Friday, September 14, 2007

Directions from Toronto International Airport to Simcoe Part III

Again, once you are on the regular, 3 lane portion of Hwy 403 towards Hamilton, stay in the second lane from the left, the middle lane. This takes you exactly to where you need to go. This picture shows where the Lincoln Alexander branches off from 403. About 2 km past this point, Hwy 403 narrows to 2 lanes. If you are in the middle lane, then you do not have to do anything.

You can breathe a sigh of relief now: traffic should get a lot lighter. From the Lincoln Alexander to Hwy 24 South to Simcoe is about 40 km. You'll pass through the city of Brantford. Note that there is also a Hwy 24 North exit, you do not wish to take that. You'll end up in Cambridge.

Here is the actual exit off 403 to Hwy 24 south. Once on the exit lane itself, stick to the left. At the end of the exit lane (ramp), there are traffic lights. On green, turn left onto Hwy 24.
Hwy 24 is 2 lanes, so it is not an expressway!

Hwy 24 can be divided in roughly three parts. The first part is done when after about 10 km, you reach a set of traffic lights. At the green light, drive straight through to the next set of lights (about 15 km). Once again, keep going straight. After that, at about 2 km, you will see the blue 'Norfolk County" sign. You are getting close!

From here on in, you will start seeing signs, spaced 1.2 km apart, pointing to Windham Rd 2, 3,4,5 etc. (There are also Townsend Rd going left (east) but ignore those. ) The road you are looking for is Windham Road 12. It obviously follows Windham Rd 11. There is a green and yellow John Deere farm machinery dealership just past Windham Rd 12. If you miss the road, simply turn into the parking lot of the dealership and make your way back through this parking lot to its Windham Road 12 exit.

Once on Windham Rd 12, there is a stop sign after about 3 km. (Speed limit here is 80 km). STOP and give right of way to ALL traffic on the crossing road. Proceed with caution. Drive another 3 km. On the side of the road, you'll see house numbers mounted on metal posts, green signs with white numbers. Our number is 801. The two numbers prior to that are 827 and 823, so once you pass 823, SLOW DOWN. From that point it is about 150 metres. Pull into the driveway. You have arrived!

Directions from Toronto International Airport to Simcoe Part II

Once you are on Hwy 403 (during rush hour this stretch could be slow to very slow travelling), then after about 3 km, you get to the point where the two separate parts of 403 meet. The trick here is to be in the second lane from the left.

By far, the best point to travel from here on in on the expressways is the second lane from left. This, at most points, automatically leads you to where you want to go. Note that at this point on the 403, the far left lane is reserved for High Occupancy Vehicles, that is, cars with 2 or more people in it. This special lane continues for about 15 km. If traffic is extremely slow, use it, otherwise don't bother, just stay in the middle lane of the three regular lanes.

At this point, about 15 km after Eastgate, about 1 km after Winston Churchill Boulevard, Hwy 407 branches off from Hwy 403. You want to stay on Hwy 403 towards Hamilton. Best point to be is in the middle of the 3 regular lanes. This is the advance warning sign.

This is the actual point where 407 branches off of 403. Stay in the second lane from left. This leads you automatically onto 403 towards Hamilton.

Once you get past the 407 branch off, you need to once again get into the 2nd lane from the left on 403. Then, after about 5 km, Hwy 403 and QEW meet up. You'll see Lake Ontario in the distance and a huge Ford car factory with giant chimneys on left at that point. Slowly work your way over to the 2nd lane from left and stay there. This is what it looks like for the most part on QEW. If your luck is bad, this can be a slow stretch during rush hour.

After about 25 km on QEW, Hwy 403 reappears and branches off from QEW. This is the advance warning sign at Brant Street. Be in the middle lane here.

Make sure that you stick to the right hand side of the middle lane here. That will guide you onto Hwy 403 Hamilton and Brantford.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Directions from Toronto International Airport to Simcoe Part I

These are the directions to get from Toronto International Airport (technically called Pearson International Airport) to 801 Windham Rd #12, Simcoe, Ontario

First some points to make things clearer.

There are no roundabouts in Ontario.

Expressways (minimum 4 lane divided highways) all start with the number 4, for example Hwy 400, 401, 402, 403, you get the picture. The only exception is the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way), the expressway that leads from Toronto to Niagara Falls via Hamilton.

Speed limit on expressways is 100, on 2 lane highways it is 80. Now, that's the theoretical limit. If it isn't rush hour, most people will drive between 110 and 120 on the expressway and 90-100 on 2 lane roads. It is best to judge what other traffic is doing and keep up with the flow: neither too slow nor too fast.

On any road with more than 1 lane going in each direction, it is perfectly legal to pass on the right. That's right, on the right. So if you are changing lanes to the right, you need to make damn sure no one is trying to pass you on that side.

If a road narrows from 2 lanes to 1 lane (or 3 lanes to 2 lanes), it is generally the right lane that disappears, so that the person in the left lane automatically has the right-of-way.

There are no speed cameras mounted on the side of roads anywhere in Ontario. None. Police presence on highways is minimal.

The quality of the roads is generally acceptable to mediocre. Think Belgium and then take a step back.

A brief description of the route to take:
-from the Airport, enter Hwy 427 SOUTH (+/- 2 km)
-from Hwy 427, enter HWY 401 WEST to London (+/- 3 km)
-from Hwy 401, enter Hwy 403 to Hamilton (+/- 10 km)
-from Hwy 403, enter QEW to Hamilton (+/- 30 km)
-from QEW, enter Hwy 403 (again) WEST to Hamilton, Brantford (+/- 35 km)
-from Hwy 403, enter Hwy 24 SOUTH to Simcoe (+/- 50 km)
-from Hwy 24, enter Windham Road 12, stop for STOP sign after 3 km, then straight through another 3 km to number 801 on the right
-pull in driveway

OK, the first picture is an overview of the entire trip. Overal distance is about 125 km and general direction is to the southwest.

From the jumble of roads within the airport, you need to look for signs that take you to Hwy 427 south. Pay close attention as there are a lot of roads right within the airport area and you might have to cross some lanes to get to the correct lane. Make sure it is safe to change lanes. Generally there are 2 large signs, spaced about 1 km apart, that warn you of an upcoming road change.

Once on Hwy 427, you'll follow it for a few kilometres. You will need to stay in the right hand lanes and observe signs closely, looking for Hwy 401 WEST. The advance warning sign looks something like this:

The actual exit ramp from 427 to 401 looks like this:

Once on 401 (the airport's runways are just across the fence on the right hand side) you need to look for Hwy 403 WEST to Hamilton. It is about 4 km from the Dixie Road exit.

The advance warning sign for Hwy 403 Hamilton look like this:

The actual exit sign looks like this. Notice that Hwy 410 branches off to the right with the 2 right lanes, so you need to be at least in the third lane from the right at this point. Start moving over there once you pass Dixie Road (well signed)