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Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport vs Pearson Airport

Overview of Toronto Airports

Toronto is served by two airports, Billy Bishop and Pearson International. Arriving from outside Canada and the US you probably will have to use Pearson.

Billy Bishop airport is closer to the city (and can be reached by free pedestrian ferry!), but public transport to Pearson International is quick and not expensive. We summarise here all you need to know about arriving and departing from either airport.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Transportation options from the Toronto airports
Distance to the center of Toronto The airport is located on the island next to the city center. Besides public transport, you can get to downtown Toronto by using a tunnel with escalators that connects the island to the city. 26 km = 16 miles
Public transport general operating hours 5 a.m. – 1:35 a.m. Ferry services: 5:15 a.m. - 12:07 a.m.; Airport Shuttle: 5 a.m. – 12:07 a.m. (8:45 p.m. on Saturdays); TTC: 5:25 a.m. – 1:35 a.m. 24/7; TTC daytime service: 5:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. (lines 52A and 192); TTC night-time service (lines 300 and 307): 2 a.m. – 5 a.m.; Go Transit: 5 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Union Pearson Express: 5:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Ferry services The ferry service takes passengers from the airport to the beginning of the Bathurst Street. The journey lasts 2 minutes (a 121-meter ride).   Departing frequency – 15 minutes.   Fares: free for pedestrians, C$11 for vehicles. N/A
Billy Bishop Airport Shuttle bus The Airport Shuttle buses run between the airport’s mainland ferry terminal and the Union Station. Travel times vary depending on traffic, but are approximately 15 minutes.   Departing frequency – 15 minutes.   Fares: shuttles are free both for passengers and non-passengers.   Note: from the Union Station you can catch a connection in various directions in Toronto. N/A
TTC (Toronto Transit Commision) Buses of the TTC system depart from the Bathurst Street/Fleet Street station to the Union Station (line 509) and the Bathurst subway station (line 511). Travel times are around 10 minutes to the Union Station and up to 20 minutes to the Bathurst station.   Departing frequency – up to 5 minutes during peak and around 10 minutes during off-peak hours.   Fares: C$3.25 single journey; C$43.75 Weekly Pass; C$146.25 Monthly Pass. Buses of the TTC system depart from both terminals (T1 and T3).   Line 52A Lawrence West operates to the Lawrence and Lawrence West subway stations, from where you can catch further connections to the city center. Travel times are generally between 70 and 90 minutes.   Departing frequency – up to 10 minutes during peak and up to 20 minutes during off-peak hours.   Line 192 Airport Rocket (express line) operates to the Kipling Station, from where you can catch further connections. Travel times are 20, 25 minutes.   Departing frequency – 10 minutes.   Fares: C$3.25 single journey; C$43.75 Weekly Pass; C$146.25 Monthly Pass.
TTC nighttime service N/A Line 300 runs to Bloor-Danforth corridor. Travel times are approximately 45 minutes.   Departing frequency – 20 minutes on workdays and 30 minutes on weekends.   Line 332 operates to Eglinton West. Travel times are around 45 minutes.   Departing frequency – 30 minutes.   Fares: C$3.25 single journey; C$43.75 Weekly Pass; C$146.25 Monthly Pass.
Go Transit N/A Line 34 operates to the Finch Bus Terminal in North York. Further connections are available from there. Travel times are up to 30 minutes.   Departing frequency – 30 minutes during peak and an hour during off-peak hours and on weekends.   Fares: up to C$6.4 single ride (to the Finch Bus Terminal), C$12.8 Day Pass.   Line 40 operates to the Richmond Hill Centre in North York. Further connections are available from there. Travel times are around 20 minutes.   Departing frequency – 30 minutes during peak and an hour during off-peak hours and on weekends.   Fares: C$9.7 single ride (to the Richmond Hill Go Station), C$19.4 day pass.
Union Pearson Express rail   UPE trains run between Pearson Airport and the Union Station in downtown Toronto, with stops at Weston and Bloor stations. Travel times are up to 25 minutes (the Union Station).   Departing frequency – 15 minutes.   Fares: C$12 (to the Union Station) one-way trip, C$24 return trip.
Limo services N/A Approximate fares to downtown Toronto are C$60 + tips.
Taxi / Cab Services Taxi station is located next to the mainland’s ferry terminal. Minimum charged fares for short trips are C$10 (+ tips). Some usual fares are: C$10 to the Union Station, up to C$13 to the Financial District, up to C$15 to the Toronto University and around C$60 to the Toronto Pearson Airport.   Note: initial charge is C$4.25 and rate per kilometre is C$1.75. Taxi fares from the Pearson Airport to downtown Toronto range between C$50 and C$60 + tips.   Note: initial charge is C$4.25 and rate per kilometre is C$1.75.
On demand taxis Uber on demand; estimated fares to the University of Toronto: UberX - C$10-C$13, UberXL - C$18-C$23, UberBLACK - C$26-C$32. Uber on demand; estimated fares to the CN Tower in downtown Toronto: UberSELECT – C$71-C$94, UberBLACK – C$103-C$135.
Which airport is most suitable for me?
How close to Toronto and the city’s main tourist attractions? The Billy Bishop International Airport is located in the vicinity of Toronto city core.   The city center is merely minutes away and most top tourist attractions can be reached in half an hour (CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Art Gallery of Ontario) or slightly more (Casa Loma) from the airport. The Pearson Airport is further away from downtown Toronto, but it features convenient and efficient transportation options to any part of the city.   The city center and its major points of interest can be reached between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the chosen transfer option.
Cost factor The Billy Bishop Airport is the better option in regard to the proximity to downtown Toronto.   The airport mostly handles flights between North American destinations and flight fares of common destinations aren’t significantly different from the Pearson Airport’s.   On the other hand, hotel and car hire rates tend to be pretty higher than at the Pearson Airport. The Pearson Airport is the main Toronto’s airport, handling national and international flights.   Flight fares between the North American destinations are similar to the Billy Bishop Airport, while fares from European destinations are generally lower.   The Pearson Airport is also a more affordable option than the other airport if you intend to book a hotel room and rent a car.
Airport delays Delay indexes for the Billy Bishop Airport are very low, in general. No significant delays are related to the Pearson Airport.
Flight fares   Prices taken for April 2017 (searched on 1.2.17.). From C$216-Boston, C$230-Washington, D.C., C$239-New York, C$266-Chicago, C$292-Miami, C$514-Minneapolis, C$784-Istanbul. From C$95-Amsterdam, C$102-Paris, C$103-Barcelona, C$104-London, C$108-Berlin, C$114-Rome, C$135-Madrid, C$158-Montreal, C$165-Frankfurt, C$213-Boston, C$229-Washington, D.C., C$239 New York, C$257-Chicago, C$292-Miami, C$346-Varadero, C$516-Minneapolis.
Car hire   Prices taken for the 1.4.-7.4.17. period (searched on 1.2.17.). Economy cars (Kia Rio, Mazda 2): US$253-US$370.   Intermediate cars (Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Sonata): US$296-US$428. Budget cars (Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500): US$261-US$286.   Intermediate cars (Vw Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Sonata): US$181-US$413.
Hotel costs per night from 1.4.-2.4.17. (searched on 1.2.17.) 3-star The Novotel Toronto Centre – C$169.   4-star Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront – C$209. 3-star Best Western Plus Toronto Airport Hotel– C$99.   4-star Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suits – C$109.   Hotel accommodation tends to be up to 50% cheaper at the Pearson Airport compared to the Billy Bishop Airport.
Airport facilities
Shopping Duty Free Store is located in the Departures terminal. Terminal 1: 7-Eleven, Aveda, Burberry, Bulgari, Coach, Duty Free Store, Goodlife Fitness, Gucci, iStore, Longines, MAC Cosmetics, Metalsmiths Sterling, Michael Kors, Montblanc, Relay, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Omega, Salvatore Ferragamo, Samsonite, Swarovski, Travelers Box, Tumi, Victoria’s Secret, Skyhealth Express. Terminal 3: Bally, Bulgari, Discover Canada, iStore, Metalsmiths Sterling, Relay, Samsonite, Skyhealth Express Kiosk, Duty Free Store, The Source, Travel Store, Travelers Box.
Eating & drinking Aroma Espresso Bar, Billy Bishop Café. Terminal 1: A&W, Apropos, Bento Sushi, Booster Juice, Caffe di Calabria, Caplansky’s Snack Bar, Escape to the Caribbean, Farmers Market, Heirloom Bakery Café, Marathi, Mill Street Brewery, Starbucks, Subway, Thai Express, Tim Hortons, Upper Crust, Vinifera, Wahlburgers. Terminal 3: Beerhive, Booster Juice, Caplansky’s Deli, Corso, DAVIDsTEA, Eurobar, Freshii, Heirloom Bakery Café, Ice Bar, Paramount Fine Foods, Smashburger, Shanghai 360, Starbucks, Subway, Tim Hortons, Urban Crave, Vinifera, Wendy’s.
Lounges The Departures area is a big lounge. Terminals 1 and 3: Plaza Premium Lounges. Terminal 1: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, American Express Lounge. Terminal 3: American Airlines Admirals Club, Air France/KLM Crown Lounge.
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi is free at the Billy Bishop Airport. Wi-Fi is free at the Pearson Airport.
Terminal information. How many? How to transfer? Minimum connection time. Billy Bishop Airport has one terminal. Toronto Pearson Airport has 2 terminals – T1 and T3. The Terminal Link trains connect the terminals; trains run every 4 (peak) and 8 (off-peak) minutes. Transfer times between terminals are usually between an hour and 1:30.
Currency exchange & cash points ATMs and cash points can be found around the Departures and at the mainland ferry terminal; the currency exchange kiosk is located in front of the check-in counter. ATMs and cash points are available throughout both terminals. International Currency Exchange offices are located throughout both terminals. CIBC Banking Centre’s points are available throughout Terminal 1 and in Departures section of Terminal 3.
Important phone numbers Lost and found: 1 844 559 5721.   General information: 1 866 207 1690; Police: 905 453 33 11; Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute: 416 776 5997.
Major airlines and destinations
Major operating airlines Air Canada and Porter. Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, United.
Major destinations Boston, Montreal, New York, Chicago, Ottawa, Washington, D.C., Thunder Bay, Pittsburgh. Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Delhi, Frankfurt, Geneva, Havana, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Paris, Riyadh, Rome, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Seoul, Sydney, Varadero, Tokyo, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich.
Car Hire
Operating companies Hertz and Enterprise. Terminal 1: Alamo, Budget, National, Avis, Enterprise, Dollar. Terminal 3: Budget, Thrifty.
Online car hire Deals? 3% cashback Car hire Billy Bishop Toronto Airport 3% cashback Car hire Toronto Pearson Airport
Additional information
Tourist Info Centers The most convenient Tourist Info Center is located next to the Union Station (Ontario Travel Information Centre). Information desks are available on the Arrivals levels in both terminals.
Official airport website https://www.portstoronto.com/airport.aspx https://www.torontopearson.com/index.aspx#
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