BILLY BISHOP’S TUNNEL VISION BRINGS US TO THE FUTURE
If you wanted to fly out from the Toronto Island today it will only take you a short 6 minutes walk on the longest escalator system in Canada to reach the airport from the mainland, thanks to a pedestrian tunnel that open on July 30, 2015. After three years of construction and several delays, the pedestrian tunnel costing $82.5 million stretches 260 metres (853 feet), for a visual reference, that is just a bit longer than two football fields.
The Toronto airport officially opened as Port George VII Island Airport, it began operations in 1939. Known as the Toronto Island Airport until 2009 when it was renamed The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport after World War 1 pilot Billy Bishop.The airport has come a long way since its humble beginnings, tearing down 54 cottages and Hanlan’s Point Amusement Park to build. Today it is rated as Canada’s ninth busiest airport, accommodating commercial passengers for over 75 years and establishing itself as a world-class airport with over 2.7 million passengers traveling through each year.
Although the ferry system is still running the tunnel is much more convenient, in comparison to the boat trip that travels 121 metres and takes about 90 seconds, the tunnel will take six minutes but moving approximately 2.4 million passengers. Access to the tunnel is free at the foot of Bathurst Street and runs 10 storeys (30 metres) under Lake Ontario, featuring four moving walkways. Financed by the private sector, airport users will be paying a $20 airport improvement fee, investing however always pays off.