History of King's Highway 95:
King's Highway 95 was a local highway in the County of Frontenac which served Wolfe Island, an island township lying in the middle of the St. Lawrence River near Kingston. Highway 95 ran from north-to-south across Wolfe Island, while adjacent Highway 96 ran from east-to-west across the island. The two highways serving Wolfe Island were unique routes in Ontario's provincial highway network, in that both highways were physically separated from the mainland. In fact, they were Ontario's only King's Highways that were not connected to the rest of the highway system by a fixed road link (i.e. a bridge or a tunnel). These two highways are connected to Highway 2 in Downtown Kingston by a year-round ferry service.
The history of Highway 95 dates back to 1934, when a new King's Highway was established on Wolfe Island by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO). A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DHO dated May 23, 1934, which showed the proposed assumption of the Turnpike Road between Marysville and Point Alexandria as a new King's Highway. The new north-south highway was assumed by the DHO on July 25, 1934, and was subsequently assigned the King's Highway 95 designation. The new highway was approximately 7 miles (12 km) in length. Highway 95 began at the Kingston-Marysville Ferry Dock and ran southerly across Wolfe Island to the Port Alexandria-Cape Vincent Ferry Dock. The following year, Highway 96 was also assumed, which resulted in a short concurrent route between Highway 95 and Highway 96 through Marysville, Wolfe Island's only major community. Highway 95 was initially a gravel-surfaced highway, but it was paved in 1960. Apart from a minor realignment near Stevenson Lane, the route of Highway 95 has remained unchanged since the 1930s. On January 1, 1998, Highway 95 was downloaded to the Township of Frontenac Islands. Although it is now a township road, the route is still often referred to as "Highway 95" by motorists. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 95 is 80 km/h (50 mph). The only services on Wolfe Island are located in Marysville, at the north end of Highway 95. Please visit the Highway 95 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 95.
For Ontario highway enthusiasts, Wolfe Island provides a fascinating look into the past. As noted above, Wolfe Island's Highway 95 and Highway 96 have changed very little since they were designated as provincial highways back in the 1930s. The traffic volumes on Wolfe Island are negligible, so the roads have not been upgraded to the same modern standards commonly seen on mainland King's Highways. While Highway 95 is paved from end-to-end, the road has no shoulders in most places. The highway lanes are a bit narrower than those seen on mainland highways and the pavement is a coarser type, that is usually employed for use on Secondary Highways. There are some very sharp bends, particularly on the southern leg of Highway 95 near Port Alexandria. Also, the trees lying within the highway's right-of-way were left in place. Roadside trees on mainland King's Highways are very rarely seen, as most were removed in the 1950s and 1960s as highways were widened or were cut down to eliminate collision hazards. On Wolfe Island, there are many tree-lined sections on Highway 95, where the trees are scarcely a metre or two from the edge of the pavement. The presence of roadside trees can pose a collision hazard on high-speed, high traffic volume roads. However, Wolfe Island's two highways are quiet for the most part, and the adjacent trees are a welcome change from the standard Ontario provincial highway where the trees have been cut far back from the highway. Wolfe Island provides road enthusiasts with a rare insight into the construction style and standards of Ontario's pre-war King's Highways. If you are ever in the Kingston area, Wolfe Island makes a nice day trip.
Wolfe Island Ferry Information: The ferry to Wolfe Island from Downtown Kingston is run by the Ministry of Transportation. The ferry crossing from Kingston takes about 25 minutes, with service offered at regular intervals throughout the day (see MTO's Kingston-area Ferry Schedules Page). The Wolfe Island Ferry can accommodate approximately 55 vehicles and 330 passengers per trip. There is no toll to utilize the Wolfe Island Ferry and service is offered year-round. However, in the winter months, the Wolfe Island Ferry arrives and departs from the Dawson's Point Dock, located about 5 km east of Marysville off of Highway 96. At the south end of Highway 95, a privately-operated ferry service (the Hornes Ferry) links Wolfe Island with Cape Vincent, New York. There is a toll for utilizing this international ferry and service is offered from May to October only. A schedule of the Hornes Ferry times and a summary of tolls can be viewed at the Hornes Ferry Website.
Additional Information About King's Highway 95: