Malton Airport, built on what were farmers' fields in the 1930s, hosted its first scheduled passenger flight (a Trans-Canada Airlines DC-3 landing) on August 29, 1939. From 1940-1942, Malton hosted a World War II British Commonwealth Air Training Plan flight school. Malton Airport became Toronto International Airport in 1960. Various terminal buildings have been constructed and demolished over the years as the airport expanded; Aeroquay One (1964) was demolished in 2004 and replaced with a new Terminal 1, while Terminal 2 (1972) was demolished in 2007.
As Toronto surpassed Montréal to become Canada's largest city in the 1970s, traffic through Pearson has been steadily increasing. While Air Canada's corporate headquarters remain in Montréal, Toronto Pearson is now the airline's largest hub. The airport's "YYZ" Morse code identifier (- . - - - . - - - - . .) appears in a Rush (band) track of the same name from the album Moving Pictures (1981).
While Montréal traffic was split for many years with the construction of an awkward outlying airport at Mirabel, a second major Toronto-area airport proposed for Pickering met with strong local opposition since the mid-1970s and was never constructed. While some short-range flights to destinations like Montréal, New York and Chicago operate from Toronto Islands airport, the bulk of Toronto's passenger volume by necessity goes through Pearson, the second-busiest airport for international traffic (behind John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City) in North America.
There are two terminals at the airport: 1 and 3 (2 was demolished due to new development). Flights are arranged in this way:
- Terminal 1 - Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Egyptair, Emirates, Ethiopian, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Jet Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Sunwing, Turkish Airlines, United
- Terminal 3 - All other airlines
For flights to the USA, you go through US customs and immigration after check-in. This is generally a quick process and saves any queuing in the States. At peak times the lines at security can be very long so allow plenty of time to get through the system.
Airport taxi fares range from $19-78 (east) and $19-65 (west). Limousine fares are $21-86 (east) and $21-72 (west). Fares out of town are typically $1.55/km (taxi) and $1.45/km (limousine).
- Taxis to downtown Toronto run a flat rate of $53 (other areas of the city vary but are also flat rate,) while airport limousines go slightly higher ($58 to downtown Toronto). Limousines are generally slightly larger (though not stretched), most are dark-blue Lincoln Town Cars and a bit more comfortable than taxis. As the airport is not in Toronto, regular Toronto city cabs do not pick up fares at the Pearson air terminals. Government approved rates can be found online.
- Fake taxis (also called "Gypsy Cabs" by the locals) are frequently found congregating around Pearson Airport. If a driver approaches you inside the arrivals hall and asks if you need a ride, and you didn't arrange a car in advance, they are definitely unlicensed (legitimate cab drivers are prohibited by law from entering the terminal building to look for passengers.) While the risk of being a victim of crime as an unlicensed taxi passenger is very low, it should be noted that drivers and their vehicles are not held to the same safety and maintenance standards as their licensed counterparts. If you decide to patronize a Gypsy Cab, proceed at your own risk and be sure to agree on a fare in advance!
- Uber cars provide transport to and from the airport. Only the Uber Black and Uber SUV services are available, sometimes using the same vehicles as the existing limo service but at a premium price (UberBlack for $88 to $115, UberSUV $100 to $128, of which $15 per ride goes to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority). UberX to downtown Toronto is no longer available.
Various local buses serve Pearson airport:
- Brampton Transit runs Airport Express (route 115) buses from the airport to Bramalea City Centre in Brampton, a suburb directly north of Mississauga.
- GO Transit operates Route 40 – Airport Express GO Bus hourly, seven days a week to Richmond Hill Centre Terminal via Highway 407 ($6.35 one way); Route 34 – Brampton/ Pearson Airport/ North York GO Bus runs to Brampton and to a pair of Toronto subway stations (Yorkdale and York Mills) near Highway 401 in North York ($5.70).
- MiWay operates local bus service to the airport from Square One mall (Cooksville) and Westwood Mall (Malton) within the city of Mississauga, as well as rush-hour service to Islington TTC in Etobicoke.
- TTC (Toronto Transit Commission, +1 416-393-INFO) has the all-day 192/52A buses and the overnight 300A/307. The 192 "Airport Rocket" makes a beeline for Kipling station in Etobicoke, the westernmost point on the subway system; the 52A is a local bus to Lawrence/Lawrence West stations which makes frequent stops. At $3.25/passenger from the airport to any point on TTC's system (which covers the entire +1 416 area code), these are a bargain compared to UP Express trains or taxi-limo rides (typically $53-58 to downtown Toronto). The cost saving is at the expense of longer total travel time (about 50 minutes, including the subway ride from the end of the line to downtown Toronto).
The Union Pearson Express train goes to downtown Toronto:
- Union Pearson Express, Toronto Union Station, ☎ , fax: . An express train operating from Union Station to the airport in 25 minutes, with trains departing every 15 minutes. Airline check-in kiosks, luggage racks, onboard Wi-Fi and up-to-the-minute flight information provided. $12/person, one-way ($9 for PRESTO cardholders).
A few intercity buses serve the airport directly.
- Coach Canada (Stagecoach Plc) runs to Port Hope, Trenton, Belleville, Napanee and Kingston, serving various points along Ontario Highway 401. Megabus, owned by the same company, makes these same stops but continues to Queen's University; the end-to-end journey takes 3:45 and costs $50/person.
- Terminal Link train runs every 4-8 minutes between Terminal 1, Terminal 3 and Viscount Road (Value Park Garage, Value Park Lot and ALT Hotel). Free.
