Ontario Highway Service Centres – FAQs


Trenton North ONroute highway service centre, interior. October 1, 2010 Service Centre
Trenton North ONroute highway service centre, interior. October 1, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Which service centres are open and what services are currently being offered?
    2. How many service centres will be affected?
    3. Why are we modernizing the service centres?
    4. How will motorists be notified of the service centre closures?
    5. When these service centres close, where will travellers access amenities such as fuel, washrooms, food and rest stations?
    6. Will there be special rest areas for truck drivers needing to take a break from driving? If so, where?
    7. When will each service centre be brought back into operation?
    8. When will the next phases of construction start?
    9. Are environmental assessments being done at all of the redeveloped Ontario highway service centre sites?
    10. Can the public provide input into the planning and environmental assessment process?
    11. What kind of service improvements are available to motorists at the new service centres?
    12. Will the redeveloped service centres provide travel information/services?
    13. Why don’t all the redeveloped service centres have staffed Ontario Travel Information Centres?
    14. How will this project benefit the local economy and local residents?



1. Which service centres are open and what services are currently being offered?

The following newly redeveloped ONroute service centre sites are open 24/7, 365 days/year with full services including fuel, washrooms, parking, food services and a convenience store. Full-service fuelling is available from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 7 days a week.  Staff will assist disabled drivers with fuelling between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.       

  • Tilbury South – eastbound (Highway 401 – between Windsor and Chatham Kent)
  • Tilbury North – westbound (Highway 401 – between Chatham Kent and Windsor)
  • West Lorne – westbound (Highway 401 – between London and Chatham Kent)
  • Woodstock – eastbound (Highway 401 – between Ingersoll and Woodstock)
  • Dutton – eastbound (Highway 401 – between Chatham Kent and London)
  • Morrisburg – eastbound (Highway 401 – between Prescott [Highway 416] and Cornwall)
  • Bainsville – westbound (Highway 401 – near the Quebec/Ontario border)
  • Trenton North – westbound (Highway 401 – between Trenton and Cobourg)
  • Trenton South – eastbound (Highway 401 – between Cobourg and Trenton)
  • Ingleside – westbound (Highway 401 – between Cornwall and Morrisburg)
  • Mallorytown North – westbound (Highway 401 – between Ingleside and Kingston)
  • Napanee – westbound (Highway 401 -  between Belleville and Kingston)
  • Odessa – eastbound (Highway 401 -  between Kingston and Belleville)
  • Port Hope – eastbound (Highway 401 - near Port Hope)
  • Mallorytown South – eastbound (Highway 401 - between Kingston and Cornwall)
  • Cambridge North (Highway 401 – westbound) - between Cambridge and Guelph
  • Cambridge South (Highway 401 – eastbound) -between Guelph and Cambridge
  • Barrie (Highway 400 – northbound) - near Barrie
  • King City - northbound (Highway 400 - between Maple and King City)

The following service centres are also open with full services

  • Ingersoll – westbound (Highway 401 – between Woodstock and Ingersoll)
  • Maple – southbound (Highway 401 – between Newmarket and Vaughan)
  • Newcastle – westbound (Highway 401 – between Port Hope and Bowmanville)

The following service centre is currently fully closed:

  • Cookstown – southbound (Highway 400 between Innisfil and Newmarket)

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2. How many service centres will be affected?

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario manages 23 service centres along Highway 401 from Windsor to the Quebec border, and along a portion of Highway 400 north of Toronto. 

The redevelopment of 20 of the 23 service centre sites is being phased in and expected to be completed by 2015.  The remaining three sites (Newcastle, Ingersoll and Maple) were rebuilt in the late 1990s and will be reviewed for redevelopment beyond 2018. 

As oil company leases expire, service centres will be closed temporarily to allow for cleanup and construction activities to be safely completed.

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3. Why are we modernizing the service centres?

Most of Ontario’s highway service centres were built in the 1960s and are outdated and need to be replaced.

The lease agreements for the 20 of the 23 service centres began to expire in 2007. In the past, three oil companies owned, operated and provided services at these locations.

Once the leases expire and prior to redevelopment of the service centre sites, cleanup activities must take place. This requires full closure of the sites for six to eighteen months (dependent on site layout, weather and field conditions). When the cleanup is completed, construction of the redeveloped sites commences. 

The new highway service centres feature eco- and family-friendly facilities, offering quick service dining, coffee, convenience retail, enhanced truck facilities, tourism information, and fully accessible washrooms.

The redeveloped service centres also help keep drivers safe by providing rest stops for travellers and commercial motorists. Service centres are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.

