The 401 and Keele/Then and Now
The 401 looking west from Keele in 1958, with 4 lanes. The recently built DHO building can be seen on the right.
The same view today with 16 lanes!
My father was a Civil Engineer with the DHO throughout the mid 50’s and 60’s. He writes:
“When I graduated and starting working for the Department of Highways (DHO) in the spring of 1955, I joined a small group of highway planners working in rental space in a low-rise building on Jarvis Street (between Dundas and Carlton, I think). At that time, all parts of the Department were still growing rapidly to satisfy the pent-up demand for both road maintenance (deferred during the war years) and new roads to accommodate all the new cars. None were produced from 1940 to 1945, and gasoline, oil, tires, etc. were rationed. Also, returning servicemen needed jobs and the Provincial Government was hiring. As a result, parts of the DHO were scattered about central Toronto which wasn’t very efficient.
Our group’s first project was to examine and evaluate all the Provincial Highways and develop a priority scheme for improvement or expansion. Without modern tools such as computers, cell phones, and digital cameras, we spent a couple of years driving and recording the physical condition, geometric configuration, volume/capacity ratio, and accident history of every mile of highway. We then prepared an evaluation report which set the stage for 20 years of highway construction. Although not a best seller outside the DHO then or now, I still have a copy of that antique document.
The new building in your photo was built to accommodate all the various scattered groups of employees in one spot. It seemed to be in the boondocks when we first moved in – probably in 1957 or 1958. I don’t remember exactly, but I know I used to drive there in my Volkswagen Beetle from Brownfield Gardens. I can’t imagine doing that today.
Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.”