Canada is a massive country, both in terms of population and developed land. However Canada is also surprisingly small. For context, you could fit Britain inside Canada over 40 times, yet Britain has over 20 million more people!
With that said, Canada is one of the fastest growing countries on Earth, and new people are arriving here in the thousands every month. Ontario, and the GTA in particular, is the premiere destination for new immigrants, meaning Pearson Airport is pretty darn busy, all year round. And that’s not even taking into account actual Canadians who use the airport for travel on a regular basis.
So it may come as a surprise then, that Pearson Airport isn’t even in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. However it is the busiest in Canada, and, coupled with the country’s expected rapid expansion, is in need of some changes.
From the overcrowded Terminals to the dangerous taxiway, most would agree that Pearson certainly has some room for improvement, and that’s what the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has in mind. Not too long ago, the GTAA put forward its short-term and long-term development plans and it’s fair to say they are extensive.
First and foremost, the organisation is planning to build a Regional Transit Centre, which would act as a hub to better connect to developed areas of the GTA. As of now, the Union-Pearson train line is the only one that runs into the airport, but that should be changing. In the not-too-distant future you can expect LRT’s from Eglinton and Finch, as well as rapid bus transit from Mississauga and express trains from Kitchener, to all run right to the airport. That would ultimately cut down on the amount of personal car, taxi, and Uber services running through the airport – and therefore traffic – as the current volume sits around 1 million car trips a day! All of this would work to streamline getting to and from the airport.
The development rendering above showcases the new Regional Transit Centre, sitting just in front of the airport, and in front of it a new commercial area which would allow space for lots of new stores, office buildings, hotels, and more. One of the key elements in the proposes redesign is to cut down on the endless concrete and lifelessness of the area, by opening up lots of space for nature. Thus leading to a much more scenic airport, which would also decrease traveller anxiety and claustrophobia.
This project would be built upon what is currently parking space. While new parking areas will be designed, the idea is to improve the transit options so much that dramatically less people will drive to the airport.
Of course, these are all just proposals as of now. Nothing has been approved as of yet, and there isn’t even a ballpark figure for what the budget would be – although we can fairly assume it will be substantial. These things take time but, based on what we know so far, they seem like plans worth pursuing and worth waiting for.