By now you’re probably aware that Phase 1 of the Highway 407 East Project has been completed and is officially opened to traffic. This section includes Highway 407 from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa, as well as Highway 412, which connects Highway 407 and the 401. Some think the best part of the opening may just be that the use of these sections is toll free until the new year. “Free” is hard to argue with, but a recent trip to Port Perry from Pickering was shortened by a minimum of half an hour by taking advantage of the 412 arm from the 401 to the 407, then scooting down the 407 to Simcoe Street in Oshawa and emerging at Columbus. No stop signs! No red lights! No bumper-to-bumper traffic to contend with through that whole section!
The Saturday morning before the highway officially opened (June 18, 2016) locals were invited to test it out. The catch was: no vehicles allowed. You could walk, run, cycle, roller blade, wheel, skateboard or anything else you could think of that didn’t involve a motor vehicle. It was a great opportunity to be part of history. Stacee-Free Team members Kathy (Lapointe) and Anna (Stinson) were both up to the challenge. They arrived prepared, with walking shoes, bottles of water and sunglasses.
Vehicles were not allowed on the highway and there was no parking on site, so the trusty Mincom Vehicle had to sit this one out. Parking was provided at two locations and free shuttle buses ran back and forth for the duration.
Vehicles were not allowed on the highway and there was no parking on site, so the trusty Mincom Vehicle had to sit this one out. Parking was provided at two locations and free shuttle buses ran back and forth for the duration. Even the four-legged family members enjoyed themselves.They came on bikes of all sizes and numbers of wheels, on skateboards, roller blades, roller skates and scooters.
Emergency vehicles and personal were on hand – just in case. When they weren’t seeing to scrapes and over-heating, they were letting the kids tour their rides.
It was hot! Really hot and sunny. With a wide-open road it was necessary to grab any bit of shade you could. The organizers were prepared and had water stations throughout the entire length of the route. They also had a cart trolling up and down, passing out bottles of water along the way.
The complimentary ice cream truck was a really popular stop to cool down. With an invitation like this…who could resist leaving their mark? Not us!
From end to end you could never be sure what you were going to see. People had some pretty clever ideas about how to get around. These young ladies, known as 2 Cute 4 Country, and their Dad, sported around in something he created for wheel chair users to have a bit of fun.
This one has to be one of the most Canadian sights to be seen on the 407 this day…a man and his son playing hockey.Hot and happy they were able to be part of this historic day, Kathy and Anna proudly took to the podium to have their achievement documented.
Anna was thrilled with their adventure,
“Skateboards, trikes, strollers, walkers, runners, oh my! What a glorious day for a fabulous community event. It was really well-planned and executed. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and interacting with so many creative people.”
For Kathy the day brought back fond memories,
“The anticipation and excitement of walking on the New Hwy 407 was reminiscent of an elementary school bus trip, starting with the yellow school bus shuttle to the 407 asphalt. It wasn’t planes, trains and automobiles, but bikes, roller skates, scooters and miniature electric cars. It was a fantastic 30 minute walk for us on a beautiful day. The event was a success.”
Don’t forget, if you missed all the fun, you can still make history by driving on the 407 East. The historical part? It’s FREE until the New Year!