It’s the claim to fame that no city truly wants: the worst traffic in Canada. But it wasn’t until early 2017—when the CAA released the results of a study on the worst bottlenecks in Canada—that it was possible to determine what cities truly deserved to hold the title.
According to the report, Canada’s 20 most congested roads cover a mere 65 kilometres, but account for over 11.5 million hours stuck in traffic per year. That’s an issue that not even the best road trip playlist ever can solve.
If you’ve got a hot date with the cottage this weekend, don’t bother trying to beat the after-work crush. Instead, hit the road after 7 pm on Friday when traffic returns to normal speed limits, or wait until Saturday morning.
If you absolutely must leave at a peak hour and don’t want to get stuck in traffic, here are seven roads to avoid.
Highway 401, between Highway 427 and Yonge Street (Toronto)
According to the CAA, five of the top bottlenecks in Canada are located in Toronto. But this stretch of road takes the cake. Running across Toronto’s north end, highway 401 is the place where you’re most likely to encounter a traffic jam in Canada, and weekends are no exception.
Highway 400 (Ontario)
To avoid traffic, one rule of thumb is to stay off 400-series highways. That may be easier said than done though, especially if you’re trying to take the most direct route to Parry Sound or Huntsville from Toronto. Highway 400 becomes particularly clogged on long weekends when traffic increases by up to 25 per cent.
Highway 40 between Boulevard Pie-IX and Highway 520 (Montreal)
Leading into downtown Montreal, Highway 40 is the third worst bottleneck in the country. Every year it costs commuters around two million hours of delays.
Highway 35/155 (Ontario)
While not included on the CAA report, Highway 35/115—which runs through Haliburton and the Kawarthas—can get heavy traffic during the summertime with vehicles increasing by up to 50 per cent on long weekends.
Don Valley Parkway between Don Mills Road and Finch Avenue (Toronto)
Calling the Don Valley Parkway a “freeway” implies that there will be some sort of freedom involved. That’s not the case. You might be free from the tyranny of traffic lights, but if you hit this road on a Friday afternoon—or really, any afternoon—you’re going to be trapped by the gridlock.
Highway 73 between Chemin des Quatre-Bourgeois and exit to Avenue Dalquier (Quebec City)
Who knew that such a short stretch of road could create such a major headache? Those heading north of the city on weekends should be prepared that an escape to the countryside may take longer than anticipated.
George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99 (Vancouver)
Let’s all take a moment to appreciate that a road running under a river is an incredible feat of modern engineering. And if you happen to drive through the George Massey Tunnel during rush hour, you’ll have more than just a moment to reflect on this fact. Running beneath the Fraser River and connecting Richmond to Surrey, this road ranks as one of the worst spots for bumper-to-bumper traffic in Canada.