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This page contains historical photos of Ontario's Queen Elizabeth Way dating from 1939 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 2: Historical Queen Elizabeth Way Photographs (1939 to 1949)


QEW #93             QEW #90

Left - Facing east along the Queen Elizabeth Way towards the Martindale Road Overpass and Henley Bridge in 1939. This great historic photo shows the new grade separation at Martindale Road virtually completed, with some work taking place along the semi-cloverleaf ramps and the paved concrete roadways of the Queen Elizabeth Way below the structure. Paving of the Queen Elizabeth Way was completed from just west of Martindale Road to Ontario Street before winter set in. The rest of the highway from Stoney Creek to Niagara Falls was paved in 1940. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on September 21, 1939.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #2337S)

Right - Looking east along the Queen Elizabeth Way towards the completed Patton & Ontario Street Overpasses in Grimsby in 1939. Note the small sign to the right of the highway, which reads "Next Turn Right Grimsby". Early Ontario highway signs tended to be quite "wordy", since engineers at that time did not fully understand about how motorists interpreted highway signs. As more research was done with respect to highway sign legibility and comprehension by motorists, graphics began to supplant many commonly-used words on our early highway signs. This sign was ultimately replaced with a more simplified sign, which just ready "Grimsby" with a right-pointing arrow. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on November 22, 1939.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #2465S)





QEW #280

Above - Completed Henley Course Bridge on the Queen Elizabeth Way near St. Catharines. Photo taken on November 23, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)





QEW #30             QEW #31

Left - View of the completed Henley Course Bridge on the Queen Elizabeth Way in St. Catharines. Photo taken on November 22, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)

Right - Radial railway & dual highway grade separation on the Queen Elizabeth Way in St. Catharines. Photo taken on November 29, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)





QEW #33             QEW #32

Left - New Queen Elizabeth Way grade separation under construction at the CPR tracks near Kipling Avenue. Photo taken on November 25, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)

Right - Completed Kipling Avenue Overpass on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Etobicoke Township. Photo taken on November 25, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1939)





QEW #89             QEW #91

Left - Graded Queen Elizabeth Way at Jordan Harbour west of St. Catharines, facing west towards Grimsby. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on November 22, 1939.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #2467S)

Right - Queen Elizabeth Way at the Hwy 8 Junction at Homer, looking west from the Homer Lift Bridge in 1939. This photo shows the graded Queen Elizabeth Way roadways, facing west from the old Homer lift bridge. The Cushman Road Underpass can be seen on the Queen Elizabeth Way in the background. This portion of the Queen Elizabeth Way was bypassed in 1963, when the Garden City Skyway opened to traffic just a short distance to the north. In this photo, detour signs are in place at the junction to encourage through traffic to utilize Hwy 8 instead of the Queen Elizabeth Way, which was not fully completed at the time. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, little attempt was made to barricade roads which were under construction. Consequently, motorists would frequently drive upon newly-built roads months (and in some cases, years) before the highway was officially "opened" to traffic. Today, engineers with the Ministry of Transportation conduct a very thorough inspection of a newly-built highway before allowing any traffic to use it. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on November 29, 1939.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #2519S)






QEW #42

Above - Elizabeth Regina "ER" Highway Sign on the Queen Elizabeth Way at the Sheridan Diversion northeast of Oakville in 1940. These special "ER" highway signs were in use from the highway initial dedication in 1939 up until the mid-1950s, when they replaced with the more familiar "QEW" route markers which are still used on the highway to this day. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on February 20, 1940.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-3, Box A1352, Photo #2617S)





QEW #94             QEW #92

Left - Queen Elizabeth Way looking west towards Grimsby Beach Road (later Park Road) Overpass in 1939. This grade-separation was one of four highway overpasses built in Grimsby in 1938. A diamond interchange was eventually built at Grimsby Beach Road, as part of an effort to improve highway access points within Grimsby. The Grimsby Beach Road Overpass was replaced with a new underpass and interchange at nearby Bartlett Avenue in 1972-1973. As part of this reconstruction contract, the old bridge seen here was back-filled and the new highway was built on top of it. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on November 29, 1939.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #2517S)

Right - Queen Elizabeth Way facing east towards the Niagara and Vine Street Cloverleaf in St. Catharines in 1940. This photo shows the completed concrete paving along the Queen Elizabeth Way, and the new highway lighting system being installed. See an Enlarged Photo here. Photo taken on August 21, 1940.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #3068S)





QEW #125             QEW #126

Left - Facing east along QEW near Old Hwy 25 junction at Guelph Line (August 15, 1940)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #3040S)

Right - QEW facing north towards Hwy 2 junction from Burlington Beach (August 16, 1940)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #3043S)





QEW #34             QEW #36

Left - Construction of new QEW railway overhead at CNR tracks west of Toronto. Photo taken on April 1, 1940.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1940)

Right - QEW Monument in the median of the dual highway, just west of Toronto (1941)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





QEW #101

Above - Martindale Road Cloverleaf on QEW near St. Catharines (1940)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2, Box B983, Photo #3266S)





