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Ontario Highway 427

Highway 427 shield

Highway 427
Route information
Length: 19.9 km[1] (12.4 mi)
Existed: December 4, 1971[2] – present
Major junctions
South end:  Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner ExpresswayToronto
   Highway 401
 Highway 407
North end:  Regional Road 7 – Vaughan
Highway system
Highway 420 QEW

King's Highway 427 (pronounced "four twenty-seven"), also known as Highway 427 and colloquially as the 427, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that connects the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and Gardiner Expressway with York Regional Road 7 (formerly Highway 7) via Highway 401. An arterial extension, known as York Regional Road 99, continues 800 metres (2,600 ft) north to Zenway Boulevard. It is Ontario's second busiest freeway by volume and third busiest in North America, behind Highway 401 and Interstate 405 in California.[1][3] Like Highway 401, a portion of the route is divided into a collector-express system with twelve to fourteen continuous lanes. Notable about Highway 427 are its several multi-level interchanges; the junctions with QEW and Highway 401 were Ontario's first four-level interchanges and were constructed between 1967 and 1971, while the interchanges with Highway 409 and Highway 407 are more recent and were completed in 1992 and 1995, respectively.

Highway 427 is the main feeder to Toronto Pearson International Airport from the north and south. However, while much of the traffic comes from Highway 407, Highway 401 (eastbound), and the QEW / Gardiner Expressway makes use of the freeway for airport access, it serves the western portion of Etobicoke (Rexdale), the northeastern portion of Mississauga (Malton) and the western portion of Vaughan (Woodbridge).


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
  • Future 3
  • Exit list 4
  • References 5
    • Sources 5.1
    • Bibliography 5.2
  • External links 6

Route description

Highway 427 begins at a complicated interchange with the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and Gardiner Expressway.

Highway 427 is the second busiest freeway in Canada with an average of 300,000 vehicles that use it between the QEW and Highway 401 per day. The section between Burnhamthorpe Road and Rathburn Road has an Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) count of 353,100. The route is 19.9 km (12.4 mi) long.[1]

At its southern terminus, the route begins at Coules Court, where Brown's Line becomes Highway 427.[1] Alderwood Plaza, located on the east side of the route, has a parking lot which provides access to the highway; this is the only at-grade access along the length of the route.[4] The four lane road splits into a divided highway and descends below Evans Avenue. The highway weaves through a complicated interchange, providing northbound access to Evans Avenue and the Gardiner Expressway, and southbound access to The Queensway, QEW/Gardiner Expressway, and Evans Avenue. North of the interchange, the lanes from Brown's Line diverge and form the collector lanes of a collector-express system. Flyover ramps to and from the QEW/Gardiner pass over the southbound lanes and converge to form the express lanes. This collector-express system serves to divide local traffic from freeway-to-freeway traffic; the express lanes provide access between the QEW / Gardiner Expressway and Highway 401, while the collector lanes provide local access between those interchanges.[5]

Highway 427 south of Eglinton Avenue features a collector-express system.

After crossing Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) tracks, the freeway interchanges with Dundas Street. A set of criss-crossing ramps provide access between the collector and express lanes north of here,[5] referred to as The Basketweave. The highway passes beneath Bloor Street West but does not provide direct access. Instead, it provides ramps to parallel arterial roads; The East Mall and The West Mall run parallel with the freeway from Evans Avenue to Rathburn Road.[4] A full interchange is provided shortly after with Burnhamthorpe Road, southwest of Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute. Across from the college, an offramp provides access from the southbound lanes to Holiday Drive and The West Mall. Following the offramp, to the north, is a partial interchange with Rathburn Road, which provides access from the northbound lanes and to the southbound lanes.[5]

Transfers provide a second and final opportunity to cross from express to collector lanes, or vice versa, south of the complicated 1.56-square-kilometre (0.60 sq mi) Highway 401 interchange. A final set of ramps along the collector-express system provides access to and from the southbound lanes and Eringate Drive, after which the collectors diverge, and the express lanes cross the southbound collectors. The collector lanes provide access to and from Eglinton Avenue then transition into Highway 27, while the express lanes interchange with Highway 401 and continues the route of Highway 427 north. The Highway 427 express lanes and flyover ramps to/from Highway 401 are constructed around the Richview Memorial Cemetery.[6][5] Highway 427 passes through the sprawling interchange and becomes displaced approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) to the west. Despite its size, there are no ramps to provide access from southbound Highway 427 to eastbound Highway 401 and vice versa, as this connection is handled by Highway 409.[4] Highway 427 crosses Renforth Drive and then curves to the east of Runway 24R and 24L of Pearson Airport.[7] Shortly thereafter, it crosses and interchanges with Dixon Road and Airport Road, between which it forms the demarcation line.[5] Several ramps diverge at this point to provide access to Pearson Airport, and the freeway narrows to eight lanes.[4]

From here to Finch Avenue, the freeway follows the boundary line between Toronto and Mississauga.[5] It encounters the third multi-level junction along its length, with Highway 409, which provides access to the airport as well as the southbound to eastbound movement that cannot be performed at the interchange with Highway 401 to the south.[4] Highway 427 continues straight north and narrows again to six lanes.[4] After crossing the Woodbine Racetrack and beneath Rexdale Boulevard, Morning Star Drive, and Finch Avenue West; the first and last interchange with the route. The freeway bends slightly eastward, diverging from the Mississauga–Toronto boundary, and crosses the Humber River as it drains from Claireville Reservoir.[5] Approaching the fourth and final sprawling interchange, it crosses Steeles Avenue and enters Vaughan.[4] It passes beneath Highway 407 and crosses through an undeveloped area before terminating at its final interchange with Highway 7.[4][5] The mainline continues north as a four lane arterial road to Zenway Boulevard and is designated as York Regional Road 99.[1][5]

The interchange between Highway 427 and Highway 409 was built to its current configuration by 1992.


An aerial view, facing north, of the reconstruction of Highway 27 to a four lane freeway during the early 1950s
QEW to Highway 401

Although Highway 427 was not officially designated until 1972,[8] several sections of freeway were already in place prior to that date. The designation was applied following the completion of the interchanges at the QEW and Highway 401 as well as the expansion of the section between them into a collector-express system.[2]

Highway 27 was initially a two lane road travelling north from Highway 2 (Lake Shore Boulevard) towards Barrie. As Toronto grew outwards following the annexation of various municipalities, the Ontario Department of Highways (DHO) began planning for a bypass of the city, aptly named the Toronto Bypass. A significant portion of this bypass was designed to be incorporated into the Transprovincial Highway, now Highway 401. The remainder was designed to follow the existing right-of-way of Highway 27 between the QEW and Richview Sideroad (now Eglinton Avenue).[9]

Construction of the Toronto Bypass began near Yonge Street in 1949 (along present-day Highway 401) and on the four-laning of Highway 27 in 1953.[10][11] The Highway 27 work involved the construction of two interchanges: a three-way stack at Highway 401 and a large cloverleaf at the QEW, the latter of which would become one of the worst bottlenecks in the province a decade after its completion, according to minister Charles MacNaughton.[12] By September 1956, it was possible to bypass Toronto entirely on the four-lane divided highway composed of Highway 401 and Highway 27.[13][14] Highway 401 was extended to the west soon after,[15] but Highway 27 remained a two-lane highway north of it.[16]

An aerial photograph of the Airport Expressway in 1964
Airport Expressway 1964-1971

During the early 1960s, Toronto International Airport was expanded with the construction of the Aeroquay One terminal.[17] To serve the expected demand of the expansion, the DHO built a new four-lane freeway north from Highway 401 at Renforth Drive. This new route, which roughly followed the same route as Highway 427 as far as Dixon/Airport Road, was known as the Toronto Airport Expressway and was opened on January 3, 1964.[18][19] It featured a connection with the western terminus of Richview Sideroad at the southern end of the interchange with Highway 401 as well as an interchange with Renforth Drive.[18]

Upgrade to Collector-Express
Completed grading on the reconstruction of Highway 27 in 1954. The Highway 401 overpass is visible in the background.

In 1963, it was announced by MacNaughton that Highway 401 would be widened from a four-lane highway to a collector-express system, modelled after the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago.[14] Plans were soon developed to apply this model to the QEW between Highway 27 and Royal York Road and to Highway 27 between the QEW and Highway 401, and were unveiled to Etobicoke council on October 13, 1966.[20] Design work followed and was completed by May 1967.[21] This reconstruction once again involved the junctions with the QEW and Highway 401, which were reconfigured into complicated multi-level interchanges to permit free-flow movement; construction began in September 1968.[22] The widening of Highway 27 required the demolition and rebuilding of overpasses at Bloor Street, Burnhamthorpe Road and Rathburn Road constructed just over a decade earlier.[21]

