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George Wenige

A Ring Road for London

With the official opening of  Highway 401 from Eastwood  to Tempo on May 31st, 1957 and the extension of Highway 401 to Toronto in 1960, there was an increased interest in creating a quicker way of travelling through or around London. 

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Highbury Avenue (formerly Asylum Side Road) was the major north-south artery for the city east of Adelaide Street. 

At the time Highbury Avenue stopped at the south branch of the Thames River. 

On December 9th, 1963, the Highbury Avenue Extension to Highway 401 was opened. 

London city council named the portion of Highbury Avenue between Commissioners and Hamilton roads, the Wenige Expressway after George Wenige (1874-1952), london's nine-time mayor. 

In 1964, the extension was designated as Highway 126 and two years later in 1966, the extension was converted into a four-lane controlled -access freeway.  City Council had hoped that this extension would be part of a larger ri1286ng road which would funnel traffic around London. 

In 1973, Highbury Avenue between Highway 2 (Dundas Street) and Highway 22 (Fanshawe Park Road) became an extension of Highway 126. 

In 1985, the signs for Wenige Expressway were removed and this was the end of  "Ontario's shortest expressway." 

Plans to extend Highway 126 further north were scrapped and eventually the highway was considered redundant because it only served a local purpose. 

In 1991, Highway 126 was decommissioned and ownership passed to the City of London on June 12, 1991.  


George Wenige

George Wenige - "Erie Avenue:  Small Town in a Big City," Erie Avenue Historical Association.  2006, p. 18.