QEW #103

Above - Cloverleaf interchange construction at QEW & Hwy 27, facing east towards Toronto (1940)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-3 Photo #3262S)

This photograph shows the area around the Hwy 27 (now Hwy 427) and QEW interchange in 1940. The fields in the lower left corner are now the site of the Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre. Evans Avenue can be seen to the right of the QEW, while Queen Street (Queensway) can be seen to the left of the QEW. Also, note the construction crew at centre left and upper left removing the old curved pavement of the former Queen Street-to-Middle Road transfer. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #124

Above - QEW facing east towards Toronto from Church Street Overpass (October 8, 1940)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  - Series RG-14-162-3 Photo #3112S)

This photograph shows a newly-opened section of the QEW through Etobicoke Township. Church Street was later renamed Royal York Road. The overpass in the background is Grand Avenue.





QEW #562

Above - Queen Elizabeth Way at Grimsby, facing east towards St. Catharines from the Patton Street Overpass in 1941. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





QEW #37             QEW #38

Left - QEW Monument at the end of the highway, just west of Toronto (1941)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)

Right - Close-up of QEW Monument west of Toronto in 1941, showing the inscription in the stone. As a result of a highway widening project in the mid-1970s, the QEW Monument was moved from its old location in the QEW's median to a public park at the mouth of the Humber River.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





QEW #35

Above - Wartime traffic volumes on the QEW at Grimsby in 1941. Business and commercial vehicles outnumbered passenger vehicles at a ratio of 6 to 2.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





QEW #95             QEW #44

Left - Construction of Victoria Avenue Overpass at Newman Hill in Niagara Falls (February 26, 1941)
Photo © Archives of Ontario (Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B983, Photo #3353S)

Right - The new Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. Bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1941
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1941)





QEW #250

Above - QEW Monument west of Humber River Bridge (November 14, 1941)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-151-21-50 Photo #A05467)

This photograph shows the new monument erected in the median of the QEW in 1940 to commemorate the completion of the highway. This beautiful structure graced the Toronto entrance to the QEW until 1974, when a highway widening project forced its removal. Due to the fortunate foresight of historians and the MTO, the monument was relocated to an adjacent park for future generations to enjoy. Sadly, this example of historical preservation is an exception rather than the rule. Ontario's highway heritage continues to disappear at an alarming rate.





QEW #45

Above - View across Rainbow Bridge from the Toll Plaza/Customs Buildings (1942)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1942)





QEW #46             QEW #47

Left - New Toll Plaza and landscaped entrance in front of Rainbow Bridge (1942)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1942)

Right - QEW approach to Bridge at Newman Hill, showing overpass at Victoria Avenue (1942)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1942)





QEW #48

Above - View of the new Rainbow Bridge from the Customs Building parking lot (1942)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1942)





QEW #39A             QEW #40

Left - Department of Highways Roadside park on QEW at Jordan Harbour (1943)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1943)

Right - Aerial view of Queen Elizabeth Way approaching Jordan Harbour from the west (1944)
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1944)





QEW #41

Above - American motorists arriving in Ontario by the hundreds at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie on Labour Day Weekend, 1945. The end of World War II brought about an unprecedented increase in tourism in Ontario. Motor travel had been severely restricted during the War due to gasoline rationing. This photo clearly illustrates the universal desire of motorists to "Hit the Road" again after six years of seemingly endless hostilities in Europe and the Pacific.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1945)





QEW #58

Above - Circa 1945 postcard view of an undivided four-lane section of the Queen Elizabeth Way approaching the Oakville Bridge. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo courtesy of Jack H. Bain)





QEW #543

NEW Above - Aerial view of the Queen Elizabeth Way in St. Catharines, facing east towards the Niagara Street Cloverleaf (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  RG-14-162-3, Box B1038, Volume #5, Photo #45)

This aerial photo shows a virtually empty Queen Elizabeth Way through St. Catharines. Apart from some sporadic Post-War development around the Niagara Street Cloverleaf, there was nothing but open space along the highway through St. Catharines at that time. However, it was not to last. Substantial land development in the northern part of St. Catharines in the 1950s resulted in increased amounts of local traffic crossing the Queen Elizabeth Way at various access points. At the time of the Niagara Street Cloverleaf's construction in 1939, the short acceleration and deceleration tapers at the cloverleaf were not an issue. Through traffic was light, so local traffic wishing to enter or exit the highway could do so with considerable ease. Unfortunately, as through traffic on the Queen Elizabeth Way became heavier, the lack of space for local traffic to merge or diverge at the highway became a serious traffic bottleneck, as traffic slowed to a crawl to access the ramps. The Department of Highways quickly took action, and replaced the outdated 1939 Cloverleaf at Niagara Street with a new interchange in 1963-1964. It is interesting to note in this historic 1947 photo that service roads already existed alongside the Queen Elizabeth Way through St. Catharines, representing an early attempt by the Department of Highways to control access to and from the high-speed motorway. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #544

NEW Above - Aerial view of the Rainbow Bridge Approach Traffic Circle on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Niagara Falls (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  RG-14-162-3, Photo #972-6)

In 1941, a new traffic circle was constructed at the junction of the Queen Elizabeth Way and the new Rainbow Bridge Approach (today's Hwy 420) in Niagara Falls. Originally, this junction was supposed to be a grade-separated interchange, but due to the growing shortages of construction materials and labour caused by World War II, it was decided that a traffic circle would be sufficient to handle the anticipated traffic volumes for the foreseeable future. In fact, the traffic circle remained in service right up until the early 1970s, when the current multi-level interchange at the Queen Elizabeth Way and Hwy 420 was built in 1971-1972. The Rainbow Bridge lies to the east (left in this photo), while the top of this photo faces south towards Fort Erie. The Lundy's Lane (Hwy 3A & Hwy 20) Cloverleaf can be seen in the background. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #234

Above - Aerial view of the Hwy 3A & Hwy 20 (Lundy's Lane) Cloverleaf on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Niagara Falls (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  RG-14-162-3, 972-62, Photo #42)

This aerial photo shows the now-removed cloverleaf interchange at Lundy's Lane (Hwy 3A & Hwy 20) and the QEW, facing southwest. This interchange was replaced in the 1970s by a new interchange at the QEW and the Rainbow Bridge Approach (Hwy 420). The original Lundy's Lane overpass (completed in 1940) still stands today. Note that in this photo, the concrete pavement on the QEW ended just beyond the cloverleaf. Due to post-war shortages of construction materials and other economic factors, the QEW remained a gravel road from the Lundy's Lane Cloverleaf to Fort Erie for many years. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #246

Above - Rainbow Bridge Approach on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Niagara Falls (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG 14-162-5-166, Photo #972-86)

This aerial photo shows the Dorchester Road Traffic Circle on the Rainbow Bridge Approach at the Queenston-Chippawa Power Canal. The Rainbow Bridge Approach (now Hwy 420) connects with the QEW at the second traffic circle in the background. The Lundy's Lane Cloverleaf on the QEW can be seen at the top of this photo. All three junctions were replaced in the 1970s with the reconstruction and widening of the Rainbow Bridge Approach.





QEW #248

Above - Burlington Interchange on the Queen Elizabeth Way facing south towards Hamilton (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG 14-162-5-166, Photo #972-32)

This aerial photo shows the original 1936 Burlington Interchange, facing south towards Downtown Hamilton. Originally, the Queen Elizabeth Way approached the interchange from Toronto (lower left of photo). To stay on the QEW for Niagara, drivers had to exit the highway at the trumpet interchange. The road continuing straight through the interchange became Plains Road which led to Hamilton. In the late 1950s, the QEW was diverted around this interchange to meet up with the proposed Hwy 403 at Freeman. The original 1936 overpass was retained to provide access from Plains Road to the Niagara-bound QEW until 1984, when it was demolished to make way for the widened Burlington Skyway approach. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #247

Above - Burlington Interchange on the Queen Elizabeth Way facing east towards Burlington Beach (1947)
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG 14-162-5-166, Photo #972-33)

This aerial photo shows the original Burlington Interchange, facing east towards Burlington Beach. What makes this photo especially interesting is the absence of the high-level Burlington Bay Skyway, which was still being designed when this photo was taken. See an Enlarged Photo here.





QEW #85

Above - Looking west along the Queen Elizabeth Way at the Hwy 10 Cloverleaf at Port Credit on May 10, 1947. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  RG-14-162-3, Cont. A1367, Photo #6652)





QEW #264

Above - Aerial view of the Queen Elizabeth Way approaching Patton Street (now Christie Street) in Grimsby in 1947, facing east. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  RG-14-162-5-166, 972-39, Photo #49)





QEW #652

Above - Resurfaced section of the Queen Elizabeth Way at Lower Middle Road (Royal Windsor Drive) east of Oakville . Photo taken on November 10, 1947.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1947)





QEW #281

Above - View of the Queen Elizabeth Way in Grimsby during the spring blossom in 1949. Sadly, many of the fruit trees adjacent to the QEW were cut down over the years in an effort to improve highway safety and to make room for additional traffic lanes and interchanges along the highway. As a result, scenes like this one are much less common today than during the early years of the QEW.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)





QEW #96

Above - Newman Hill and Victoria Avenue Overpass on the Rainbow Bridge Approach on the Queen Elizabeth Way on May 6, 1949. See an Enlarged Photo here.
(Photo © Archives of Ontario  -  Series RG-14-162-2-27, Box B984, Photo #11)





QEW #16             QEW #15

Left - Bituminous penetration paving operations underway on the Queen Elizabeth Way near Tea Creek north of Fort Erie. Photo taken on September 15, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)

Right - Queen Elizabeth Way, 4 miles south of Niagara Falls shortly after bituminous penetration paving was completed. Photo taken on September 15, 1949.
(Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Transportation  -  © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1949)




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