TORONTO – When it comes to new waterfront condos such as Fortune at Fort York, there can be no doubt that the Billy Bishop (“Island”) Airport, located just south of the foot of Bathurst Street, is one of the area’s biggest draws.
Administrated by PortsToronto and serviced exclusively by Porter Airlines, the airport provides busy professionals, students and vacationers with air travel routes to an expanding number of destinations – including New York, Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, and more – and all without having to leave the downtown core.
As of July 30, the experience of flying with Porter is even more seamless – as a newly-unveiled pedestrian tunnel has eliminated the need to travel via ferry to the airport’s island terminal.
Located 100 feet below street level, the tunnel – constructed at a total cost of $82.5 million – features moving sidewalks that will (according to Ports Toronto) allow pedestrians to traverse the entire tunnel within less than six minutes. For Torontonians, that means even less travel time from the front door to the departure gate.
“The tunnel will improve the already swift travel experience for the 2 million local passengers who pass through our airport each year en route to destinations around the world,” said Mark McQueen, Chairman of PortsToronto, in a statement released by the organization on July 30.
“Although it took 80 years to come to fruition, I am proud that it will serve the City of Toronto for the next 80 years, at least.”
In 2014, the tunnel’s innovative design – which also incorporates three City of Toronto water and sewer mains – was honoured with both the International Tunneling & Underground Space Association’s “Specialist Tunneling Project of the Year” Award, and the Tunneling Association of Canada’s “Canadian Project of the Year” Award.
The design’s efficiency and ease is matched by its suitability for tech-savvy travellers. In addition to 46 digital screens located throughout the tunnel, travellers will be able to enjoy a robust WiFi connection throughout their trip from the mainland to the terminal.
While the tunnel’s technological features are certainly its biggest selling point, it is not without its nods to the airport’s rich history. Flyers entering the tunnel’s mainland pavilion will be greeted by a life-sized bronze statue of William Avery “Billy” Bishop – the airport’s namesake – and a life-sized replica of the Nieuport 17 airplane that Bishop piloted, as well as a number of other artifacts on public display.