The junction with the QEW was built over 48.5 ha (120 acres) and required the construction of 19 bridges and the equivalent of 42 km (26 mi) of two-lane roadway.[22] The junction with Highway 401 sprawls over 156 ha (385 acres) and required the construction of 28 bridges and the equivalent of 46.6 km (29 mi) of two-lane roadway; the largest interchange in Canada.[12] The former was opened to traffic on November 14, 1969,[23] while the latter required several more years of construction staging, fully opening on December 4, 1971 (though portions were opened in the weeks prior to that[24]), just prior to Highway 27's renumbering as Highway 427. The rest of the route was rebuilt prior to the completion of these interchanges.[2]

Highway 427 featured an at-grade intersection until 1992, when it was replaced by a flyover ramp.

The completed project resulted in the creation of Highway 427 between the QEW and Dixon/Airport Road, north of which traffic was defaulted onto Indian Line. The entire Airport Expressway was removed to make way for the new interchange, but the new route still included direct access to the airport.[21][25]

Extensions beyond Highway 401

Ultimately, it was planned to extend Highway 427 north along Indian Line to the future Highway 407, where ramps would direct northbound traffic onto Highway 27.[21] An extension north of Dixon/Airport Road began in 1976 as part of the work to build Highway 409,[26] and it included the construction of the interchange between the two freeways. By the beginning of 1980, this work was completed, and construction was progressing on the section north to Rexdale Boulevard, which opened by the end of the year.[27][28] In 1982, Construction began on the next section of Highway 427, which would extend it to Albion Road, north of the West Humber River.[29] This project included the extension of Finch Avenue west from Highway 27 to Steeles Avenue West and was completed in late 1984.[30]

As part of the initial phase of Highway 407, Highway 427 was extended north to Highway 7 in Vaughan and began with the construction of the interchange between the two in 1988.[31] With the interchange only half-completed, the extension was opened in late 1991.[32] By 1994, the final at-grade intersections – one at Morning Star Drive, and another as a left-turn to the southbound lanes with eastbound Highway 409 – were replaced, making Highway 427 a fully controlled-access freeway for its entire length.[33]


A diagram transposing the Airport Expressway and the current Highway 401–427 interchange

An environmental assessment has been completed on a northward extension of Highway 427 to Major Mackenzie Drive to relieve traffic issues on Highway 7 and provide improved access to the Canadian Pacific Intermodal Terminal.[34] A temporary arterial road extension was opened in the autumn of 2008 by York Region and designated as Regional Road 99. This road serves to provide improved access to Highway 27 and Highway 50, but will be removed when construction begins on the freeway extension. Technical designs have been prepared for the approved route as far as Major Mackenzie Drive, but no timeline has been set for construction yet.[34][35]

A section of Highway 427 will be widened to four lanes in each direction, from Campus Road-Fasken Drive to Steeles Avenue, which includes the installation of high-mast lighting, median barriers, and adding HOV lanes in both directions. The widening project is expected to be completed by fall 2017.[36]

Exit list

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 427, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1] All exits are unnumbered.
Division Location km[1] Mile Destinations Notes
 Highway 427 continues south as Brown's Line
Toronto 0.0 0.0 Coules Court Southbound terminus of Highway 427
0.3 0.2 Evans Avenue No access to Gardiner Expressway from northbound entrance
0.6 0.4  Queen Elizabeth Way – Hamilton, Niagara Falls
Gardiner Expresswaydowntown Toronto
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; other movements are directed to Evans Avenue
Sherway Gardens Road
The Queensway
No northbound exit; no access to QEW from southbound entrance.
2.3 1.4 Dundas Street Formerly Highway 5; no access to QEW from southbound entrance
Gibbs Road Northbound entrance only
Valhalla Road Northbound exit only
Eva Road Southbound exit and entrance
4.2 2.6 Burnhamthorpe Road
Holiday Drive Southbound exit only
5.2 3.2 Rathburn Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Eringate Drive Southbound entrance only; southbound exit accessible from Highway 27 and Eglinton Avenue
7.8 4.8 Eglinton Avenue No access to Highway 401 east from northbound entrance
 Highway 27 north Northbound exit and southbound entrance
 Highway 401
Toronto–Peel boundary Toronto–Mississauga boundary 10.3 6.4 Regional Road 7 (Airport Road)
Dixon Road
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Fasken Drive Northbound exit only
11.6 7.2  Highway 409 Southbound access to eastbound 401 via Highway 409
14.2 8.8 Regional Road 5 (Derry Road)
Rexdale Boulevard
16.0 9.9 Regional Road 2 (Finch Avenue)
Finch Avenue West
York Vaughan 18.3 11.4  Highway 407
19.9 12.4  Regional Road 7 – Brampton, Vaughan Northbound exit and southbound entrance
 Highway 427 continues north (700 m (2,300 ft)) as York Regional Road 99
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi



  1. ^ a b c d e f g  
  2. ^ a b c "Highway 27 Interchange Fully in Service". The Globe and Mail 128 (38,061) (Toronto). December 4, 1971. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Office of Highway Policy Information (July 27, 2010). "Most Travelled Urban Highways Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) > 250,000". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Google Inc. "Highway 427 length and route". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Peter Heiler Ltd. (2011). Golden Horseshoe (Map). pp. 101, 107, 113, 118, 353, section A2–T5, X–Z3. ISBN .
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Aviation Investigation Report - A01O0299". Greater Toronto Airport Authority. 2001. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ Sewell p. 70
  9. ^ "Speed Limit In Ontario Now At 60". The Ottawa Citizen 116 (281) (Southam Newspapers). May 29, 1959. p. 23. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ Sewell p. 63
  11. ^ Clarke, W.A (March 31, 1954). "Report of the Chief Engineer". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. p. 12.
  12. ^ a b "Six-Mile Stretch of Highway 27 Will Be Expanded to Six Lanes". The Globe and Mail 122 (36,005) (Toronto). May 4, 1965. p. 5. 
  13. ^ '401' The Macdonald–Cartier Freeway. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1972. p. 8. 
  14. ^ a b Shragge p. 94
  15. ^ Ministry of Transportation and Communications pp. 8–9 "Hwy. 10 to Hwy 27. (Toronto) 6.60 November 3, 1958"
  16. ^ Ontario Department of Highways (1956). Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by C.P. Robins. Section E30–F33.
  17. ^ Lostracco, Marc (October 12, 2006). "Torontoist Remembers: Aeroquay One". Torontoist (Ink Truck Media). Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1964. p. 108.
  19. ^ "Chronology". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1965. p. 302.
  20. ^ "Chronology". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1967. p. 315.
  21. ^ a b c d Planning Branch (May 1967). Functional Planning Report - Highway 27 Reconstruction from Dundas Street to Rexdale Boulevard and Proposed Belfield Expressway from Islington Avenue to New Highway 27 (Report). Ontario Department of Highways.
  22. ^ a b "Drivers Face Three More Years of QE-27-401 Motoring Misery". The Toronto Star. July 22, 1969. p. 43. 
  23. ^ "QE and 27 Interchange Opens Friday". The Toronto Star. November 13, 1969. p. 1. 
  24. ^ "2 Ramps Opened at 27-401". The Toronto Star. November 24, 1971. p. 1. 
  25. ^ Ministry of Transportation and Communications (1973). Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Photogrammetry Office. Metropolitan Toronto inset.
  26. ^ Construction Program (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1976–77. p. XIV.
  27. ^ Construction Program (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1980–81. p. XIX.
  28. ^ Ministry of Transportation and Communications (1980/81). Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Metropolitan Toronto inset.
  29. ^ Provincial Highways Construction Projects (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1983–84. p. XIII.
  30. ^ Provincial Highways Construction Projects (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1984–85. p. XIII. ISSN 0714-1149.
  31. ^ Provincial Highways Construction Projects (Report). Ministry of Transportation. 1989–90. p. 13. ISSN 0714-1149.
  32. ^ Provincial Highways Construction Projects (Report). Ministry of Transportation. 1991–92. p. 13. ISSN 0714-1149.
  33. ^ Ministry of Transportation (1994/95). Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartographic Mapping Unit. Metropolitan Toronto inset.
  34. ^ a b Rea, Bill (April 23, 2008). "MTO Just Looking North to Major Mack For 427 Extension". King Township Sentinel ( 
  35. ^ (PDF) Highway 427 Transportation Corridor Environmental Assessment Final Report (Report). Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  36. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (August 26, 2014). Improvements Begin on Highway 427 "Improvements Begin on Highway 427". Government of Ontario. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 


  • Sewell, John (2009). The shape of the suburbs: understanding Toronto's sprawl. University of Toronto Press.  
  • Shragge, John; Bagnato, Sharon (1984). From Footpaths to Freeways. Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Historical Committee.  

External links

  • Highway 427 route
  • Highway 427 Corridor Environmental Assessment
  • Lost Road: Indian Line Road
  • Highway 427 pictures and information
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