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Tuesday, January 31, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

What is the longest street in the world?

The distinction belongs to Yonge Street, which is listed as a whopping 1,178 miles (1,896 km) in length -- roughly the distance from San Diego, California, to Seattle, Washington. It starts on the Toronto lakeshore and winds its way northwesterly along Highway 11 to Rainy River, Ontario, at the Minnesota border.
Long before it was paved, Yonge began as a trail used by the Huron Indians and early explorers like Samuel de Champlain. John Graves Simcoe, the provincial governor of Upper Canada and founder of Toronto, ordered the paved portion of the thoroughfare built to provide military access to the Great Lakes in case of an American invasion. He named the street after Sir George Yonge, the British secretary of war at the time.

Over the course of many years and administrations, the road grew. It snaked its way through bustling cities, tree-lined forests, and around picturesque lakes. In 1927, an important addition linked Yonge to the northern Trans-Canada Highway. "The official end of the line" came in 1965 when construction on the road was stopped. Today most of Yonge Street exists as Highway 11. The old highway lives on as dead-end side roads or overgrown wooded trails, leading some to refute Yonge's claim to the title of longest street.

The street is known as a good place to find food, folks, and fun. It's renowned for the flashy "Yonge Street Strip" section, people watching at Eaton Centre, performing arts theaters, and, most notably, the Hockey Hall of Fame. Near the street's southernmost point, you'll find the floating restaurant Captain John's. The former cruiseship is a fitting reminder of Yonge Street's maritime origins.

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