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Back to Hwy 17 Photo Index      On to Hwy 17 - Historical Photos (1950-1959)

This page contains historical photos of Ontario's King's Highway 17 dating from 1920 to 1949. All photographs displayed on this page were taken by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, unless specifically noted otherwise. Historical photographs are arranged in approximate chronological order. Click on any thumbnail to see a larger image!

Please note that all photographs displayed on this website are protected by copyright. These photographs must not be reproduced, published, electronically stored or copied, distributed, or posted onto other websites without my written permission. If you want to use photos from this website, please email me first for permission. Thank-you!

Page 1: Historical King's Highway 17 Photographs (1920 to 1949)


HWY 17 #206

Above - Circa 1930 postcard view of the original steel through truss bridge across the West Branch of the Winnipeg River on Hwy 17 between Kenora and Keewatin. A new steel deck arch bridge was built at this location in 1949, replacing this narrow through truss structure. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo from Cameron Bevers' historical photograph collection  -  Original photographer unknown)





HWY 17 #86

Above - View of Hwy 17 west of Arnprior (ca. 1930)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B984, Photo #16)





HWY 17 #2

Above - North Shore Highway (Hwy 17) at Cavers Hill, looking southwest towards Lake Superior (September, 1935)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B984)

This photo shows the newly-built pass on the North Shore Highway across Cavers Hill in 1935. The rugged ridge forming Cavers Hill juts several kilometres out into Lake Superior, where the land drops precipitously into the lake. The ridge proved to be one of the greatest obstacles in building the North Shore Highway (now Hwy 17) in the 1930s. The route chosen for the highway ran up a steep sided ravine. The highway climbed to a summit 800 feet above the lake in less than 3 km. The steep grade proved troublesome for many vehicles, so the highway was completely relocated onto a revised grade in the early 1960s. The old Cavers Hill alignment seen here now sits abandoned and overgrown in a forest a short distance away from the present Hwy 17. See an Enlarged Photo here.





HWY 17 #52

Above - Circa 1935 postcard view of the Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie Trunk Road (Hwy 17) near Espanola. See an Enlarged Photo here.





HWY 17 #62

Above - Official opening ceremony at the Nipigon River Bridge on Hwy 17 in 1937. The completion of the Nipigon River Bridge was one of the most widely anticipated highway construction projects in Northwestern Ontario's history. The new bridge united the North Shore Highway between Lake Helen and Schreiber with the rest of the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 17) which ran from Nipigon westerly to Port Arthur. Prior to the completion of the Nipigon River Bridge, automobiles had to be transported by rail or by boat between the two discontinuous highways. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on September 24, 1937.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)





HWY 17 #26             HWY 17 #1

Left - Pass across Cavers Hill in 1937, showing the new stone retaining wall at right.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1937)

Right - Nipigon River Bridge on Hwy 17, shortly after opening in September, 1937.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1937)





HWY 17 #46

Above - The new Keewatin Narrows Bridge on Hwy 17 west of Kenora, shown shortly after completion in 1938. This structure is one of the longest bridges on Hwy 17. It is also one of Northern Ontario's most beautiful bridges. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1999, but thankfully all of the ornamental features of the bridge, including the embossed concrete balusters and stylish steel and concrete deck arches were restored to their original 1930s appearance.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1938)





HWY 17 #1132

Above - Western terminus of Hwy 17 at the Ontario-Manitoba Boundary, facing east towards Kenora in 1939. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2017)





HWY 17 #50             HWY 17 #192

Left - Facing west along Hwy 17 towards the Cameron Bay Bridge and Lake of the Woods near Kenora in 1939. The original Cameron Bay Bridge was a timber through truss bridge, similar in design to the famous Sioux Narrows Bridge on Hwy 71. This structure consists of two timber through truss (Howe type) spans and two approach spans. The bridge was completed in 1938. Sadly, this magnificent bridge was demolished in 1970, and replaced by a modern concrete bridge. Compare this Historic 1939 Photo to this Present Day Photo of the east approach to the current Cameron Bay Bridge. Photo taken on September 1, 1939. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B984, Photo #2552S)

Right - Curve on Hwy 17 at Dogtooth Lake, 20 miles east of Kenora in 1939. This photo shows the original gravel highway only a few years after this section of Hwy 17 was first constructed. Note the stack of cedar delineator posts on the right-hand side of the road, waiting to be installed. On the left-hand side of the road is an early distance assurance sign mounted on a pole, indicating that it is 70 miles to Dryden from this point. Photo taken on September 4, 1939. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B984, Photo #2623S)





HWY 17 #48             HWY 17 #47

Left - Facing west along Hwy 17 towards Nipigon from Kama Hill (1939)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)

Right - New asphalt pavement on Hwy 17 west of Kenora (1939)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)





HWY 17 #595

Above - Postcard view of Hwy 17 at the Port Arthur Welcome Arch in 1939. Welcome arches such as this were a common sight at the entrances to many Northern Ontario towns up until the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly all of these welcome arches were built during the 1930s and many of them feature some type of Art Deco-inspired embellishment. Of all the welcome arches that existed in Ontario, the Port Arthur Welcome Arch was the finest example built during the Art Deco period. The arch was blue in colour, and boasted bright neon tube letters and an internally illuminated electric clock above the highway. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)





HWY 17 #53             HWY 17 #54

Left - Circa 1940 postcard view of the original concrete arch bridge over the Aux Sable River in Massey. This historic structure still stands today just to the north of the current Hwy 17 structure in Massey, although it is almost completely hidden by the current bridge. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo from Cameron Bevers' historical photograph collection - Original photographer unknown)

Right - Circa 1940 postcard view of the Serpent River Bridge on Hwy 17 near Cutler. This two-span concrete rigid frame bridge was built in 1937 & 1938. The old structure was replaced with a new concrete girder bridge in 2004. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo from Cameron Bevers' historical photograph collection - Original photographer unknown)





HWY 17 #24             HWY 17 #60

Left - Postcard showing a paved section of Hwy 17 near Kenora with an older-style square curve warning sign (ca. 1940)
(Photo courtesy of Lakewood Studio, Kenora)

Right - Circa 1940 postcard view of Hwy 17 northeast of Port Arthur, showing the Sibley Peninsula's "Sleeping Giant" rock formation. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Photogelatine Engraving Company Ltd.)





