Pedestrian Tunnel Opens at Billy Bishop Airport


Passengers travelling via Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport no longer have to take the 90-second ferry across Lake Ontario to get to and from the city. A pedestrian tunnel connecting the airport to mainland Toronto opened yesterday (July 30) with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring mayor John Tory, transportation minister Lisa Raitt and chairman of PortsToronto Mark McQueen.

“Travellers can now enjoy a fast, convenient and reliable way to access the Billy Bishop Airport and no longer have to rely on taking the ferry as the only means of reaching the island airport,” said Tory, at the event. “For those of course who continue to need or want to take the ferry, it will continue to operate, transporting vehicles and travellers who chose to use it.”

In construction since 2012, the $82.5 million tunnel connects travellers through a combination of elevators, automated sidewalks and escalators (or stairs) within six minutes.

“Travellers will be able to reach the mainland in minutes and they’ll have that peace of mind that they won’t be late for their flights because of missing a ferry,” said Raitt. “More than two million business and leisure travellers come into this airport every year.”

The new infrastructure, which complements the existing ferry service, is being welcomed by Porter Airlines, whose main hub is located in the terminal.

“This is a highly anticipated day for our passengers and team members,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “The airport is now even more convenient for everyone who uses it.”

Although the tunnel is free to use, the cost will be paid for by airport users via a portion of the existing Airport Improvement Fee.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport pedestrian tunnel by the numbers:

  • 853 feet – The journey from mainland pavilion to island-side atrium is 853 feet in length; the tunnel itself is 550 feet.
  • 100 feet – From a bank of six elevators, passengers descend 100 feet to access the tunnel.
  • 2.3 km/hr – The pedestrian tunnel features four moving sidewalks travelling at 2.3 kilometres per hour.
  • 6 minutes – The complete journey through the pedestrian tunnel will take less than six minutes.
  • 32.8 feet – The tunnel is below approximately 32.8 feet (10 metres) of water, and 65.6 feet (20 metres) of rock and river bed.
  • $82.5 million – The tunnel cost $82.5 million, which is funded using a P3 model (public-private partnership) and through the $20 Airport Improvement Fee included in the cost of passengers’ flights. No taxpayer money was used to fund the project.
  • 2.4 million passengers – The tunnel will improve passenger flow for the approximately 2.4 million travellers that will pass through Billy Bishop Airport each year.
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