Hwy 55 #1 Sign Graphic Hwy 55 #1 Title Graphic Hwy 55 #1 Sign Graphic   

Ontario Highway 55 (#1) Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1937-1961
  • Current Status: Decommissioned in 1961
  • Current Names: Upper Gage Avenue, Concession Street, Mountain Brow Boulevard, Kenilworth Avenue & Burlington Street
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Hamilton (Wentworth)
  • Towns Served: Hamilton
  • Southern Terminus: Hwy 53 - Hamilton
  • Northern Terminus: QEW - Hamilton
  • Length in 1961: Approx 6.5 km / 4 miles
HWY 55 ROUTE MARKER - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 55 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 55 (#1):

The first King's Highway 55 was a short highway in the County of Wentworth that connected Highway 53 at Long's Corners to Highway 6 in Downtown Hamilton. Highway 55 was created out of route renumbering in 1937, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) decided to assign a new route number to a section of the Upper Mountain Highway (Highway 20A) between Long's Corners and Downtown Hamilton. Up until 1937, Highway 20A forked into two routes at Long's Corners, which created considerable confusion amongst motorists. Adding to the confusion, the Windermere Cut-Off which existed nearby north of Stoney Creek was also numbered as Highway 20A. It was decided that the Windermere Cut-Off would retain the Highway 20A designation, but the Upper Mountain Highway would be given two new highway numbers. The east-west portion of the Upper Mountain Highway was renumbered as Highway 53, while the north-south portion of the route via Upper Gage Avenue was renumbered as Highway 55.

Originally, Highway 55 entered Hamilton on Upper Gage Avenue (See Map). At Crockett Street, Highway 55 turned left, where it joined Upper Sherman Avenue at the entrance to the Sherman Cut. Highway 55 then passed through the Sherman Cut and continued down the Niagara Escarpment into Downtown Hamilton along Mountain Boulevard (now known as the Sherman Access), where it ended at Highway 6 (John Street). Provincial jurisdiction over Highway 55 originally ended at Queensdale Avenue, located a short distance south of the Mountain Brow. The City of Hamilton's limits expanded after World War II, which resulted in the transfer of jurisdiction of some sections of Highway 55 from the DHO to the City of Hamilton. The first section of Highway 55 was transferred to the City of Hamilton in 1949. The provincially-owned section of Highway 55 which ran along Upper Gage Avenue between the former city limits at Queensdale Avenue to the revised city limits at Fennell Avenue was transferred from the DHO to the City of Hamilton, effective October 17, 1949. Jurisdiction over the section of Highway 55 between Fennell Avenue and Mohawk Road was transferred from the DHO to the City of Hamilton on November 3, 1952.

In 1956, a new section of Highway 55 was signed along Kenilworth Avenue, Burlington Street and Beach Road in the eastern end of Hamilton. This extension of Highway 55 was intended to provide a new signed highway link from Hamilton Mountain to the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), via the new Kenilworth Access. While the Kenilworth Access was being constructed up the Niagara Escarpment in the mid to late 1950s, Highway 55 continued to follow Crockett Street and the Sherman Cut into Downtown Hamilton. The north leg of Highway 55 via Kenilworth Avenue was discontinuous from the south leg of the highway, which ran from Downtown Hamilton to the Highway 53 Junction. In September 1958, the new Kenilworth Access was completed and officially opened to traffic. The route of Highway 55 was then apparently removed from the Crockett Street and Sherman Cut route, and signed along Concession Street to the new Kenilworth Access. The change was first noted on the 1959 Official Ontario Road Map (See Map). The completion of the Kenilworth Access linked the two discontinuous sections of Highway 55 lying north and south of the Niagara Escarpment together. The new section of Highway 55 along Kenilworth Avenue was apparently signed under the direction of the City of Hamilton, since DHO mileage logs in the late 1950s make no reference to the increased mileage of Highway 55. Highway 55 last appeared on the 1960 Official Ontario Road Map. The following year, Highway 55 was formally decommissioned as a King's Highway. Jurisdiction over the last provincially-owned section of Highway 55 between Mohawk Road and the Highway 53 Junction at Long's Corners was transferred to the City of Hamilton, effective April 28, 1961. A different, unrelated Highway 55 was established near Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1970.





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