History of King's Highway 89:
King's Highway 89 is a major collector highway which traverses the central portion of Southern Ontario, through Simcoe, Grey, Dufferin and Wellington Counties. Highway 89 begins at the Highway 400 Interchange near Cookstown and continues westerly to the Highway 9 Junction in Harriston. The highway was first established in 1937 when the existing Primrose-Cookstown Highway was renumbered as Highway 89 (See Map). Prior to 1937, the Primrose-Cookstown Highway was part of Highway 9. At the time Highway 89 was created in 1937, the highway was 38 km (23.5 miles) in length. Initially, Highway 89 was gravel-surfaced for its entire length. Highway 89 was paved from Cookstown to Alliston in 1948, from Alliston to Rosemount in 1950 and from Rosemount to the Highway 10 & Highway 24 Junction at Primrose in 1957.
The route of Highway 89 changed very little until 1963, when the highway changed rather dramatically. That year, Highway 89 was extended easterly from Cookstown to join up with Highway 400. A Preliminary Assumption Plan was prepared by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) in February 1963, indicating the DHO's intentions to assume existing Simcoe County Road 3 between Cookstown and Highway 400 as a new King's Highway. The plan was registered on April 2, 1963, and the extension of Highway 89 from Cookstown to Highway 400 was formally designated as a King's Highway by an Order-in-Council, effective April 25, 1963. Highway 89 was also extended westerly through Dufferin and Wellington Counties from the Highway 10 & Highway 24 Junction at Primrose to Harriston. Between Primrose and Shelburne, Highway 89 was routed concurrently with the existing routes of Highway 10 & Highway 24. In addition to the Highway 89 extension from Shelburne to Harriston, the Harriston-Palmerston Road was also designated as Highway 89 during 1963. Preliminary Assumption Plans for the proposed extension of Highway 89 through Dufferin County were registered on April 2, 1963, while the plans for the section lying within Wellington County were registered on April 1, 1963. The Highway 89 extension from Shelburne to the Dufferin County Boundary was officially designated as a King's Highway by an Order-in-Council on May 16, 1963. The section of the Highway 89 extension lying within Wellington County was designated as a King's Highway by an Order-in-Council effective May 2, 1963. The 1963 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 & Highway 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. An Assumption Plan was prepared by the Ministry of Transportation & Communications (MTC) on October 15, 1976, indicating the intention to assume existing Simcoe County Road 3 between Highway 400 and Highway 11 west of Fennell as a new King's Highway. The plan was registered on November 1, 1976, and the extension of Highway 89 from the Highway 400 Interchange to the Highway 11 Junction at Fennell was formally designated as a King's Highway by an Order-in-Council, effective January 26, 1977. Unfortunately, the plan to extend Highway 89 further east was scrapped, and Highway 89 never continued beyond Fennell.
The route of Highway 89 remained more or less unchanged until the late 1990s. On March 31, 1997, the eastern section of Highway 89 from the Highway 400 Interchange to the Highway 11 Junction 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 late 2004, the former north-south section of Highway 89 from Harriston to Palmerston was renumbered 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. As a result of the 2004 route renumbering, Highway 89 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 or 5-1-1 before using Highway 89.
Additional Information About King's Highway 89: