Toronto Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Toronto Airport

Toronto Pearson Airport is one of the largest in the world, particularly in terms of international passenger traffic, and is by far the largest in Canada, almost double the size of Vancouver Airport, with over thirty million passengers per annum. The airport has the official IATA code of YYZ, and its ICAO code is listed as CYYZ. It can also be referred to as the Lester B. Pearson International, as it is named in honour of the late Canadian Prime Minister and Noble Prize Winner, Lester Bowles Pearson, or simply as the Pearson Airport. The facilities location is approximately 22.5km, or 14 miles northwest of Downtown Toronto, and it is found in the municipality of Mississauga.

This large public airport, operated by the GTAA, or the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, and owned by Transport Canada, is located in the Ontario region of the country, and is quite nearby to the shores of Lake Ontario. The areas surrounding the site include Brampton and Mississauga, as well as The Elms, Eringate, Malton, Grahamsville and Frasers Corner. The airport serves the city of Toronto, its metropolitan area and the Golden Horseshoe, which is an urban conglomeration consisting of 25% of Canada’s population (about 8.1 million people). It is therefore a very important gateway for tourists and business professionals. In terms of tourism, thousands of visitors come from around the world to see the magnificent CN Tower, which is one of the tallest free-standing structures in the world, the Casa Loma, a unique castle in the city centre and to enjoy various types of entertainment at the Lake and at Ontario Place, a major theme park for summer attractions.

In the country of Canada, Toronto Pearson can be described as south of Barrie, east/northeast of London, Kitchener and Cambridge, and southwest of Montreal and Ottawa. The city is also just north and northeast of various American cities, such as Detroit, Buffalo and Erie. Canadian cities to the south of Toronto include Burlington, Hamilton and St. Catharines. The airport can easily be accessed from all of these areas and many others by bus or by private vehicle, as the road network is extensive. The main roads leading from the city to the site include the Highway 401 and the Highway 407, while from northern areas the Highways 400 and 401 are used. These main roads also provide access from cities further from Toronto. The smaller roads nearby include Airport Road and Dixon Road. These roads are used for access, but the others are open only to authorized vehicles. The Toronto Airport Express is a popular bus used from areas in Downtown Toronto, and many others travel from all other nearby areas. There are also taxis which serve the airport.

The airport currently has no train station, or any direct links to the nearest railway service, however, construction has begun on a rail link, and this line is to be completed in time for the 2015 Pan American Games.

This airport of Toronto came into existence in 1937, when a few farmlands were purchased by the Toronto Harbour Commission. It was first known as the Malton Airport, due to its location. A passenger terminal was built in 1938, and a second terminal was built in 1949. This terminal replaced the original building, and was capable of handling 400,000 passengers per annum. In 1958 it officially become known as the Toronto International, as it was sold to the Department of Transport. The location received another new terminal in the 1960’s, which replaced the previous one, and this terminal was designed by John B. Parkin, and featured a two-storey passenger concourse and a parking garage of eight levels. The new Terminal 1 was considered in the 1960’s as a state-of-the-art construction, but it already became overloaded by the early 1970’s. Terminal 2 was then built to relieve congestion at Terminal 1, and was initially used for charter operations. However, in 1973 it became the hub for Air Canada’s passenger flights. Between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 there were moving walkways.

In 1984, the airport was renamed to the Lester B. Pearson International, in honour of the fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada, and a third terminal was opened in 1991. When the airport was transferred to the responsibility of the GTAA, a project was put into motion to re-design the terminal layout, and to replace Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 with a new passenger building. It was a 4.4 billion Canadian Dollar Development Program to greatly expand the destination’s capacity. New runways and cargo facilities were also added. The new Terminal 1 had Piers D and E operational by April 2004, and then handled domestic flights, while Terminal 2 continued with international flights. The new terminal was finally completed by January 2007, and the demolition of Terminal 2 began. The current Terminal 1 is designed with easy expansion in mind, as is it expected that the airport will be handling up to 55 million passengers by 2020. Further expansion will therefore occur in the near future at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

At present, Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are in full operation, and they are connected by the Link Train, the efficient people mover system that began its services in 2006. It is automated, and moves between the terminal in just ninety seconds. It also connects the terminals with the parking facilities on Viscount Road. The Link Train is free for all persons to use, and is accessible to disabled passengers. Today, Terminal 1 covers a total surface area of 464,000 square metres, and is therefore regarded as the eleventh largest airport terminal in the world. Star Alliance airline members operate from this terminal, as well as a few others. Terminal 3 is home to Oneworld and SkyTeam airline companies, as well to airlines which are not affiliated with an airline alliance. Since that Toronto is a major gateway to Northern America, it is equipped with U.S Preclearance facilities. Over ten million people travel every year between the location and the United States.

Toronto Airport has five runways, three of which are longer than 3,000 metres, and three which are just over 2,500 metres in length. They are capable of handling aircraft of all sizes, including the Airbus A380, which is currently in use by Emirates, taking passengers to Dubai. In 2010, the airport had 31.9 million passengers, and 2011 proved even more successful, ending with just over 33 million passengers. On average, 86,000 passengers pass through the airport every day, and over one thousand flights are handled. The aircraft movements are recorded at almost 420,000 each year. The airport is significant for cargo operations as well, as it processes over 45% of Canada’s air cargo, and has 1.2 million square feet of warehouse space.

Toronto Pearson is the largest hub for the airline carrier of Air Canada, which also makes it a major Star Alliance hub, and is also regarded as a hub for Air Canada Express, Air Transat, CanJet, Sunwing Airlines and WestJet. Over one hundred destinations are served by these airline companies and others, and they include Beijing, Boston, Miami, London-Heathrow, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, San Francisco, Dallas, Glasgow, Munich, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Venice, New York and Brussels, amongst many others. Additional airline companies of importance include British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Austrian Airlines, American Airlines, Alitalia, Air France, Icelandair, Jet Airways, SATA International, United Airlines and Turkish Airlines. A number of charter companies offer flights from Toronto as well.

Passenger facilities of Pearson Airport are extensive, and include a large number of modern and comfortable lounges, some for use only by passengers on certain airline carriers and others for all passengers, a large variety of shops and restaurants, duty-free shops, currency exchange services, free WiFi connections, lost and found services and an Aviation Interfaith Ministry. There are also children’s play areas available, and porter services. The entire complex is accessible to disabled passengers. Toronto Airport is considered as quite a place for artistic decorations as well, and takes great pride in numerous intriguing displays of art works. In Terminal 1, there is even ‘A Scene from the Late Jurassic’, with two incredible dinosaurs that are courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Further details regarding the airport information is available at the following contact numbers: 416-247-7678, or 1-866-207-1690,or from the information counters.

The Air Transport Association (IATA) code for Toronto Airport is YYZ. it is also known as Lester B. Pearson International We have provided the GPS location which are as follows 43.67722, -79.63056 to help either your arrival directions to or perhaps give you directions from Lester B. Pearson International to your chosen destination.

Find below a choice of Airlines, destination and flight times from Toronto .

Destination Weekly Flights Distance
Ottawa Macdonald Cartier (YOW) 164 363 Km (226 Miles)
Montreal pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL) 153 507 Km (315 Miles)
New York La Guardia (LGA) 138 574 Km (357 Miles)
Chicago O'Hare (ORD) 138 700 Km (435 Miles)
Newark (EWR) 116 559 Km (347 Miles)
Richmond Vancouver (YVR) 107 3,345 Km (2,079 Miles)
Calgary (YYC) 89 2,689 Km (1,671 Miles)
Detroit (DTW) 79 344 Km (214 Miles)
Halifax (YHZ) 78 1,288 Km (800 Miles)
Edmonton (YEG) 76 2,689 Km (1,671 Miles)

Air Canada, United Airlines and Air Canada Express are the three busiest Airlines that fly out of the airport; together they cover around 208 routes out of the total of 178. The busiest which is Air Canada covers a total of 2,212 flights per week and goes to 112 destinations. Air Canada travels to 26% of the total destinations. Air Canada airline offers flights to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International, Montréal-pierre Elliott Trudeau International , La Guardia, O'Hare International, Vancouver International and Halifax International among others.

You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered from Toronto with approximate times

Airliner Destination Flight Time (Est)
Air Canada Ottawa Macdonald Cartier (YOW) 1 hour 5 minutes
Air Canada Montreal pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL) 1 hour 25 minutes
Air Canada New York La Guardia (LGA) 1 hour 29 minutes
Air Canada Chicago O'Hare (ORD) 1 hour 38 minutes
Air Canada Richmond Vancouver (YVR) 4 hours 45 minutes
Air Canada Halifax (YHZ) 2 hours 20 minutes

Many popular hire car companies are located at the airport and are situated either in the Arrivals lounge or very close by. Please bring your valid driving licence and credit card if your require a hire car on your trip to Toronto. To be sure of beating the queues it is wise to book your Toronto Car hire online, please visit the link for more information.