Hwy 540 Sign Graphic Hwy 540 Title Graphic Hwy 540 Sign Graphic   

Ontario Highway 540 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1956-Present
  • Current Status: In Service
  • Location: Northeastern Ontario
  • District Served: Manitoulin
  • Towns Served: Meldrum Bay, Gore Bay, Kagawong, M'Chigeeng (West Bay) & Little Current
  • Western Terminus: Meldrum Bay
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 6 - Little Current
  • Current Length: 132.0 km / 82.0 miles
HWY 540 ROUTE MARKER - © Cameron Bevers
Secondary Highway 540 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of Secondary Highway 540:

Secondary Highway 540 is a minor collector highway that serves as the main east-west access road across Manitoulin Island. It is Ontario's 7th longest Secondary Highway, at a length of 132 km. Secondary Highway 540 was first depicted on a Preliminary Route Plan dated May 1956, and was designated by an Order-in-Council dated May 9, 1956. The new highway was originally 87 miles (140 km) in length. The route began at Meldrum Bay at the western tip of Manitoulin Island and headed east to Highway 68 (today's Highway 6) at Little Current. The highway was already paved between Gore Bay and Little Current at the time of the route's designation in 1956. The highway wasn't paved between Gore Bay and Meldrum Bay until well into the 1980s.

Apart from some minor revisions to the route of Highway 540 in a few locations, the highway has not changed significantly since 1956. The route of Highway 540 through Little Current was originally owned by the province, but it was transferred to the Town of Little Current in the mid-1960s. As originally designated in 1956, Highway 540 entered Little Current on Worthington Street. The highway then turned right onto Vankoughnet Street where it ended at Highway 68 (Manitouwaning Road). The section of Highway 540 via Worthington Street from the Town Limits to Vankoughnet Street was transferred to the Town of Little Current on May 29, 1965. The section via Vankoughnet Street from Worthington Street to Highway 68 was transferred approximately one year later on May 28, 1966. The route of Highway 540 through Little Current was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link on April 5, 1966, along a revised route via Worthington Street and Meredith Street. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 540 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Services are rather scarce on this highway, and are generally not available outside of the larger towns.

Photographic History of Secondary Highway 540

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