There are various temporary or permanent artistic exhibitions scattered through Terminal 1, as well as eight permanent sculpture installations. The Royal Ontario Museum operates a small display of dinosaurs; other partners for temporary exhibitions include Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the CONTACT Photography Festival, Design Exchange, Ontario Crafts Council and Open Studio.
Eat and drink
This is a partial listing, see http://torontopearson.com/en/shopdinerelax/retail-directory/ for a full directory.
- A & W, Terminal 1, domestic airside, ☎ . Inexpensive fast food, hamburgers, root beer.
- Apropos, Terminal 1, US airside, toll-free: . Brew pub.
- Caplansky's, Terminal 1, Level 3, streetside, ☎ . Snack bar and deli.
- Corso, Terminal 3, domestic airside, toll-free: . Trattoria featuring traditional Italian cuisine, rustic Italian flavours, fresh-made pastas, pizzas, salads and antipasti.
- Fetta Panini Bar, Terminal 1, international airside, toll-free: .
- Heirloom Bakery Café, Terminal 1 and 3, international airside, toll-free: . Soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods.
- Nobel Burger Bar, Terminal 3, US airside, toll-free: . Chef-inspired gourmet burgers. Open kitchen in the centre of the restaurant, build your own burger or choose from a menu.
- Starbucks, Terminal 1, streetside, ☎ . Coffee shop, multiple locations.
- Subway, Terminals 1 and 3, streetside, ☎ . Submarine sandwiches.
- Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Terminal 1, Level 3 streetside, 6301 Silver Dart Drive, ☎ . Chicken. Moderately-priced sit-down restaurant.
- Tim Hortons, Terminal 1 and 3, streetside. Coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches. Multiple locations in both terminals.
- Vinifera, Terminals 1 and 3, international airside, toll-free: . Wine bar, menu features small plates, salads and paninis with fresh ingredients.
- 7-Eleven, Terminal 1, streetside, ☎ . Convenience store, two locations.
- Best Buy Express, Terminals 1 and 3, streetside and airside. Consumer electronics.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Terminal 1 Level 1, streetside, ☎ . Big-five domestic chartered bank, currency exchange, at arrivals level.
- Maclean's, Terminals 1 and 3, streetside, ☎ . News stand.
- Relay, Terminals 1 and 3, multiple locations, ☎ . News stand.
- Samsonite, Terminals 1 and 3, streetside, ☎ . Travel luggage.
- Toronto Marketplace, Terminal 3, streetside, ☎ . Souvenir shop on Terminal 3 departure level.
- Travel Store, Terminal 3, streetside, ☎ . Travel accessories, luggage, travel backpacks and bags, leather goods, jewellery, watches, umbrellas and belts. Luggage storage service.
- Travelex Currency Exchange, Terminal 1 and 3, streetside, ☎ . Foreign currency exchange, multiple locations in both terminals.
Free Wi-Fi is available in both terminals. Select “Toronto Pearson Wi-Fi” from the network list, launch a web browser and click "connect" on the Boingo landing page.
- Luggage storage is available at any of the Samsonite stores.
- Aviation Interfaith Ministry, Interfaith centres in Terminals 1 and 3. One set of daily religious services in each terminal. Interdenominational Christian worship service weekdays, Toronto Airport Catholic Chaplaincy holy mass seven days a week. Pastoral care to guests, airport and airline employees and their families.
- Goodlife Fitness (Terminal 1 arrivals level, Gate F), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4:00 am-11:30 pm. Work out and get a show while you wait in the airport. $15 including towel service. $10 extra to rent work-out clothes and shoes. Free luggage storage..
There is one hotel in the airport, and another nearby:
- Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Terminal 3 · Malton Airport (YYZ), ☎ . Only hotel in the airport terminal.
- 1 ALT Hotel, 6080 Viscount Road, Mississauga, ☎ , toll-free: . On airport grounds, near Link Train station and value car park lots.
The main hotel strip serving Pearson airport is Airport Road (Mississauga), which continues into Toronto as Dixon Road (Etobicoke). The municipal boundary is Highway 427, a busy freeway.
- 2 Four Points by Sheraton, 6257 Airport Road, ☎ , toll-free: . 500m from airport, shuttle bus to terminals, 24-hour business centre, fitness, on-site restaurant.
- 3 Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites, 5875 Airport Road, L4V 1N1, ☎ . Check-in: 3 pm, check-out: noon. Complimentary airport shuttle,overnight parking, meeting and banquet facilities, outdoor heated pool, squash, sauna, suites available. from $129.
- 4 Courtyard by Marriott, 231 Carlingview Drive, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 5 International Plaza, 655 Dixon Road, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 6 Airport Marriott, 901 Dixon Rd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 7 Quality Suites Toronto Airport, 262 Carlingview Dr., ☎ , fax: . Two-room suites, separate bedroom with king bed and television and living room with sofa sleeper, coffee maker, dining room table with chairs. Some suites include refrigerators and microwaves. Meeting and banquet rooms accommodate up to 120. Graffiti's Italian Eatery & Saloon on-site with room service. News stand and souvenir shop, Stay & Fly packages.
- 8 Radisson, 640 Dixon Road, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Includes airport shuttle and Wi-Fi. Fitness centre, on-site dining.
- 9 Travelodge, 925 Dixon Road, ☎ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 10 Holiday Inn, 970 Dixon Road, ☎ .
There are also a few restaurants on the Airport Road/Dixon Road hotel strip, either as part of various hotels or operated stand-alone.