History of King's Highway 72:
King's Highway 72 is a minor collector highway connecting Sioux Lookout to Highway 17 at Dinorwic in the District of Kenora. Highway 72 was first established in the 1930s, when a Department of Northern Development Trunk Road was constructed from the Trans-Canada Highway at Dinorwic to Sioux Lookout. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) in May 1937, showing the proposed assumption of the Dinorwic-Sioux Lookout Trunk Road as a new King's Highway. The entire route was assumed and formally designated as King's Highway 72 on October 6, 1937. Originally, the highway's route split into two roads just south of Sioux Lookout at Patricia. A branch of Highway 72 led from Patricia to the community of Hudson, located about 25 km west of Sioux Lookout. According to some historical sources, including a 1937 publication by the Ontario Motor League, the highway from Patricia to Hudson was actually numbered as Highway 72A. However, DHO records seem to suggest that both routes to Hudson and Sioux Lookout were simply numbered as Highway 72. Initially, Highway 72 was gravel-surfaced for its entire length. A section of Highway 72 from Patricia to Sioux Lookout was paved in 1947, but the rest of the highway was not paved until a major reconstruction of the highway took place in 1967 and 1968. The route to Sioux Lookout was 48 miles (77 km) in length at first, but a series of highway realignments in the 1960s reduced the highway distance between Dinorwic and Sioux Lookout by several miles.
As originally assumed in 1937, the route of Highway 72 ended at the intersection of Wellington Street and Front Street in Downtown Sioux Lookout. The entire route of Highway 72 was under the jurisdiction of the DHO, including the section of Highway 72 within Sioux Lookout. However, the northernmost section of Highway 72 within the Sioux Lookout municipal limits was transferred to the Town of Sioux Lookout, effective April 1, 1972. The transferred section of Highway 72 from May Street to Front Street was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link in 1972. During the 1990s, a truck bypass known as the Ed Ariano Bypass was completed around the southeastern side of Sioux Lookout. The truck bypass connected Highway 72 (First Avenue South) to the Highway 516 & Highway 642 Junction. The Municipal Connecting Link status of Highway 72 from the Ed Ariano Bypass to Front Street was repealed in 1997, leaving only the section from May Street to the Ed Ariano Bypass as a Municipal Connecting Link. Recently, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario acquired the Ed Ariano Bypass as a King's Highway. The entire length of the Ed Ariano Bypass from First Avenue South to the Highway 516 & Highway 642 Junction was designated as a portion of Highway 72, effective November 29, 2006. As a result, Highway 72 now connects directly to Highway 516 and Highway 642, just east of Sioux Lookout. It is interesting to note that the Ed Ariano Bypass portion of Highway 72 was merely signed as "Truck Route" for many years. It is now signed with King's Highway 72 route markers.
Highway 72 passes through exclusively rural areas along its 69 km route. There are no communities of any significant size along Highway 72, other than Dinorwic and Sioux Lookout, located at the southern and northern ends of the highway, respectively. Presently, Highway 72 is the third-most northern King's Highway in Ontario. Highway 72 is a two-lane highway from Dinorwic to Sioux Lookout. Services are not available along Highway 72, other than in Dinorwic and Sioux Lookout. Moose are quite common along Highway 72. These enormous animals can often be seen crossing the highway corridor. This represents a serious collision hazard, because these animals are difficult for motorists to see at night. Slow down and be prepared for moose if you plan to use Highway 72 at night. The speed limit on Highway 72 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 72 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 72.
Additional Information About King's Highway 72: