Macdonald-Cartier Freeway Signs - Highway 401 (Used from 1965 to ca. 1993)
In 1965, Hwy 401 was designated as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway. The naming took place to
honour two of Canada's Fathers of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George E.
Cartier. New shield signs were installed alongside each Hwy 401 route marker. The new signs
were similar to regular King's Highway signs, except that they were white-on-blue in colour,
as opposed to black-on-white. The signs made no reference to Ontario (as they were always
supposed to be co-signed with normal Hwy 401 shields), and read "M-C FREEWAY" or "AUTOROUTE
M-C FREEWAY". The M-C Freeway signs are 64 cm by 45 cm (25 5/8" by 18", at the widest point).
The signs were used for about three decades, but were slowly discontinued beginning around
1993. It is assumed that this was due to cost-cutting, but this is not an established fact.
The last of these signs was removed in 2014. These are pictures of regular and bilingual
Macdonald-Cartier Freeway signs:
Left: Photograph taken by Cameron Bevers © 2002
Right: Photograph courtesy of Malcolm MacPherson © 2002
In addition to the shields along the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, there were also large blue
signs installed at various points along the highway. These signs were introduced in 1965,
and were phased out in the early 1980s. This is a picture of a blue Macdonald-Cartier
Freeway sign, taken near Toronto International Airport in 1978:
Above: Photograph courtesy of Averill Hecht © 1978