Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yonge Street (pronounced "young"), located in Ontario, Canada, is a major arterial street in Toronto and a provincial highway. Yonge Street has been been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world and is nearly 2,000 km long.
Yonge Street starts literally at the edge of Lake Ontario in Toronto. From there, it runs north to Cochrane (about as far north as the roads run), gradually turns to the west as it goes around Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, and then runs to the town of Rainy River, bordering the state of Minnesota, United States. As "Highway 11", Yonge Street officially stretched 1,896 km (1,178 miles), but changes in provincial responsibility separated the now locally funded and controlled Yonge Street from Highway 11 during the 1990s. As a result, Provincial Highway 11 does not start until after the town of Barrie, Ontario (or Crown Hill), just north of where the name "Yonge Street" ends (although there is a break in the naming in Bradford where it is called "Bridge Street". This has led to disputes over the "longest street in the world" claim of the approximately 99 km street. Current Highway 11's length is 1,784 km. In addition, much of Highway 11 north of Barrie has been realigned, particularly for the first 250 km or so as it has (or will be) been upgraded to an expressway or freeway from Barrie to North Bay, which officially disputes the distinction as much of the current highway is not on the original Yonge Street.
Yonge Street is said to have started as a trail created by Huron Indians. The trail was used by numerous European explorers, such as Samuel de Champlain in 1615, and later became a military route. It was named Yonge Street in 1793, after Sir George Yonge, the British Secretary of War at the time, by John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (now Ontario). Simcoe also chose the site around the road as the Town of York (now Toronto), and had it paved to allow easier use by the military as a north-south route. In 1920, the then Ontario Department of Public Highways took possession of Yonge Street and assigned to it the route # 11.
Yonge Street is home or close to many attractions in Toronto, including street and theatre performances, the Eaton Centre, the Hockey Hall of Fame and at the very start of the road, 'One Yonge Street', the offices of the Toronto Star and also Sam the Record Man. The Yonge Line of the Toronto Subway runs under and in open cuts beside Yonge Street from King Street to Finch Avenue.
South of Lawrence Avenue, Yonge Street is a four-lane historic urban arterial through residential and commercial areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Between Lawrence and Highway 401, Yonge opens up somewhat into parkland of the West Don Valley and lower-density residential areas. Between Highways 401 and 407, densities and traffic increase as Yonge becomes a six-lane principal urban arterial road through North York Civic Centre and an older section of Thornhill. Beyond Highway 407, Yonge is a suburban commercial strip, with sections of residential and still-undeveloped land through Newmarket.
The speed limits are generally 50 km/h (30 mph) in most of the city of Toronto and through Thornhill, 60 km/h (35-40 mph) on a short section through the West Don Valley and again in most of the suburban sections north of the 407, and 70-80 km/h (45-50 mph) in undeveloped or lightly developed areas in the northern sections.
- City of Toronto page on Yonge Street's History
- Globe and Mail Article on Yonge Street
- A page which argues against Yonge Street's claim as the world's longest street
- Portrait of Sir George Yonge
Attractions/Points of Interest
- BCE Place
- Hockey Hall of Fame
- Shopsy's Deli
- Eaton Centre
- Dundas Square
- College Park
- Mel Lastman Square
- Centerpoint Mall
- Sheppard Centre
- Empress Walk
- Toronto Star Building at 1 Yonge Street
- Yonge Street marker at the foot of Yonge at Queen's Quay
- Finch Avenue
- Steeles Avenue
- Dundas Street
- Queen Street (Toronto)
- King Street
- Bloor Street
- College Street
North of Steeles, Yonge Street is referred to as York Regional Road 51 and former Ontario provincial highway 11 as York Regional Road 1.
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