As "Highway 11", Yonge Street officially stretched 1,896 km (1,178 miles ). It starts at the edge (literally) of Lake Ontario in Toronto, in southern Ontario, Canada. From there, it runs north to Cochrane (about as far north as the roads run), gradually turns to the west as it goes around Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, and then to the town of Rainy River, bordering the state of Minnesota, United States. Officially, changes in provincial responsibility separated the now locally funded and controlled Yonge Street from Highway 11 during the 1990s, and Provincial Highway 11 does not start until after the town of Barrie, Ontario. This led to disputes over the "longest street in the world" claim of the approximately 56 km street.
Yonge Street is said to have started as a trail created by Huron Indians. The trail was used by numerous European explorers, such as Samuel de Champlain in 1615, and later became a military route. It was named Yonge Street in 1793, after Sir George Yonge , the British Secretary of War at the time, by John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (now Ontario). Simcoe also chose the site around the road as the Town of York (now Toronto), and had it paved to allow easier use by the military as a north-south route.
While still an important travel route across the province, as part of the Trans-Canada Highway, Yonge Street itself is home or close to many of the attractions of Toronto, such as street and theatre performances, the Eaton Centre, the Hockey Hall of Fame and at the very start of the road, the ferry to the Toronto Islands (actually a block over from Yonge, at the foot of Bay Street).