Kings Highway 26, commonly referred to as Highway 26, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario, connecting the cities of Barrie and Owen Sound. Between these two cities, the serves the southern shoreline of Georgian Bay, passing through Stayner, Collingwood and Meaford. In addition, the highway serves as the route to Wasaga Beach. Highway 26 was established in 1926, and has remained almost unchanged since then, a new alignment of the highway between Collingwood and Stayner was opened on November 15,2012. Highway 26 between Owen Sound and Meaford in the west is not as highly traveled as the tourist area to the east, although there is a Realignment Program currently underway. The routing of the highway takes it from the junction with Highway 6, Highway 10, for a time, the highway continued southward to Dunlop street, formerly Highway 11, in Barrie, cosigned with Highway 27. The southern portion of Bayfield street was downloaded to the City of Barrie along with Dunlop street in 1997 and this shortened the highways length by 1.3 kilometers and removed the 7.2 kilometer concurrency with Highway 27. The highways current length is 115.7 km, the highway serves as a major link between Barrie and the Greater Toronto Area and the popular tourist region on the southern shore of Georgian Bay. Over the past several years the popularity of this region has increased, major reconstruction work was undertaken to repair the very old bridge over the Nottawasaga River in Edenvale. Highway 26 was first assumed by the Department of Highways on July 2,1927 along a trunk route between Barrie and Owen Sound. At its western terminus, the route ended at Highway 6, since then, the route has remained almost unchanged, except in the Collingwood and Barrie areas. Upgrades to Highway 26 within the town of Collingwood are likely, when the new bypass is completed, within Barrie, a portion of Highway 26 was transferred to the city in 1998, truncating it at Highway 400. This former portion is now simply as Bayfield Street. A major realignment of the highway opened on November 15,2012, the new alignment has the highway veer west from a point along its present route between Stayner and Wasaga Beach, and parallel the current highway until a point east the Collingwood town limits. The new route is designed as an access highway, and is a 4-lane divided roadway with two roundabouts, one at Mosely Street in Wasaga Beach, and the other at Poplar Sideroad in Collingwood. The former route of Highway 26 has been renamed as Beachwood Road from Collingwood to Mosely Street in Wasaga Beach, the remaining section of the former alignment south of Mosely Street has been renamed Lyons Court. The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 26, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
The Highway 26 bypass between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach
The roundabout in 2017
Image: Ontario Highway 26 Westbound with Snow
Highway 26 facing west towards Owen Sound; the highway dives through several large valleys between here and Meaford.