Skip to content

REMEMBER THIS: Going back in time on Highway 400 (9 photos)

After six years of construction, the new highway to Barrie opened on Sept. 6, 1951, but more changes will happen in the coming years

Warning: it might feel like the 1950s again for, um, maybe the next 10 years.

Starting with the Anne Street bridge closure this weekend, if similar improvements occur at the Essa Road, Sunnidale Road, Dunlop Street and Bayfield Street overpasses, construction could be in our future for a long time to come.

Before Highway 400 between Toronto and Barrie was built, it was a slow weekend crawl through Barrie on Highways 11 or 27 to get to the cottage or beach.

But that changed after almost six years of construction, when the new highway to Barrie opened on Sept. 6, 1951, although it wouldn’t be until almost Dominion Day (Canada Day) of 1952, before all four lanes of paved highway were open for business.

At that time, Highway 400 ended at the Highway 27 interchange, but eventually the new Barrie bypass would extend to Highways 11 and 93 at Crown Hill.

Highway 400 was the first of Ontario’s super-highways to be designated ‘400-series’ – meaning a four-lane, divided highway, which was impressive at the time.

So now that the bridges over the 400 have reached the end of their intended lifespan, buckle up as construction season gets underway.