History of King's Highway 22:
King's Highway 22 was a minor collector highway which ran from the Highway 7 & Highway 79 Junction near Watford to the Highway 4 Junction in London. Until the 1980s, the highway formed part of an important through route between London and Sarnia. However, the completion of Highway 402 in the early 1980s substantially reduced the importance of Highway 22. In 1997-1998, the highway was downloaded in its entirety to the Counties of Lambton and Middlesex.
The history of Highway 22 dates back to the late 1920s, when a new provincial highway was designated across Middlesex and Lambton Counties. Preliminary Route Plans were prepared by the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) dated May 17, 1927, which showed the proposed route of a new Provincial Highway between the Highway 7 Junction north of Watford and the Highway 4 Junction north of London, via Strathroy. The section of the proposed highway within Middlesex County was assumed by the DPHO on July 2, 1927, while the section of the proposed highway in Lambton County was assumed on July 13, 1927. The new route was designated as Provincial Highway 22 (See Map). The section of the route which passed through the Town of Strathroy was not assumed by the DPHO, and thus that section of Highway 22 remained under municipal jurisdiction. The new highway was approximately 35 miles (56 km) in length, including the non-assumed section of the route which passed through Strathroy. It may be of interest to note that some gasoline company road maps from the 1920s and 1930s erroneously show Highway 22 paired with Highway 7 in a concurrent routing between Sarnia and Watford. Although there was a period when these two routes shared a concurrent routing in the 1960s, this was not the case during the earliest years of the highway's existence. Provincial Highway 22 was re-designated as King's Highway 22 in 1930.
As the time of assumption in 1927, the entire route of Highway 22 was gravel-surfaced. A 6-mile section of Highway 22 was paved between Hyde Park Corners and Lobo in 1927. A 5-mile section of Highway 22 was paved in 1928 between Lobo and Hickory Corner. During 1929, a contract was completed which saw a 22-mile section of the highway paved in the Watford and Strathroy area. The last gravel section on Highway 22 between Hyde Park Corners and the Highway 4 Junction at Masonville was paved with a concrete surface in 1930.
As originally established in 1927, the route of Highway 22 was not assumed through the Town of Strathroy. Provincial jurisdiction of Highway 22 was extended through the eastern and western portions of Strathroy during 1928 and 1929. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DPHO dated October 15, 1928, which showed the proposed assumption of Metcalfe Street from Arthur Street to the eastern limits of Strathroy as a Provincial Highway. This municipally-owned section of Highway 22 was assumed by the DPHO on November 14, 1928. Another Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DPHO which showed the proposed assumption of Albert Street from Victoria Street to the western limits of Strathroy as a Provincial Highway. This section of Albert Street was assumed by the DPHO on January 13, 1929. The balance of Highway 22 between Victoria Street and Arthur Street in Strathroy remained under municipal jurisdiction.
Significant changes were made to the route of Highway 22 during the 1940s. Highway 22 was extended south from the Highway 4 Junction at Masonville to London in 1940. The route of Highway 22 was signed concurrently with Highway 4 between Masonville and the Highway 2 Junction (Dundas Street) in Downtown London. This extension from Masonville to London added approximately 4 miles (6 km) to the length of Highway 22. After World War II, plans were developed to bypass a significant section of Highway 22, which passed through Strathroy and Watford. Preliminary Route Plans were prepared dated August 17, 1946, which showed the proposed diversion of Highway 22 between the Highway 7 Junction northeast of Watford and Hickory Corner. This new, more direct highway route of Highway 22 was assumed by the province on April 16, 1947. The new highway alignment bypassed both Strathroy and Watford and shortened the distance between Sarnia and London by approximately 5 miles (8 km). The old alignment of Highway 22 via Strathroy was decommissioned as a King's Highway, except for the section between Watford and the Highway 7 Junction, which became an extension of Highway 79. The new alignment of Highway 22 remained a gravel road until in was finally paved in 1952. Mysteriously, the old route of Highway 22 between Watford and Hickory Corner appeared on some maps from the 1950s as Highway 22A. The old route of Highway 22 via Strathroy is known today as Middlesex County Road 39 and Lambton County Road 39.