Signs at redeveloped service centres and on highways show the ONroute logo indicating that services are provided by HKSC Developments L.P., a consortium formed by Toronto-based Kilmer Van Hostrand, which has significant experience in civil infrastructure and sport/entertainment interests, and HMS Host, a part of Autogrill S.p.A., the world’s largest provider of food, beverage and retail services in travel centres. You can also see the logo at travel centres operated by HMS Host along roadways in the U.S.

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4. How will motorists be notified of the service centre closures?

Highway signs indicate when upcoming service centres are closed, when limited services are available, and where 24-hour, off-road services are available. Ontario’s service centres will re-open as soon as possible to provide opportunities to stop and rest.

While the service centres are closed, fuel and food services can be obtained on a 24-hour-a-day basis at privately operated and easily accessible alternative service areas located at interchanges along the highways.

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5. When these service centres close, where will travellers access amenities such as fuel, washrooms, food and rest stations?

We are continuing to re-open service centres as soon as possible to provide opportunities for travellers to stop and rest.

While the service centres are closed, fuel and food services can be obtained 24 hours a day at easily accessible, privately-operated service areas located along the highways.

Highway signs are posted in advance of service centres that do not have fuel or service and will also indicate the exits where 24/7 services and fuel are available. These signs are also posted closer to those specific exits to remind drivers that those sites are coming up.

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6. Will there be special rest areas for truck drivers needing to take a break from driving? If so, where?

Where service centres are being rebuilt, commercial drivers are being directed to privately operated off-highway 24/7 locations to park and obtain fuel and food services.

Highly visible signs are posted on the highway in advance of those service centres that do not have fuel or services. These signs indicate the exits at which 24/7 fuel/food are available. These signs are also posted closer to those specific exits to remind drivers that those sites are coming up. Advance information about the temporary closures will be posted on signs along the highway at the affected service centres.

Truck parking and expanded truck parking lots can be found at the currently open sites (see question 1.) with additional truck parking capacity available at Newcastle, Ingersoll, and Maple service centres.

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7. When will each service centre be brought back into operation?

The first nineteen redeveloped service centre sites are now fully open providing quick-service dining options, fully accessible washrooms, outdoor patios and pet exercise areas, free WiFi connection, tourism information and ample parking for cars and trucks. The Tilbury South – eastbound (Highway 401 West) and Bainsville – westbound (Highway 401 East) service centres also feature a staffed tourism centre to provide motorists with Ontario travel information.

The final service centre being redeveloped – Cookstown, closed February 1, 2013 to commence cleanup activities. Options for redevelopment of the Cookstown site are under review however; it is anticipated that the Cookstown service centre will fully open by summer 2015.

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8. When will the next phases of construction start?

Options for redevelopment of the Cookstown site are under review and will be announced once finalized.

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9. Are environmental assessments being done at all of the redeveloped Ontario highway service centre sites?

The environmental assessment process for all the original sites was completed.

An environmental assessment was previously undertaken for the Cookstown Service Centre in 2011. A Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) documenting the EA process, and the recommendations for the redevelopment of the service centre was published. This earlier study focused only on redevelopment options for the existing site. Since the completion of the original study, a need to relocate the site has been identified. The new study will focus on relocation options along Highway 400 southbound between Innisfil Beach Road and Highway 89 and will address the findings from the previous study.

A further Public Information Centre (PIC) is planned in the near future to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to review relocation options for the Cookstown Service Centre. Notice of the PIC will be provided in the local newspapers once a PIC date and location have been selected.

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10. Can the public provide input into the planning and environmental assessment process?

The public was invited to attend Public Information Centres for this project and the consultations for all of the original sites have been completed. Consultations are an integral component of the Class EA process and essential to the successful completion of the study. A further Public Information Centre (PIC) is planned in the near future to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to review relocation options for the Cookstown Service Centre. Notice of the PIC will be provided in the local newspapers once a PIC date and location have been selected.

For the first seven locations, Public Information Centres were held in September 2009 to provide the public an opportunity to provide their input on the redevelopment of the service centre in their community.

Public Information Centres for Mallorytown North and Mallorytown South service centres took place on Thursday, January 28, 2010 and a Public Information Centre for Ingleside service centre occurred on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

Public Information Centres for Napanee and Odessa service centres took place on Tuesday April 13, 2010, the Port Hope service centre on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 and the Woodstock centre on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Public Information Centres for the Barrie service centre was held on Thursday, April 7, 2011 and Thursday, April 14, 2011 for the Cookstown service centre.

A further Public Information Centre (PIC) is planned in the near future to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to review relocation options for the Cookstown Service Centre. Notice of the PIC will be provided in the local newspapers once a PIC date and location have been selected.

Public Information Centres for the King City service centre was held on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010 and Thursday, September 16, 2010 for the Cambridge North and South centres.

