Those green and white signs along provincial highways are a familiar sight to drivers. They tell us how far it is to the next few cities and let us know we’re on the right track.

But a sign recently installed on Highway 11 north of Barrie is pointing drivers to a destination that’s a long, long way away.

The sign will certainly be a help if you're on Highway 11 going north – way north. 

“It said Rainy River, Thunder Bay and Cochrane. I was kind of surprised because I hadn't seen it before and I travel (Highway) 11 in the summertime, but I did notice it today,” says driver Brampton resident Maureen Mountjoy.

For the curious, the sign says Cochrane is 613 kilometres away, Thunder Bay is 1,345 km away, and Rainy River is a short 1,774 km up the highway.

And no, the sign isn’t in the wrong spot – those distances as measured from Barrie are right. The otherwise standard highway sign was the talk of gasoline alley today. 

“I thought that's odd. I've driven this route many, many times, I hadn't seen it before or noticed it before and thought that's new,” says Toronto resident Ted Barber. “But boy, that's odd marker to put from so far away.”

It’s not just a curiosity, however.

“I thought it was great because I go moose hunting up in that area and it's nice to know how far it is to go up there,” says Kevin Richards.

For some drivers Cochrane was a mystery, with long-time residents wondering where it was and why it was featured on a sign in Barrie. So was Rainy River, which is one of the last places on Highway 11 before you enter the United States.

“Rainy River; I don't know much about it, except that it's in Ontario and it's a long way away,” says Barber.

The destinations may seem like a long way away, but the Ministry of Transportation says the sign simply serves as a reminder to drivers that they are headed in the right direction.