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Exploring Highway 403 and Its Impact on Brantford, Ontario

King’s Highway 403

Hi, Rob Avery here, Brantford Realtor with 37+ years experience. I’m been in Brantford for a long time, and I’ve learned a few things about the area, which I’m excited to share with you today!

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King’s Highway 403, a vital thoroughfare in Southern Ontario, spans from Mississauga to Woodstock, connecting key cities like Hamilton and Brantford.

Who built the 403? The construction of provincial highways in Ontario, including Highway 403, is typically overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Highway 403 was developed as part of the provincial highway network to improve transportation and connectivity in the region.

Specific details about the construction and planning process can be found in historical records or archives maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.


Despite conceptual planning starting in the 1930s, construction only commenced in 1955.

The initial phase opened in 1963, with subsequent sections completed over the next few decades, finalizing in 1997.

This highway served as a crucial alternative to Highway 401, providing a more direct route to Toronto.

In the 1980s, extensions connected Woodstock to Highway 401, and the eastern leg through Mississauga was finished in 1982.

However, plans to unite the eastern and western sections were thwarted by the construction of the 407 ETR on the designated right-of-way.

Consequently, since December 2002, Highway 403 has been concurrently signed with the Queen Elizabeth Way between Exit #100 and Exit #123, resolving the discontinuity issue.

The highway boasts four lanes, expanding to six in certain stretches, with the Mississauga section varying from four to ten lanes.

Here’s what it’s like driving on the 403, as it looked in 2020.

High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, introduced in 2005, encourage carpooling, contributing to reduced traffic congestion.

The speed limit is typically 100 km/h (60 mph), except for a stretch between Highway 6 North and Aberdeen Avenue in Hamilton, where it is 90 km/h (55 mph). Services are available at most exits, although there are no designated service centers along the route.

The highway has proven successful in enhancing connectivity and alleviating traffic concerns in the region.


1. Where does Highway 403 start and end?

Highway 403 stretches across Southern Ontario, forming a crucial link between Woodstock and Mississauga. It begins at the interchange with Highway 401 in Woodstock, winding its way through various cities and towns, and ultimately terminates at the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in Mississauga.

2. What is the significance of Highway 403 to Brantford, Ontario?

For Brantford, Highway 403 is more than just a thoroughfare; it’s a lifeline that connects the city to major economic hubs like Hamilton and Toronto.

This connection facilitates commerce, tourism, and daily commuting, contributing significantly to the city’s growth and prosperity.

3. When was Highway 403 built, and provide any details around its creation?

The construction of Highway 403 began in the early 1980s, with the first segment opening to the public in 1982.

This ambitious project aimed to improve transportation efficiency and alleviate traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area.

The highway underwent expansions and improvements over the years, solidifying its role as a crucial part of Ontario’s highway system.

4. How does Highway 403 relate to the Greater Golden Horseshoe?

Highway 403 serves as a vital link within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated and economically vibrant region.

It seamlessly connects cities and communities, facilitating the movement of goods and people, which is pivotal for the economic vitality of the entire area.

5. What Brantford landmarks can you see if you drive through Brantford on the 403?

As you traverse Brantford via Highway 403, you’ll catch glimpses of iconic landmarks such as the Grand River, the picturesque Brantford Twin Valley Zoo, and the historic Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks.

Each landmark contributes to Brantford’s rich cultural tapestry and offers travelers a unique glimpse into the city’s past and present.

6. What other trivia can you tell me about Highway 403?

Highway 403 has its fair share of interesting trivia. Did you know that it was originally intended to be part of the cancelled Scarborough Expressway project?

The highway’s design also incorporates aesthetic elements, such as the distinctive “flowing ribbon” bridge over the Grand River, adding both functionality and beauty to the infrastructure.

7. How does Highway 403 help make Brantford a better place to live?

a. Economic Growth: The seamless connectivity offered by Highway 403 attracts businesses to Brantford, fostering economic growth and providing job opportunities for residents.

b. Tourism and Recreation: The highway facilitates access to Brantford’s cultural and recreational attractions, encouraging tourism and enhancing the quality of life for locals.

c. Improved Commuting: With efficient transportation, residents enjoy shorter commute times, reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being.


In conclusion, Highway 403’s development, spanning from the 1930s to its completion in 1997, showcases Southern Ontario’s commitment to strategic transportation planning.

Despite challenges like wartime disruptions and the 407 ETR diversion, the highway has become a vital link between major cities, alleviating congestion and fostering regional development.

The introduction of High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in 2005 underscores the ongoing efforts to address transportation challenges.

From its conceptualization to present-day impact, Highway 403 stands as a testament to the region’s adaptability and determination in creating an efficient and vital transportation network.

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