Toronto’s Pearson International


Canada’s busiest airport, Pearson (YYZ) is located about 20 km northwest of downtown and was used by over 36 million travellers in 2013.  Interestingly, it’s number two in North America (after JFK) for both international passengers and, along with JFK, is one of just two North American airports to serve six continents.

Since its beginnings as hundreds of acres of farmers’ fields in 1937 (and its first scheduled flight in 1939), Pearson has grown to feature a number of impressive innovations.  The airport introduced US pre-clearance in 1952 (who knew it was that long ago?); and today features the largest de-icing facility in the world, servicing over 10,000 aircraft each winter.

Speaking of ice, if your travels take you to warmer countries, you might want to check out YYZ’s coat check service for $2/day.

Other facilities include a range of retailers from convenient (7-ll) to electronic (Best Buy) to upscale (Salvatore Ferragamo).  There are five pay-as-you-go Plaza Premium Lounges, each an oasis of calm. And if you have some time to kill at Pearson and don’t want to spend it watching a loop of news and commercials in a departure lounge, you can always visit the 10,000 square foot  Good Life Gym in Terminal 1.  No work out clothes?  No excuse: they’ll rent you some, right down to the shoes.

Next up:  the much talked-about Union-Pearson rail service which promises more efficient transportation between downtown and the airport (which is actually in Mississauga) in time for this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Am Games starting July 10.

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