Historic photo of TPA building

On January 19, 2015, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) rebranded as PortsToronto. Today, PortsToronto proudly owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Outer Harbour Marina, and Terminals 51 and 52 at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is a self-sustaining government business enterprise which invests in transportation infrastructure and community initiatives.

The Canada Marine Act originally established the TPA (now PortsToronto) on June 8, 1999, as part of a broad initiative of the federal government to modernize the administration and operation of ports. The TPA’s role was to operate the harbour and the airport. The TPA succeeded the Toronto Harbour Commissioners, which was founded in 1911.

The Toronto Harbour Commissioners was a joint federal-municipal agency responsible for the Toronto Harbour and the city’s waterfront. It was under the Harbour Commissioners that Billy Bishop Airport was constructed.


Date Description
1750 Fort Toronto trading port established
1793 Town of York founded. Province begins governing port
1844 Board of Trade begins campaign for a Harbour Trust to have jurisdiction over the harbour area
1850 Five Harbour Commissioners appointed to manage the harbour; begins a period of divided ownership and control of harbour with Commission, City, railroad and other private owners
1865 Waterfront Esplanade completed
1882 Breakwater constructed to protect Toronto Island
1911 Toronto Harbour Commissioners Act  passed by Federal Government
1912-1925 Toronto Harbour Commissioners (THC) present overall plan for the waterfront. Old piers cleared, waterlots filled creating the current harbour profile, Toronto Islands expanded, eastern Portlands created with fill, and breaches developed east and west of the harbour
1912-1961 THC enlarges the Toronto Islands to create recreational space for Torontonians
1914-1961 Toronto Harbour Commissioners builds the Quays that extend into the Toronto Bay, now known as Corus Quay (1959), HTO Park Quay, Eireann (formerly Bathurst) Quay (early 1920s), and others
1918 THC completes construction of 60 Harbour Street
1922 THC completes construction of Sunnyside Park and amusement park
1929 THC completes construction of Toronto’s first civil air harbor and commercial seaplane base
1929 THC completes the Ship Channel Bridge
1937 Construction begins on Malton and Toronto Islands Airports
1939 THC completes construction on Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – airport opens to the public
1959 St. Lawrence Seaway opens
1959 THC begins creation of the Leslie Street Spit
1962 Commissioners take over operation of marine terminals
1966 Toronto Port Police formed
1975 East gap becomes new port entrance
1982 Toronto Port and Harbour Police merge with Metropolitan Police
1983 THC, City and Federal Government sign Tripartite Agreement governing Toronto City Centre (formerly Toronto Island) Airport
1985 Intermodal operation initiated at Marine Terminal 35
1991-1994 THC cedes 640 acres of waterfront land to the City of Toronto and TEDCO
1998 Canada Marine Act comes into effect on June 11, 1998 and establishes the Toronto Port Authority (TPA)
1999 Toronto Harbour Commissioners transitions to the TPA under the Canada Port Authority
2005 International Marine Passenger Terminal opens
2006 Porter Airlines begins flying out of Toronto City Centre Airport
2009 Toronto City Centre Airport becomes Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA)
2011 Air Canada begins flying out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
TPA celebrates centenary
2012 Toronto Port Authority begins construction of pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
2014 Toronto Port Authority celebrates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport's 75th anniversary and the Outer Harbour Marina's 25thanniversary
2015 Toronto Port Authority rebrands as PortsToronto
2015 Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport opens its pedestrian tunnel, providing a fixed link between Toronto’s mainland and the island airport
2016 Billy Bishop Airport experiences its busiest summer in history with more than 782,000 passengers arriving and departing through the airport.
2017 PortsToronto officially opened its Ground Run-up Enclosure (GRE) facility –a three-sided, open-top facility designed to dampen the noise associated with high-power aircraft engine ground run-up operations at the airport.
2018 PortsToronto officially completes the Billy Bishop Airfield Rehabilitation Program – a significant three-year rehabilitation initiative that included the reconstruction of runways and taxiways, the installation of new energy efficient LED lighting, in addition to the construction of the Ground Run-up Enclosure (GRE).
2019 Billy Bishop Airport celebrates its 80th anniversary.