Fun with Highways: 401 and 427, Toronto

Another listless Sunday evening, another highway interchange.

This is the bizarrely complex interchange of highways 401 and 427 near Toronto and Mississauga, not far from Toronto Pearson International Airport.  They are known colloquially as “the 401” and “the 427”, similar to way highways are referenced in southern California.

It looks like there might have been a plan to build another freeway extending due east from interchange, which could explain it’s strange configuration. It could also just be due to the fact that 401 is a huge highway. South of the interchange towards Mississauga it widens into 18 lanes divided into four sections (one collector and one express) in each direction. To the north it thins out but becomes as 16 lane collector/express system again as it approaches Toronto. This would make it one of the largest in the world, certainly larger than the New Jersey Turnpike at its widest, or I-5 south of Los Angeles.  It is also one of the “busiest highways in North America” (see this reference.)

Here is a view of the interchange looking east along the 401:

[Photo from Floydian on Wikimedia Commons.]

The 401 extends all the way to the western end of province to Windsor, just across the U.S.-Canadian border from Detroit. I have thought about a musical “401 tour” a few times, that would start in Detroit (and leave time for photography) and extend to Toronto. As such, leads on experimental musicians and performance venues along this route would be welcome.

2 thoughts on “Fun with Highways: 401 and 427, Toronto

  1. Wow, that is a really big highway. Having grown up in Southern California, I kind of miss highways (or freeways, as they’re called out west) being prefaced with “The.” I never knew there were other places where they are referenced this way. 🙂

  2. Yep, the 401 is a looooooong highway. Very confusing too, but it can take you pretty much from one side of the province to the other. 🙂

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