HWY 17 #193             HWY 17 #194

Left - Circa 1940 postcard view of Hwy 17 crossing Cavers Hill near Rossport, showing nearby Lake Superior. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)

Right - Circa 1940 postcard view, showing Hwy 17 at Cavers Hill near Rossport. Note the scenic turn-out at right. Although it is hidden in the trees today, this small scenic lookout point can still be found on the old highway alignment at Cavers Hill. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)





HWY 17 #1039

Above - Circa 1940 postcard view of Hwy 17 at Nineteen Hill near Rossport, facing north. This section of the original highway was bypassed during a highway improvement project in the 1950s. The present highway alignment, which runs a short distance to the east of the old highway, has a more gradual grade. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)





HWY 17 #196

Above - Circa 1940 postcard view of the Nipigon River Bridge on Hwy 17, facing west. This large steel deck truss structure was completed in 1937. Note the date of "1937" embossed into the concrete curb at the eastern end of the bridge (lower right corner). This bridge remained in service until 1974, when it was replaced by a new structure with wider traffic lanes. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of The Camera Shop, Port Arthur)





HWY 17 #49

Above - Department of Highways roadside park on Hwy 17 between Orleans and Cumberland (1941)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





HWY 17 #55             HWY 17 #58

Left - Circa 1945 postcard showing an aerial view of the Keewatin Narrows Bridge on Hwy 17. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Lakewood Studio, Kenora)

Right - Postcard view of the Hwy 17 entrance arch to Sault Ste. Marie (ca. 1945)
(Photo from Cameron Bevers' historical photograph collection - Original photographer unknown)





HWY 17 #554             HWY 17 #555

Left - Concrete pavement on Hwy 17, 3 miles east of Wahnapitei in 1947. This interesting photo shows a section of twin-slab concrete pavement laid during a highway construction project that was carried out east of Sudbury in 1939. Note the fully-mountable "rollover" curb and gutter installation on the grade in the foreground. This is likely one of the earliest examples of this type of curb and gutter construction on an Ontario provincial highway. Although it has been slightly modified over the years, this type of curb and gutter design is still in use on Ontario's highways today. Photo taken on June 19, 1947. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - Base course pavement on Hwy 17, 10 miles east of North Bay. Photo taken on October 8, 1947. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1947)





HWY 17 #214

Above - Facing south along Hwy 17 approaching Alona Bay, north of Sault Ste. Marie (1948)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1948)





HWY 17 #37

Above - Preparing to blast rock for the extension of Hwy 17 east of Terrace Bay. Photo taken on July 9, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)





HWY 17 #218             HWY 17 #219

Left - "Wig-Wag" Railway Crossing Signal on Hwy 17 at Selim Hill west of Schreiber in 1949. The dangerous double switchback and level railway crossing on the original 1930s Hwy 17 alignment at Selim Hill was bypassed by a new highway alignment and railway grade separation in 1952. The old alignment of Hwy 17 at Selim Hill is now just an overgrown dirt trail, as seen in this 2004 Photo which I took of the old Selim Hill crossing location. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on July 10, 1949.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-5-122, Box B1030, Photo #251A)

Right - Train approaching the level railway crossing on Hwy 17 at Selim Hill between Schreiber and Rossport in 1949. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on July 10, 1949.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-5-122, Box B1030, Photo #251B)





HWY 17 #30             HWY 17 #31

Left - Old Vermilion River Bridge in 1949, shown shortly before it was removed. This steel truss bridge was dismantled and removed from Hwy 17 near Whitefish and reassembled on a new site on Hwy 64 at North Monetville. Post-war shortages of structural steel resulted in the "recycling" of many steel truss bridges such as this one in the 1940s and 1950s. Photo taken on July 14, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - New Hwy 17 Bridge at the Vermilion River east of Whitefish in 1949. This bridge is still in service today on Former Hwy 17 (Sudbury Road 55). Photo taken on July 14, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)





HWY 17 #29             HWY 17 #36

Left - Construction of the new Mississagi River Bridge on Hwy 17 at Iron Bridge. Photo taken on July 14, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - Grading for new Hwy 17 (Hwy 17 Alt) east of Ottawa, between Greens Creek and Orleans. Photo taken on August 18, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)





HWY 17 #35             HWY 17 #34

Left - New Des Joachims lookout and rest area built by the Department of Highways on Hwy 17 between Mattawa and Petawawa. Photo taken on September 3, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - Temporary Bailey Bridge on Hwy 17 at the English River (1949)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)





HWY 17 #32             HWY 17 #33

Left - New CPR (later known as the OVR) Overhead on Hwy 17 on Des Joachims Diversion. Photo taken on September 3, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - Montreal Road (Hwy 17) and Granville Street in Eastview (now Vanier) in 1949
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)




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