Ontario Road Builders – History

lord-simcoeOntario’s First Road Builder

Credit to Ontario’s first road builder should go to John Graves Simcoe the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, or what we know today as Southern Ontario. Simcoe Day is the aptly named long weekend holiday in August. One Simcoe’s first tasks was to build roads north into the Georgian Bay area as there was a need to develop Military outposts in anticipation of the upcoming disputes over borders with the Americans, following the American Revolution The development of Hwy 11 North was the first military Highway from Toronto to Lake Toronto, or what is known today as Lake Simcoe. John Graves Simcoe history and his contribution to road building can be found at Ontario Heritage Trust John Graves Simcoe. the Historical Plaque Historical plaques in Ontario on John Graves Simcoe, his wife Elizabeth can be seen at Ontario Historical Plaques.

Ontario Road Trivia

Lord Simcoe? How names get mixed up

John Graves Simcoe was never a Lord, however because a hotel in Toronto was named the Lord Simcoe Hotel many people associate his name as being a Lord and it continues to stick.


The Ontario Road to James Bay that never was built.

The Arctic- Tropic Overland Trail was dreamed up in 1916, intended to run from Miami to James Bay in northern Ontario. Michigan’s proposed portion included contemporary U.S. 23 from Toledo to Saginaw, U.S. 10 from Saginaw to Clare, U.S. 27 from Clare to Grayling and I-75 to Sault Ste. Marie. The Ontario portion never was built. Pub. Note. This is a pity as it would open up a significant portion of Northern Ontario for future development and growth.

“A Drive Down Memory Lane: The Named State and Federal Highways of Michigan,” by LeRoy Barnett