How the pandemic played a role in crowning the CAA's 2021 Worst Roads poll

·3 min read
How the pandemic played a role in crowning the CAA's 2021 Worst Roads poll
How the pandemic played a role in crowning the CAA's 2021 Worst Roads poll

Embedded content:

Springtime – when one basks in warmer weather, takes in the scent of new blossoms, and finds out the hard way which local roads came off worst during the annual freeze-thaw seasonal switchover.

In a country with such extreme temperature shifts between winter and summer, even in a relatively milder region like southern Ontario, it's a guarantee that some roads will emerge poorly, with new potholes and cracks, or existing ones made worse.

If you're wondering, then, which road in all of Ontario is the worst this season, the CAA has your answer: Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, which topped the association's 2021 Worst Roads in Ontario list for the first time, based on votes cast by the public. Ottawa's Carling Avenue comes in second, while Barton Street East in Hamilton comes in third.

Tina Wong, a spokeswoman for CAA South Central Ontario, says there's been a lot of shift in the kinds of roads represented in this year's list compared to past years, with several 'repeat offenders' falling off the list, and new appearances by roads in smaller communities – and she thinks the pandemic may have a hand in it.

"People are working from home. They're shopping locally. They're limiting their mobility to just those essential trips," she told The Weather Network. "So that's why we're seeing different roads pop up on the list because people have fundamentally change their travel patterns."

Worst Road - Victoria Road, Prince Edward County 2021 CAA
Worst Road - Victoria Road, Prince Edward County 2021 CAA

Prince Edward County's Victoria Road was voted the worst road in Ontario in 2021, marking its first appearance on the infamous ranking. (CAA South Central Ontario)

It wasn't all bad – the CAA says Riverdale Drive in Washago dropped out of the top 10, and Toronto's Eglinton Avenue East tumbled from first place to fifth. The association adds that, with traffic volumes still lower than their traditional peak due to the pandemic, local governments should take advantage to affect repairs.

In all, voters nominated roads in a total of 117 municipalities. The CAA says the biggest reasons for a particular nomination were potholes or crumbling pavement (81 per cent), traffic (11 per cent), or absent or substandard walking surfaces (7 per cent).

"Up to a quarter of our votes this year came from people who told us that they were walking or they were riding bikes, and so we are seeing those factors figure prominently into why people tell us, you know, a particular road really needs perhaps more bike Lanes or more sidewalks," Wong says.

You can find this year's worst offenders below, and the full list at


  1. Victoria Road, Prince Edward County

  2. Carling Avenue, Ottawa

  3. Barton Street East, Hamilton

  4. County Road 49, Prince Edward County

  5. Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto

  6. Hunt Club Road, Ottawa

  7. Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto

  8. Innes Road, Ottawa

  9. Algonquin Boulevard West, Timmins

  10. Queen Street, Kingston


Central — Bell Farm Road, Barrie Eastern — Victoria Road, Prince Edward County Halton-Peel-York-Durham — Speers Roads, Oakville Niagara — Whirlpool Road, Niagara Falls North — Algonquin Boulevard West, Timmins Southwest — Plank Road, Sarnia Western — York Road, Guelph