History of King's Highway 60:
King's Highway 60 is a major collector highway which connects Huntsville to Renfrew through Algonquin Provincial Park. The highway passes through mostly rural portions of Central and Eastern Ontario, occasionally passing through some small towns. The principal towns located along the highway are Huntsville, Barry's Bay, Eganville and Renfrew.
The history of Highway 60 dates back to the late 1930s, when a new King's Highway was established across the Counties of Renfrew and Haliburton, along with the Districts of Nipissing and Muskoka. Preliminary Route Plans were prepared in April and May, 1937, showing the proposed assumption of a series of roads to the east and west of Algonquin Park as a new King's Highway. The proposed highway route began at Highway 11 in Huntsville and ended at Lake Dore, south of Pembroke. The route was acquired by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) in several sections in the fall of 1937. The section of the route lying within the District of Nipissing was assumed first, on September 22, 1937. This was followed by the assumption of the route within Renfrew County a week later, on September 29, 1937. The sections of the highway in Haliburton and Muskoka were assumed by the DHO on October 6, 1937. The new highway was designated as King's Highway 60. The route was approximately 135 miles (218 km) in length. The westernmost 13-mile section of Highway 60 from Huntsville to Dwight was co-designated with Highway 35. Initially, Highway 60 was gravel-surfaced for almost its entire length. A number of unimproved earth-surfaced sections existed east of Algonquin Park, which were graded with a gravel surface immediately after assumption by the DHO. The 13-mile section of Highway 35 & Highway 60 between Huntsville and Dwight was paved in 1937. A 6-mile section of Highway 60 was paved west of Golden Lake in 1938, followed by the construction of an additional 4-mile section of pavement west of Golden Lake in 1940. The remainder of Highway 60 would remain gravel-surfaced until after World War II.
During the early 1940s, a substantial section of Highway 60 was relocated onto a new alignment between Madawaska and Barry's Bay. A new hydro-electric dam was constructed across the Madawaska River in 1941-1942, which caused a significant enlargement of the Madawaska River and Bark Lake. A portion of Highway 60 which followed the Madawaska River was below the proposed flood line of the hydro-electric reservoir at Bark Lake, and was rebuilt on a new alignment to the north of the existing highway. The 16-mile Bark Lake Diversion was completed and opened to traffic in 1942. The original route of Highway 60 east of Madawaska was abandoned and eventually flooded below the waters of the expanded Bark Lake once the hydro-electric dam went into service.
Paving operations resumed on Highway 60 immediately after World War II, and were completed very quickly. The highway was paved from Wilno to Barry's Bay in 1946. The balance of Highway 60 was paved in 1947 and 1948. The final gravel section along Highway 60 was paved over in 1948, when an 18-mile paving contract near Algonquin Park's West Gate was completed. The easternmost leg of Highway 60 from Golden Lake to Lake Dore was decommissioned as a King's Highway in 1947 (See Map). Since this section of Highway 60 did not connect to any other King's Highways east of Golden Lake, it was determined that this section of the route served a mostly local purpose and was no longer needed in the provincial highway system. This 9-mile section of Highway 60 was transferred to the County of Renfrew, effective August 30, 1947. Today, this early decommissioned section of Highway 60 is known as Renfrew Road 30. The route of Highway 60 did not change again until 1957, when the route of Highway 41 was relocated north of Eganville and extended north to Pembroke. The former route of Highway 41 from Golden Lake to Eganville was renumbered as Highway 60 during 1957 (See Map). The 1957 extension increased the length of Highway 60 to 133 miles (214 km).
The route of Highway 60 was extended even further east during 1961. The county road leading from Eganville to the Highway 17 Junction at Rosebank Corners north of Renfrew was assumed as a King's Highway by the DHO, effective June 20, 1961 (See Map). The 1961 extension increased the length of Highway 60 to approximately 153 miles (246 km). Interestingly, the DHO had previously examined assuming the Eganville-Renfrew Road as a King's Highway back in early 1940. For some reason, however, the highway was not assumed at that time. Presumably, the DHO predicted that resources and equipment would become scare as a result of the war, and decided to not proceed with the assumption.
During the 1960s and 1970s, only a few small changes were made to the route of Highway 60. The concurrent route of Highway 35 & Highway 60 between Huntsville and Dwight was discontinued in 1966, when Highway 35 was truncated at the Highway 60 Junction at Dwight. The completion of the Huntsville Bypass in 1959 eventually prompted the construction of a short extension to Highway 60 from the original route of Highway 11 (Highway 11B) westerly to the new Highway 11 Bypass. The Highway 60 extension was completed in 1973. The completion of the Renfrew Bypass in 1977 also resulted in an extension to Highway 60 at the eastern end of the highway. The route of Highway 17 was relocated onto the new Renfrew Bypass and a 13 km section of the old route of Highway 17 from Rosebank Corners through Renfrew was renumbered as Highway 60 (See Map). As a result, the length of Highway 60 grew to its current length of approximately 158 miles (254 km). The Ministry of Transportation does not maintain the sections of Highway 60 passing through Barry's Bay, Eganville or Renfrew. The section of Highway 60 through Algonquin Park was designated as the Frank McDougall Parkway during the 1990s.
Highway 60 is one of Ontario most scenic highways. The highlight of the route is the section through Algonquin Provincial Park, which is a very pleasant drive throughout the year, but especially in the fall when the leaves change colour. Most sections of Highway 60 are two lanes, although one short section leading east out of Huntsville was reconstructed as a four-lane undivided highway. Passing lanes appear periodically along Highway 60, particularly between Huntsville and the Algonquin Park West Gate. Services along Highway 60 are generally quite scarce outside of communities. There are no services available through Algonquin Park. Motorists using Highway 60 to simply traverse Algonquin Park do not require a day use park permit. However, park permits are required if motorists wish to utilize any of Algonquin Park's picnic areas, campgrounds, or hiking trails located along the Highway 60 Corridor. Permits are available at the East and West Gatehouses and at all Campground Offices. Moose are quite common along Highway 60. These enormous animals can often be seen crossing the highway corridor, especially within Algonquin Park. This represents a serious collision hazard, because these animals are difficult for motorists to see at night. Slow down and be prepared for moose if you plan to use Highway 60 at night. The speed limit on Highway 60 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 60 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 60.
Additional Information About King's Highway 60: