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Road Trips - Highway 401
King's Highway 401 also known as the four-oh-one is 816.6 kilometers (507.4 mi) long and stretching from Windsor through Toronto to the Quebec border.
The posted speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) throughout its length.
Highway 401 begins at Huron Church Road in Windsor. The section of Highway 401 from Windsor to London (especially west of Tilbury) has the nickname Carnage Alley and is known for deadly car accidents and pile-ups. This section is always overloaded with police cars.
Highway 401 widens to a total of 18 lanes south of Toronto Pearson International Airport but still is often congested in this section.
Highway 401 features about 19 service centers witch were completely rebuild and reopened in 2010-2011.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Winter road conditions
The road conditions aren't always that good during the winter due to snow and ice rain. on this website :
you can see what the roadconditions are per road per region. On the picture you see the map of the south central region on 27th of November.
Green road : Bare & dry
Blue road : Bare & wet
Yellow road : Partially snow covered
White road : snow covered
Purple road : snow packed
Orange road : slushy
Red road : icy
Black/blue road : poor to nil visibility.
The website is constant update during the winter, so you have an up to date view of the road conditions.
Winter road conditions
Another useful website to see the roadconditions is :
Winter Road Conditions Reports are made available during the winter months, from the end of October to April each year.
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The Bruce Peninsula-Manitoulin Island ferry
Hiking the Bruce Peninsula was one of our main objectives on this trip and once we had done that, I did not want to have to make the long drive back around the south shore of Georgian Bay in order to continue our westward trip. Thanks to the government of Ontario, the car/truck ferry MS 'Chi-Cheemaun' provides transporation service between Tobermory (on the tip of the peninsula) and Manitoulin Island which is connected to the northern mainland by a small bridge. It can be a busy run in the peak tourist months of July/August, so I made advance reservations by phone with the Owen Sound Transportation Company. Securing passage on the 11:20 AM crossing from Tobermory on July 17 cost C$34.70 for the car, $31.90 for two adults and $20 for an optional Guarantee to ensure passage if you arrive late at the boarding line-up.
According to Wikipedia, this $12 million ferry was built by the now defunct Collingwood Shipyard on the south shore of Georgian Bay and entered service in 1974. The Motor Ship 'Chi-Cheemaun', meaning 'big canoe' in the language of the local Ojibwe aborignals, weighs 6,990 gross tons, is 365 ft (111 m) in length and 62 ft (19 m) wide and has a top speed of about 16 knots (30-kph). It is capable of carrying 648 passengers and 240 vehicles including transport trucks and busses. Loading/unloading is carried out by means of a bow that can hinge upward and a square stern door, allowing vehicles to drive-on one end and drive-out the other. Because the ferry does not have ice-breaking capability, it runs seasonally during the ice-free period from mid-May to mid-October. The 'Chi-Cheemaun' makes the 25-mile (40-km) trip in about 1¾ hours 4 times per day during peak season and 2 times a day during May and October. We enjoyed our little cruise!Related to:
- Road Trip
You can't do without a car in Canada
Well, you can but it is not easy if you want to explore parts of the country that are a long way from any large cities. In our case, in 2007 I took up my new job in Regina, Saskatchewan so fast that we had to leave our 2004 Honda Accord behind in Fredericton, NB as Sue and I drove west through the USA in our older 1996 Chrysler. Once I was settled in, Sue flew back to Fredericton and used the Honda until she flew out to join me 8 months later, leaving the car behind.
This time, we both flew back to New Brunswick to attend a wedding and then made the return trip a vacation as we finally drove the Honda out to Regina. The rear seats were loaded with four winter tires already mounted on their rims and the trunk had two suitcases, a travel bag, two backpacks, a sewing machine, a small food cooler, a laptop and a few other odds and ends. Everything went well as we cruised along mostly on cruise-control at about 110-115 kph on the open highways. With gasoline prices ranging from $0.85 to $1.03 per litre (average $0.96) we ended up spending $302 for fuel and the car averaged almost 39 miles/Imperial gallon (or 7.3 litres/100 km). It was great cruising along with the air conditioner running and listening to CDs as we enjoyed the passing countryside.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
The 400-series of roads in Ontario are a nicely maintained and routed set of highways.
Route 401 traverses the whole southern border of the province from Quebec to Detroit.
Route 402 extends route 401's access up to Lake Huron.
Route 403 connects route 401 to the eastern tip of Lake Ontario.
Routes 405 and 407 extend route 401 to the Niagara Falls area.
Route 406 pushes down towards Lake Erie from route 405.
Route 400 traverses Ontario from south to north.
Route 416 connects route 401 to route 417.
Routes 417/17 traverse Ontario on its northern borders.
Route 420 connects Buffalo to Niagara Falls.
You cannot go anywhere in Ontario without making some use of this fine set of highways.Related to:
- Road Trip
407 Electronic Toll Route
Ontario's only toll route is Highway 407. It is unusual in that there are no toll booths anywhere along the 407. As an electronic toll route a photo of the license plate is taken when each car enters the 407 and then again at the exit. Based on that, a bill is sent to whomever the vehicle is registered to. (Those who travel the 407 frequently can acquire a transponder) It is a convenient way to be billed for tolls, however visitors to Ontario are sometimes caught unawares by this and subsequently become upset.
Drive the Trans Canada Highway
Many Ontarians take a short cut through the US when heading out to western Canada. I really enjoyed the extra kilometres that I travelled along the Trans Canada north over Lake Superior from Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay. There is wonderful scenery and many provincial parks to camp at along the way.
This photo was taken near Marathon.Related to:
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
And this is where Stayner is
Here is a map where you can see where my 'homebase' has been for the year that I lived in Ontario. It is a little village called Stayner, about 1 1/2 north of Toronto, 30 minutes west of Barrie, and about 20 minutes east of Collingwood.
The easiest way to get to Stayner from Toronto is by taking "Airport Road" Which goes directly from Toronto Airport to Stayner. It's a two lane road, so it isn't that quickly driving, but it is the most direct way to get here. And besides being the shortest route it is also a scenic road, so it's fun to drive.
The other way is to take highway 400 to Barrie, and there take the 26 west to Stayner.
Salt and sand for the roads
In almost every village you'll find these strange buildings. They are for storage of sand and salt that is used in the winter months for the icy roads. There is a lot of snow in this area, so this is no luxery at all.
Of course it is nice to have visable what the roads are like, and that is also possible through this website :
Here you can click on a map and get the webcam of that stretch of road. This way you always have an up to date view of the road you want to travel. You can't see all the roads in Ontario though, the webcams are mainly in the Greater Toronto area.
How far is it?
Planning a trip, but don't know how far it is? This website can help you out :
60 cities in Ontario are listed on this website and you can calculate the distance between the two places. From Toronto to Tobermory for example is 300km (186 miles).
The calculated distances are based on each location’s city hall and are rounded to the nearest 5 kilometres.
Another website that I like very much is this online roadmap :
With this website you can click on a part of the map of Ontario, and get the roadmap for that area. You can zoom in very good on an area, so it makes the map easy to read. Another option is to go to the index of place-names, and search the map that way. The maps are quite large, so it might take some time to download.
Family mini-vans are the best bet
One can enter Ontario from the USA via road from 3 sides - New York-Niagra, Detroit-Windsor and Lake Huron.
The best airlines serving Toronto is British Airways.
The best way to discover Ontario is to use family mini-vans. this is because of large distances and vans tend to be economical. However, one caution: if you have to rent out mini-vans in summer, do so well in advance. These are not available on short notice, as all of them get rented out. Furthermore, short notice rents are on the higher side (above CAD $ 700).
Seen only a little chunk of it ..
This map gives me a clear view of the shape of Ontario and which countries it borders....and a better view of where I have been :-)
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