Hwy 5 Hwy 5 Hwy 5   

Ontario Highway 5 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1920-Present
  • Current Status: In Service
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Wentworth (Hamilton)
  • Towns Served: Hamilton
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 8 - Peters Corners
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 6 - Clappison's Corners
  • Current Length: 12.6 km / 7.8 miles
HWY 5 -  © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 5 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 5:

King's Highway 5 is a short but important collector highway which links Highway 8 at Peters Corners to Highway 6 at Clappison's Corners in the City of Hamilton. Historically, the route of Highway 5 was significantly longer. Up until the late 1990s, Highway 5 extended all the way from the Highway 2 Junction near Paris to Toronto. However, the vast majority of Highway 5 was transferred to municipalities in recent decades, particularly during the mass Ontario provincial highway downloading spree of 1997-1998.

The history of Highway 5 dates back to 1920, when a new Provincial Highway was assumed by the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) through York, Peel, Halton, Wentworth and Haldimand Counties. The new highway began near Islington in Etobicoke Township (at the junction of Dundas Street, Bloor Street & Kipling Avenue) and extended southwesterly to Clappison's Corners via Dundas Street. Another leg of the new Provincial Highway extended south from Hamilton to Jarvis along the Port Dover Plank Road. Between April and June 1920, several Preliminary Route Plans were prepared for the various sections of the new Provincial Highway. The highway was assumed by the DPHO within Haldimand County on June 24, 1920. The section of the new highway within Halton County via Dundas Street was assumed by the DPHO on July 31, 1920. The proposed route of the Provincial Highway through Peel County via Dundas Street was assumed by the DPHO on July 22, 1920. The two sections of the highway within Wentworth County, from Hamilton southerly towards Caledonia and from Clappison's Corners easterly via Dundas Street, were assumed by the DPHO on July 8, 1920. The DPHO assumed Dundas Street in York County between Etobicoke Creek and Islington on July 29, 1920.

On October 7, 1920, a Preliminary Route Plan was prepared for the proposed Hamilton Northeast Entrance Highway. This new highway section began at Clappison's Corners and extended south to join the Toronto-Hamilton Highway west of Aldershot. This section of the proposed Provincial Highway was assumed by the DPHO on January 12, 1921. The Hamilton Northeast Entrance Highway also resulted in the construction of the Clappison's Cut, a new highway grade up the Niagara Escarpment. Prior to the construction of the Clappison's Cut, travel by automobile between the Toronto-Hamilton Highway and Dundas Street at Clappison's Corners was along a very difficult, winding route. In 1921, the Provincial Highway was extended easterly from Islington along Bloor Street, along with the assumption of a section of Danforth Avenue in Scarborough Township east of Toronto. A Preliminary Route Plan prepared on February 15, 1921, showed the proposed assumption of Bloor Street from Islington to the (former) Toronto City Limits at Jane Street. The DPHO acquired this section of Bloor Street on March 16, 1921. The proposed assumption of Danforth Avenue from the (former) East Toronto City Limits near Dawes Road to Kingston Road was shown on a Preliminary Route Plan dated August 11, 1921. This section of Danforth Avenue through Scarborough Township was assumed by the DPHO on September 14, 1921. The DPHO did not assume ownership of those sections of the Provincial Highway passing through Toronto, Hamilton, Caledonia, Hagersville or Jarvis. Thus, those sections of the Provincial Highway remained under municipal jurisdiction. The Danforth Avenue Provincial Highway, the Dundas Street Provincial Highway, the Hamilton Northeast Entrance Highway and the Hamilton-Jarvis Provincial Highway were all designated as Provincial Highway 5 when route numbering was introduced in Ontario in 1925. Provincial Highway 5 was later renamed King's Highway 5 in 1930.

The route of Highway 5 from Toronto to Jarvis was initially 117 km (73 miles) in length (See Map). The original route of Highway 5 was fully paved by 1925, making it the first Provincial Highway in Ontario to be paved in its entirety from end-to-end. Highway 5 remained unchanged until 1927, when the proposed assumption of a new Provincial Highway between Clappison's Corners and Peters Corners in Wentworth County triggered a change in route numbers. A Preliminary Route Plan dated May 3, 1927, showed the proposed extension of the Provincial Highway westerly along Dundas Street from Clappison's Corners. The DPHO assumed this route on May 25, 1927, and designated the new route as an extension of Highway 5. As a result, the former north-south leg of Highway 5 from Clappison's Corners to Jarvis, via Hamilton and Caledonia, was renumbered as Highway 6 in 1927. The new route of Highway 5 between Clappison's Corners and Peters Corners provided a much-needed alternate route in the Provincial Highway system between Toronto and Galt. Prior to 1927, all traffic had to pass through Hamilton and Dundas via Highway 2 and Highway 8, or take the much longer route offered by Highway 7 through Guelph and Kitchener to reach Galt. At the time of assumption in 1927, the highway was only paved from Clappison's Corners to Brock Road. The remainder of Highway 5 from Brock Road to the Highway 8 Junction at Peters Corners was paved in 1928.

The route of Highway 5 was extended ever further west in 1930. Preliminary Route Plans dated April 1930, show the proposed assumption of an existing road in Wentworth and Brant Counties from Peters Corners westerly to the Highway 24 Junction, via St. George. The DPHO acquired the road via St. George as a new section of Highway 5 on June 18, 1930. Highway 5 was extended westerly once again on September 24, 1930, when the section of the Governors Road between Osborne Corners and Paris was assumed as a portion of Highway 5. The route of Highway 5 was signed concurrently with Highway 24 between the turn-off to St. George and Osborne Corners. These final extensions in 1930 essentially completed Highway 5, at a length of 114 km (71 miles) (See Map). The new section of Highway 5 between the Highway 24 Junction near St. George and Peters Corners was paved in 1931-1932, and the final gravel-surfaced section of Highway 5 between Osborne Corners and Paris was paved in 1933. In 1937, a new traffic interchange was built at Highway 5's eastern terminus at Highway 2 (Kingston Road) in Scarborough Township. The "Cenotaph Interchange" was among the first grade-separated traffic interchanges ever built in Canada, and remains more or less unmodified to this day.

There appears to have been an effort made by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) in the late 1930s to construct a Highway 5 Bypass around Paris. Preliminary Route Plans dated September 1937, show several sections of proposed King's Highway assumptions through Brant and Oxford Counties, with a length totalling about 8 miles. The new sections of highway included Blue Lake Road (today's Brant County Road 35) from Highway 24 westerly towards the East River Road, Keg Lane (today's Brant County Roads 52 & 36) from Highway 24A westerly to the Brant-Oxford Boundary Road, and a section of Concession 1 (today's Township Road 2) north of Princeton. These roads were all assumed as a new King's Highway on April 13, 1938. Presumably, the intention was to link all three sections together into a single continuous route that would orbit Paris, and provide a connection between the existing routes of Highway 5 & Highway 24 near St. George and Highway 2 near Princeton. This route would have involved constructing new bridges over the Grand and Nith Rivers. For some reason however, the road was never completed. One could speculate that the Paris Bypass was cancelled due to the outbreak of war in 1939. The start of World War II thwarted or postponed many of the DHO's ambitious construction plans of the late 1930s. Perhaps the cost of building the two new bridges that were required for the Paris Bypass was higher than the Depression-wary government of the day was willing to spend to rectify a localized traffic problem. However, it is also quite possible that DHO planners came to the realization that the Paris Bypass would become largely redundant if a new proposed dual highway from Hamilton to London was constructed. This new dual highway, which we know today as Highway 403, was being considered at least conceptually by DHO planners as early as 1937. The exact reason for the cancellation of the Paris Bypass may never be known. The fragmented series of roads that would have become the new highway were all decommissioned on December 3, 1943, when they were reverted to municipal road authorities.

It should be noted that this supposed Paris Bypass was never assigned a route number. However, this highway has been described on the Highway 5 history page, as that would have been the most likely designation assigned to the new route. The beginning of the proposed route via Blue Lake Road was a very logical westerly extension of the existing portion of Highway 5 lying east of the Highway 24 junction. The portion of Hwy 5 lying between Paris and Osborne Corners would have likely been renumbered as Highway 5B, in order to preserve the continuity of that highway from Osborne Corners to Dundas.

Several large sections of Highway 5 were transferred to the Cities of Mississauga and Metropolitan Toronto between 1954 and 1991. The amalgamation of Etobicoke and Scarborough Townships into Metropolitan Toronto resulted in the transfer of all assumed portions of Highway 5 lying east of Highway 27 within the Former Townships of Etobicoke and Scarborough, effective January 15, 1954. This excluded the urban section of Highway 5 within Toronto between Jane Street and Dawes Road which had never been initially assumed by the DHO. On April 1, 1970. the section of Highway 5 from Etobicoke Creek to Mississauga Road was transferred to the City of Mississauga. This was followed by the transfer of Highway 5 between Mississauga Road and Winston Churchill Boulevard to the City of Mississauga on November 22, 1978. The section of Highway 5 which straddled the boundary between the City of Mississauga and the Town of Oakville between Highway 403 and Winston Churchill Boulevard was transferred from the province to these municipalities, effective November 27, 1991. As a result of these provincial highway transfers, all sections of Highway 5 lying east of the Highway 403 Interchange in Oakville were under municipal jurisdiction. This amounted to some 44 km of the highway's total length, or roughly 40% of the route. Despite being under local control, the route of Highway 5 was still continuously signed as a King's Highway through Mississauga and Toronto until the past decade when most of the signs were removed.

The route of Highway 5 was almost lost entirely to downloading on January 1, 1998, when an additional 50 km of the highway was transferred to municipalities. The only section of Highway 5 spared from the downloading was the 13 km section from the Highway 6 Junction at Clappison's Corners to the Highway 8 Junction at Peters Corners. The short concurrent route of Highway 5 & Highway 24 which had existed since 1930 north of Osborne Corners was replaced by the single Highway 24 designation only. The downloaded sections of Highway 5 retained their original route number after 1998, but they are now just municipal streets and county roads. The former sections of the highway are now known as Danforth Avenue, Bloor Street and Dundas Street in the City of Toronto, Dundas Street in the City of Mississauga, Halton Road 5 (Dundas Street) in Halton Region, and Brant Highway 5 in Brant County. In the City of Hamilton, the sections of former Highway 5 lying west of Peters Corners and east of Clappison's Corners are now know as Hamilton Road 5.

In 2012, the awkward "triple crossroads" intersection at Peters Corners was completely reconstructed. Highway 8 was realigned so that it met Highway 52 at a four-leg modern roundabout. The eastern leg of Former Highway 8 leading into Dundas was also realigned in order to separate it from the new roundabout. The new Peters Corners Roundabout was the very first multi-lane modern roundabout ever built on an Ontario provincial highway, and only the third roundabout completed on the provincial highway system. The new Peters Corners Roundabout was officially opened to traffic on October 4, 2012, although Eastbound Highway 8 traffic had been using a portion of the roundabout's circulatory roadway since September 15, 2012, due to construction staging. As a result of the highway realignment at Peters Corners, Highway 5 and Highway 8 are now signed concurrently for about 250 metres. This was done to connect the realigned route of Highway 8 coming from Cambridge with Former Highway 8 leading to Dundas.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is also planning to replace the congested traffic signal at Clappison's Corners (Highway 6) with a grade-separated interchange within the next few years. Highway 6 will be converted to a freeway through Clappison's Corners, and a new bridge will be constructed to carry Highway 5 over Highway 6. This project is now in design, although a proposed construction year has not yet been announced.

The pre-1998 route of Highway 5 passes through a predominantly urbanized area, with nearly two-thirds of the highway's 114 km length contained within built-up areas. The principal towns located along the pre-1998 route of Highway 5 are Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and Paris. Highway 5 is a minimum of four lanes from Toronto to Clappison's Corners, except the section through Waterdown which is only two lanes. The balance of the highway from Clappison's Corners to Highway 2 in Paris is two lanes. The former concurrent route of Highway 5 & Highway 24 between the St. George turn-off and Osborne Corners is no longer signed. Services along Highway 5 are generally quite plentiful. The speed limit on the rural sections of Highway 5 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 5 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 5.





HWY 5 ROUTE MAP - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 5 MILEAGE TABLE - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 5 PHOTOGRAPHS - © Cameron Bevers


Additional Information About King's Highway 5:

Learn More About King's Highway 5  (My Upcoming Publications)

King's Highway 5 - Route Information  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)

King's Highway 5 - A Virtual Tour  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)


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