New ferry to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport officially named after sports hero Marilyn Bell

New ferry to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport officially named after sports hero Marilyn Bell

Marilyn Bell I immediately goes into service after ceremony

Toronto – Canadian sports hero Marilyn Bell Di Lascio was on hand to help officially name the new ferry serving the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (“BBTCA”) in her name this morning.

“We are pleased that Ms. Bell Di Lascio could be here to participate in the naming ceremony for this new vessel. She remains a timeless inspiration to Canadians, and especially female athletes, for her swimming achievements,” said Toronto Port Authority (“TPA”) President and Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Wilson.

After the ceremony, the new vessel went immediately into service, with Ms. Bell Di Lascio among its first passengers. A photo of the naming event is attached.

The TPA held a contest asking Canadians to choose the name of the new ferry and to rename the existing ferry serving BBTCA. A shortlist of 10 names was chosen from over a thousand entries submitted online and at kiosks at the BBTCA terminal. Torontonians could then vote for their favourite names through an online poll.

Marilyn Bell won the poll.

“I feel so privileged and happy that people still remember these feats that occurred a half-century ago,” said Ms. Bell Di Lascio. “I am honoured to have the new ferry named after me, and I hope it stands as a reflection of what people can achieve by working hard, working together and overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges.”

Ms. Bell Di Lascio was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in 1954 at the age of only 16. After swimming 21 hours from Youngstown, N.Y., she reached the northern shore of the lake just west of Exhibition Place in Toronto at what is now Marilyn Bell Park. She was also the youngest person to swim the English Channel and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The existing ferry was also renamed through the contest. It will be named after Flt. Lt. David Ernest Hornell, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and Victoria Cross recipient who was born on the Toronto Islands but died of injuries sustained in an air-sea battle with German forces in the North Sea during the Second World War. His name came in second in the online poll to name the ferry.

Ottawa resident Jane Dobell, one of several contest entrants who submitted Marilyn Bell’s name, was chosen as the winner of a $500 travel voucher with Porter Airlines.

The contest entry chosen naming David Hornell was submitted anonymously. The TPA has decided to donate this prize, a Toronto Harbour cruise from 416-CRUISES, to students at David Hornell Junior School.

A backgrounder on the BBTCA ferry vessels and their namesakes is available at

About the Toronto Port Authority

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. It is a federal public authority providing transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses. The TPA owns and operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Marine Terminals 51 and 52, and the Outer Harbour Marina. The TPA also provides regulatory controls and public works services to enhance the safety and efficiency of marine navigation and aviation in the port and harbour of Toronto.

Marilyn Bell Ceremony

From left, TPA President and CEO Geoffrey Wilson and Marilyn Bell Di Lascio officially naming the Marilyn Bell I just before its maiden voyage to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Jan. 22, 2010.

Background Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport ferry vessels(click to download)

For more information please contact

Janet MacDonald

(416) 863-2003