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11. What kind of service improvements are available to motorists at the new service centres?

Ontario's highway service centres are being modernized to improve your travelling experience.

Ontario’s new service centres offer quick service dining, convenience retail and fuel services, tourism information, truck facilities, and state-of-the-art washrooms that are fully and easily accessible.

The new buildings are designed to last at least 50 years with environmentally responsible and sustainable features, and will be constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification standards - a respected green building rating system. Some of the environmentally responsible and sustainable design features include:

  • Water efficient landscaping utilizing drought resistant planting – no irrigation required
  • Reduced water use by more than 40 per cent by utilizing waterless urinals
  • Elimination of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the heating and cooling equipment — chlorofluorocarbons are refrigerants that cause ozone layer depletion
  • Optimized energy performance utilizing energy efficient equipment
  • Use of regional materials that contain a minimum of 15 per cent recycled content
  • Use of adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and carpets that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to meet standards such as Green Seal or the Green Label Indoor
  • Quality Test Program
  • Washrooms featuring increased capacity and touchless fixtures for water saving.

Convenience store/fuel provider: A full-service fuel station and convenience store operated by Canadian Tire will be on-site. Full-service fuelling is available from 7:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week.  Staff will assist disabled drivers with fuelling between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.  Canadian Tire Corporation is one of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies and operates an interrelated network of businesses engaged in retailing, including Canada’s largest independent gasoline station network.

Ontario Tourism Information Centres and Provincial Stations
: Two of the redeveloped service centres feature staffed Ontario Tourism Information Centres. These are located at the Tilbury South – eastbound (Highway 401 West) service centre and the Bainsville – westbound (Highway 401 East) service centre. Visitors to the Tourism Information Centres can now find travel information about attractions throughout Ontario. Provincial self-serve tourism stations will be located at all of the redeveloped service centres.

Quick Service Dining: Visitors have a variety of dining options at each service centre location. The service centre quick service dining and fuel/convenience store brands include:


A&W

Cold Stone Creamery

Taco Bell

Burger King

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Tim Hortons

Canadian Tire (fuel, C-store)

Pizza Pizza

The Market (retail, sundries)

Bento Nouveau

Extreme Pita

Starbucks Coffee

Brioche Dorée

New York Fries

Teriyaki Experience

Casey’s

Quiznos Subs

Yogen Früz / Cinnabon

East Side Mario’s

Pusateri’s

Swiss Chalet

Note: 

1)  The new service provider operating the highway service centres, HKSC Developments L.P., is also confirming other potential food providers.

2)  A listing of food service providers available at each site can be found by using the Ontario TRIP website. In the navigation list at the left of the map, under Traveller Info, select the service centres box. The Service Centres will appear as black and white S signs. Click the signs to view information on each centre.

Commercial Industries:  Commercial truck drivers have more convenient access to these new service centres. The redeveloped service centres feature larger spaces for parking.

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12. Will the redeveloped service centres provide travel information/services?

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario has partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to provide travel information in each of the 23 service centres along Highways 400 and 401.

Two of the 23 services centres, in Tilbury South – eastbound (Highway 401 West) and Bainsville – westbound (Highway 401 East) now provide full-service travel information centres staffed by trained Ontario travel counsellors. These centres offer information and services such as currency exchange, attraction passes, and travel ideas and packages to help visitors get the most out of their experience in Ontario.

All service centers will offer self-serve tourism information such as Ontario maps, videos of Ontario travel experiences and promotions for regionally based travel products and services.

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13. Why don’t all the redeveloped service centres have staffed Ontario Travel Information Centres?

Two service centres have been selected as gateway locations to provide full-service travel information to provincial and international visitors travelling from the east (Quebec) and the southwest (U.S.). In order to provide these full-service travel centres, two existing Ontario travel centres in Windsor and Lancaster were relocated to Tilbury South and Bainsville.

All of the redeveloped service centres will offer self-serve information such as Ontario maps, videos of Ontario travel experiences and promotions for regionally based travel products and services.

In addition, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Ontario operates a network of 18 Ontario travel information centres across the province. For locations and for more information, visit www.ontariotravel.net/travelcentres.

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14. How will this project benefit the local economy and local residents?

This redevelopment project is creating construction related jobs as well as service centre jobs.

EllisDon, a leading Ontario contractor, is responsible for assembling the construction team, and the use of local-subcontractors is important to a project of this size. Approximately 350 construction workers will be on all the sites during construction.

Once complete, each service centre will employ approximately 100 to 150 people. In total, up to 2,500 people will be employed across the service centre system.

There will be other economic spin-offs including reinvestment of local sales tax dollars into the surrounding communities.

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