Agreement Reached with Private Sector to Restore Historic Terminal A Building at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

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Toronto, Ontario (June 3, 2014) – The Toronto Port Authority today announced an agreement in principle with the private sector to repair, restore and re-open the historic Terminal A building at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).
Built in 1939, Terminal A is BBTCA’s original terminal and a rare example of early airport terminal construction. This building is one of the oldest in Canada and one of only a few of its kind remaining in the world. A similar building at Malton Airport, now Toronto Pearson International Airport, was torn down in the 1960s. Prior to the new BBTCA terminal being opened in 2010, Terminal A provided facilities for passenger and baggage handling, air traffic control and airport administration.
The agreement has been reached with a group of private investors, represented by Toronto businessman and private pilot Alexander Younger. The project will involve moving the building slightly east on the existing airport property towards Hanlan’s Point, restoring and renovating the structure, and opening the terminal as a public restaurant and event space. Designers and television personalities Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe (Real Potential, Sarah’s House) have confirmed interest in designing the new space, and celebrity chef and restaurateur Lynn Crawford (Pitchin’ In, Top Chef Canada) and Ruby Watchco Executive Chef Lora Kirk (Iron Chef America) will also participate in the project with respect to the venue’s future food service offering and event space management.
“Terminal A is an important part of Canada’s rich aviation history and we are pleased to be giving this building a new lease on life,” said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO, Toronto Port Authority. “When the new airport terminal opened in 2010, we de-commissioned Terminal A and were faced with a difficult decision as to what would become of this important piece of Toronto history. We wanted to save the building and began looking for ideas and opportunities to put the building back into service, ideally as a public building for the waterfront community. We are excited to have now reached an agreement in principle to restore the building and create a space that can be enjoyed by private aviators, boaters and the general public alike.”
In addition to serving as a new space for the general public to enjoy, the restored terminal will also offer amenities and services to the general aviation community at BBTCA.
“The TPA is committed to the long-term presence of the general aviation community at Billy Bishop Airport, as I outlined in a speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on October 21, 2013. Our collaboration with the private sector on this unique project provides two important benefits. It brings new life to the historic Terminal A building, and provides for new dedicated tarmac space for our private pilot community,” said Mark McQueen, Toronto Port Authority Chairman. “We are grateful for Alexander’s vision.”
“As a pilot who has flown my own aircraft, for business and leisure, out of Billy Bishop Airport for 30 years, I know firsthand that there is a passionate and engaged community of aviators who will welcome the opportunity to preserve this historic building and have a space that can serve as a base of operations as well as a social hub,” said Alexander Younger, owner of Design Lab and representative of the private investors involved in the project. “With Sarah Richardson, Tommy Smythe, Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk also onboard for this exciting project, this building is sure to become a destination for Torontonians and visitors alike looking for good food, interesting architecture and a best-in-class view of the city. We are all so pleased to be able to find and invest in a new future for this important historical asset.”
“The restored terminal is a great addition to the Billy Bishop Airport,” said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, City of Toronto. “The terminal building is an important part of Canada’s aviation legacy and a vital piece of Toronto’s heritage. We are very pleased that the building is being restored and transformed into a public space that everyone can enjoy.”
Specific plans and timelines for the project are being determined and will be communicated in the coming months. To download historical images of Terminal A please click here:
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About the Toronto Port Authority (
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Port of Toronto (Terminals 51 and 52), and Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina. In addition to moving more than two million passengers through the airport in 2013, the Port Authority provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port, and owns and operates Toronto’s largest freshwater marina. The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999, as a government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners.
For more information contact:
Erin Mikaluk
Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations
Toronto Port Authority
Tel: (416) 863-2065
Cell: (647) 298-0544