is available in most communities along the highway. However, motorists who plan to use this highway at night should be aware that there are no 24-hour gas stations along Highway 41. Most sections of Highway 41 are two lanes, but some passing lanes have been constructed in places to facilitate the overtaking of slower vehicles using the highway. A 3.8 km portion of Highway 41 is signed concurrently with Highway 60 near Eganville. The speed limit on Highway 41 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. At the Highway 41 and Highway 132 Junction at the bottom of Tooey's Hill, Highway 41 turns onto a different roadway while the through road becomes Highway 132 to Renfrew. Northbound motorists heading towards Pembroke must turn left at this highway junction in order to stay on Highway 41. Please visit the Highway 41 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 41.
Additional Information About King's Highway 41:
Learn More About King's Highway 41 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 41 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 41 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)