During the 1960s, the route of Highway 22 was reportedly overlapped with Highway 7 from the junction northeast of Watford to Sarnia. Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) mileage tables issued during the early to mid-1960s report the western terminus of Highway 22 as being the Highway 7 Junction (Christina Street) in Sarnia, with a total highway length of 61.9 miles (99.7 km). However, Official Ontario Road Maps issued throughout the 1960s indicate that the route from Sarnia to Watford was signed as Highway 7 only. By the end of the 1960s, DHO mileage tables indicate that the route of Highway 22 ended at the Highway 7 Junction northeast of Watford, which matched the route of Highway 22 shown of the Official Road Map.
As the City of London expanded during the 1950s and 1960s, the city limits were extended to the northwest through an annexation of adjacent London Township in 1961. As as result, a 0.6 mile (1 km) provincially-owned section of Highway 4 & Highway 22 from Huron Street to the Thames River Bridge was transferred from the province to the City of London, effective May 27, 1961. As well, a 0.75 mile (1.2 km) section of Highway 22 lying west of the Highway 4 Junction at Masonville was transferred from the province to the City of London, effective June 17, 1961. This was followed up in 1963, when a large section of Highway 4 & Highway 22 lying between the Thames River Bridge and the Highway 22 turn-off at Masonville was transferred from the province to the City of London. This section of the highway reverted to local jurisdiction on January 12, 1963. During 1973, the route of Highway 22 was changed again through the City of London. Rather than turn south via Highway 4 at Masonville, Highway 22 was extended east from Masonville along Fanshawe Park Road to connect with Highway 126 (Highbury Avenue). The old concurrent route of Highway 4 & Highway 22 leading into Downtown London was discontinued in 1973. Curiously, the overlapped route of Highway 4 & Highway 22 through London had been omitted from DHO mileage tables as early as 1968, although the overlapped route from Masonville to Downtown London continued to be marked as Highway 4 & Highway 22 on the Official Ontario Road Map right up until 1973. The section of Highway 22 via Fanshawe Park Road from the Highway 4 Junction at Masonville to the Highway 126 Junction was most likely a city-posted route at first, since the Ministry of Transportation's mileage logs continued to indicate that Highway 22 ended at Highway 4. The Official Ontario Road Maps from 1973 to 1996 show that Highway 22 continued east between the Highway 4 Junction at Masonville and Highway 126. The non-assumed section of Highway 22 via Fanshawe Park Road within the limits of the City of London was formally designated as a Municipal Connecting Link by an Order-in-Council, effective August 10, 1977. This included the city-posted route of Highway 22 between Masonville and Highbury Avenue.
During the 1990s, the entire route of Highway 22 was decommissioned. A 5.5 km section of Highway 22 was transferred from the province to the newly-expanded City of London in 1993. The province transferred the section of Highway 22 from the former city limits near Derwent Road to the revised city limits east of Denfield Road on August 19, 1993. The section of Highway 22 from the Highway 81 Junction westerly to the Highway 7 & Highway 79 Junction was transferred to the Counties of Lambton and Middlesex on March 31, 1997. The sections of Highway 22 that were still designated as Municipal Connecting Links within the City of London had their designation revoked by a Minister's Order on September 16, 1997. The last surviving section of Highway 22 from the Highway 81 Junction easterly to the new London City Limits near Denfield Road was transferred to the County of Middlesex on January 1, 1998. The former route of King's Highway 22 is now known as Lambton County Road 22, Middlesex County Road 22 and Fanshawe Park Road within the City of London.
Highway 22 traverses a predominantly rural region of Southwestern Ontario. Apart from the City of London, the highway passes through only a handful of small communities along its 46 km route. Services are available in most communities along Highway 22. Most sections of Highway 22 are two lanes, but some parts of the highway near London have been widened to four lanes. The speed limit on rural sections of Highway 22 is 90 km/h (55 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 22 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 22.
Additional Information About King's Highway 22: