Hwy 73 Hwy 73 Hwy 73   

Ontario Highway 73 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1937-1998
  • Current Status: Decommissioned in 1998
  • Current Names: Elgin Road 73 & Middlesex Road 73
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Elgin & Middlesex
  • Towns Served: Aylmer
  • Southern Terminus: Moore Street - Port Bruce
  • Northern Terminus: Hamilton Road - East of Dorchester
  • Length in 1997 (Before Downloading): 38.9 km / 24.2 miles
HWY 73 - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 73 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 73:

King's Highway 73 was a major collector highway which linked Port Bruce and Aylmer to Highway 401, southeast of London. The highway was 39 km in length and it existed up until the late 1990s, when it was downloaded to the Counties of Elgin and Middlesex. The history of Highway 73 dates back to 1937, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed the county road from Port Bruce to Dorchester Road (known as Hamilton Road today) as a new King's Highway. Preliminary Route Plans were prepared in May 1937, showing the route of a proposed King's Highway through Elgin and Middlesex Counties. Another Preliminary Route Plan dated June 7, 1937, showed the route of the proposed King's Highway through Port Bruce. The proposed highway began at Port Bruce on the north shore of Lake Erie and ran northerly for 23 miles (37 km) to Dorchester Road (today's Hamilton Road) east of Dorchester. King's Highway 73 was assumed by the DHO on August 25, 1937. The section of the route passing through the Town of Aylmer was not assumed by the DHO, and thus that section of Highway 73 remained under municipal jurisdiction. Contrary to popular belief, Highway 73 did not connect directly to Highway 2 during its 61-year history, even though Highway 2 existed only a short distance to the north of Highway 73's northern terminus. Highway 73 and neighbouring Highway 74 were both strange anomalies of the Ontario provincial highway system, in that these two King's Highways ended at a county road junction and not at another provincial highway.

Highway 73 was gravel-surfaced for its entire length when it was first assumed in 1937. Paving work on Highway 73 began in 1938, when just over four miles of concrete pavement was laid on the approaches to Aylmer. Further paving work took place between Port Bruce and Aylmer in 1950, with the balance of the highway being paved in stages between 1952 and 1955. Apart from a major revision to the highway's route at Port Bruce, the remainder of Highway 73 changed very little over the years. A new bridge was constructed across Catfish Creek at Port Bruce in 1964, which precipitated a complete realignment of the highway through the community. The original 1937 route of Highway 73 through Port Bruce followed today's Bank Street, Dexter Line and Colin Street.

During the 1990s, the province determined that Highway 73 served mostly a local purpose and decided that the route was no longer needed in the provincial highway system. As a result, the entire route of Highway 73 was downloaded by the province to Elgin and Middlesex Counties in the late 1990s. Two sections of Highway 73 were downloaded in 1997. The northern section of Highway 73 from the Highway 401 Interchange northerly to Hamilton Road and the southern section from Aylmer to Port Bruce were both transferred on March 31, 1997. The balance of the highway from Aylmer northerly to the Highway 401 Interchange was downloaded on January 1, 1998. The road is now officially known as Middlesex County Road 73 and Elgin County Road 73, although the road is still often referred to as "Highway 73" by motorists. Services are available in most communities along the highway. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 73 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Please visit the Highway 73 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 73.

HWY 73 ROUTE MAP - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 73 MILEAGE TABLE - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 73 PHOTOGRAPHS - © Cameron Bevers

Additional Information About King's Highway 73:

Learn More About King's Highway 73  (My Upcoming Publications)

King's Highway 73 - Route Information  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)

King's Highway 73 - A Virtual Tour  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)

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