Link #72: The Longest Street in the World Ran for Almost 1,900 Km!


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Link #72: The Longest Street in the World Ran for Almost 1,900 Km!

Yonge Street
Yonge Street facing north taken from under the Gardener Express Way. Image credit: William Mewes cc2.0

Most of us take roads for granted. We see them every day and don’t bat an eyelid at the marvel that they are. However, as great an achievement as the concept of roads is for humanity, we still try to outdo ourselves by building greater and longer roads. In fact, we celebrate every time we manage to build the ‘biggest’ or ‘largest’ something in the world.

In terms of roads, up until recent years, the world’s longest street was considered to be Yonge Street in Canada. Our last post talked about how Ukraine almost got Darth Vader as its president and prime minister. Well, Yonge Street is both wider and longer than Ukraine!

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How Long Is Yonge Street?

Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue looking east, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1962. Image credit: Eric Trussler cc2.0

Yonge Street is pronounced simply as ‘Young Street’. It stretches for almost 1,900 km while Ukraine’s length and breadth are only 893 km and 1,316 km respectively. In fact, it is also one of the oldest streets in the region as it was used by the explorers and locals (Huron Indians) of those times.

Yonge Street stretches from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe and was recognised as the longest street in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records up until 1998. Even though Guinness Book dropped Yonge Street as the longest street in the world, many sources still maintain that myth.

Why Is Yonge Street No Longer the Longest Street in the World?

Highway 11 facing south in Orillia, Ontario
Highway 11 facing south in Orillia, Ontario. Taken from Highway 12 overpass. image credit: Floydian at en.wikipedia cc3.0

It’s likely that you’re wondering why the Guinness Book of World Records dropped Yonge Street from its list. The reason is the controversy surrounding Yonge Street which says that it is Highway 11 that stretches to Lake Simcoe and Yonge Street only merges with Highway 11 at its end.

In fact, the beginning of Yonge Street has never been in question. Instead, its end is questionable because it merges with Highway 11 and that too with a turn.

What Is the Longest Road in the World Right Now?

Pan-American Highway
Google Street View – Pan-American Trek – Icefields Parkway! Image credit: kevin dooley cc2.0

Even though so many people believe that Yonge Street is the longest street in the world, Guinness Book no longer agrees with them. The Guinness Book of World Records, in fact, dropped the moniker of the ‘longest street in the world’ after the controversy regarding Yonge Street.

It now lists the longest motorable road in the world. The longest motorable road in the world is the Pan-American Highway that covers 18 different countries and is connected to three others, spanning the two continents of North and South America.

The Pan-American Highway stretches for a whopping 48,000 km and crosses a diverse variety of terrains and climates. If you were to drive through the Pan-American Highway from beginning to end, you’ll see everything, including forests, deserts, snow landscapes, and even grasslands.

However, there is a break of approximately 100 km in the middle of the Pan-American Highway.

Why Does No One Complete the Pan American Highway?

Map of the Darién Gap by Pepe Robles (Roblespepe) cc3.0

The 100 km gap in the Pan-American Highway is called the Darien Gap. The gap exists between Central America and South America with the two countries involved being Panama and Columbia. The Darien Gap is entirely a stretch of marshland.

The reason why the two stretches of the Pan-American Highway have never been connected is because of environmental concerns. Darien Gap is said to be rich in environmental diversity and any construction will cause immense damage to the environment there.

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