Billy Bishop's historic Terminal A becoming an island restaurant
A look inside the soon-to-be restored Terminal A
Terminal A at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has stood nearly forgotten and in bad shape since it was decommissioned, but a group of private investors are taking advantage of the prime spot with a great view of the city by revamping the structure and turning it into a dining and event space.
When the terminal opened in 1939, it was used for passengers, baggage handling, air traffic control and airport administration.
The 2010 opening of the new terminal left the old one decommissioned, destined to become a relic of history.
Only now it is being repaired and restored to serve as something new.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, along with celebrity chefs and some designers, announced plans for the defunct terminal today on location.
"Its future was somewhat uncertain, in fact, I expect it would have been easier and cheaper to tear the building down," Kelly said.
But the 75-year-old national historic site has been revived by a group of private investors, including Lynne Crawford, of Top Chef Canada, and Lora Kirk, of Leslieville restaurant Ruby Watchco as well as businessman and private pilot Alexander Younger.
"The view of the city...with great food and a beautiful venue, beautiful vibe, it will be one of the best things that’s ever happened to the city," Crawford said.
The building, currently run down and in need of much work, will be moved to the east, behind the airport.
It will not be accessible from Billy Bishop, but it will be accessible from the Hanlan Point ferry, which the Port Authority says is underused compared to Centre Island’s.
Although the plans are only at the early stages, designers Tommy Smythe and Sarah Richardson, Younger’s wife, are excited to begin work.
"What’s striking about it is the lakeside, authentic, historical feel," Richardson said. "Our agenda is to maintain the façade."
The restaurant and event space is not set to open until spring 2016 and then only seasonally.