History of King's Highway 89:
King's Highway 89 is a major collector highway which traverses the central portion of Southern Ontario. Highway 89 currently begins at the Highway 400 Interchange near Cookstown and continues westerly to Harriston. The highway was first established in 1937 when the existing Primrose-Cookstown Highway was redesignated as Highway 89. Prior to 1937, the Primrose-Cookstown Highway was part of Highway 9. The route of Highway 89 changed very little until 1963. That year, the highway was extended easterly from Cookstown to join up with Highway 400. The highway was also extended westerly from the Highway 10 & 24 Junction at Primrose to Harriston. The Harriston-Palmerston Road was also designated as Highway 89 in 1963. The extensions more than tripled the length of Highway 89 to 117 km. In conjunction with Highway 23, the completed route of Highway 89 formed a continuous route through Southern Ontario from Highway 400 down into the London area.
In the 1970s, a proposal was brought forward to improve transportation links in southern Simcoe County and northern York County. One of the proposals being considered was an extension of Highway 89 easterly from Highway 400 across the southern side of Lake Simcoe. The new highway corridor was to join up with Highway 7 & 12 in the Sunderland area. The proposed route would have provided improved road access around Lake Simcoe, which was an area that was not served by any east-west provincial highways. In preparation for the Highway 89 Extension to Sunderland, a new section of the highway was designated from the Highway 400 Interchange to Highway 11 at Fennell. Unfortunately, the plan was scrapped, and Highway 89 never continued any further east than Fennell.
In 1997, the eastern section of Highway 89 from the Highway 400 Interchange to Highway 11 at Fennell was downloaded to the County of Simcoe. This 5 km section of Former Highway 89 is now known as Simcoe Road 89. In 2003, the former north-south section of Highway 89 from Harriston to Palmerston was redesignated as Highway 23, in order to improve the highway route numbering in the area. This highway renumbering cut about 10 km off of the length of Highway 89. The highway now ends at the Highway 9 Junction in Harriston.
Highway 89 passes through a predominantly rural area along its 107 km route. The only major towns located along the highway are Alliston, Shelburne, Mount Forest and Harriston. The section of Highway 89 from Primrose to Alliston is a very scenic drive, offering some of Southwestern Ontario's most pleasant rural scenery. Highway 89 is a two-lane road for almost its entire length, although the section of Highway 89 between Primrose and Shelburne is a four-lane undivided highway. Other sections of undivided four-lane highway exist on the approaches to Alliston and the Highway 50 Junction. Passing lanes appear periodically between Primrose and Cookstown, as this section of Highway 89 has many long, steep grades. Services along Highway 89 are available in most communities, but are surprisingly scarce west of Shelburne. The speed limit on Highway 89 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 89 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 89.
Winter Driving Tip: Highway 89 is known for poor winter road conditions during snowsqualls. While the highway is seldom closed due to weather conditions, it can be a very unpleasant and treacherous drive during the winter due to blowing and drifting snow, particularly west of Shelburne. Blowing snow will often result in zero-visibility conditions. The weather conditions on this highway can deteriorate very rapidly when snowsqualls blow in from Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. On cold, windy days, it is a good idea to check the Road Closures and Winter Road Conditions pages on the Ministry of Transportation's Website, or verify road conditions by telephone at 1-800-268-4686 before using Highway 89.
Additional Information About King's Highway 89:
Learn More About King's Highway 89 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 89 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 89 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)