If you're ever flying into or out of Toronto, you'll probably be flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport.
But there is another, lesser know international airport in Toronto called Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and it's an interesting little place for a few reasons.
First, the name: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. It's named after World War I Canadian flying ace Billy Bishop, who was credited with 72 victories and later trained Canadien pilots during WWII.
Billy Bishop Airport would be fine. A little odd, perhaps, but named after a war hero, so why not?
But Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport? Is Toronto ever referred to as Toronto City?
The Toronto City are actually a Canadian soccer team (presumably for the 43 Canadiens who can't play hockey), but the official name of Toronto is The City of Toronto, which is still a little weird, but not Toronto City.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Very odd. And more than a mouthful.
Second, the airport located on an island about 100 yards offshore in Lake Ontario, requiring passengers to take a ferry or a tunnel to get to the airport. When I flew out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport two weeks ago, my trip to the airport included a car, a train, a bus, a ferry, and finally a plane.
Quite the epic journey.
Third, while I'm sure the airport is occasionally busier than when I was there, it was the first time that I was the only person passing through security at an airport. I couldn't actually find the security checkpoint (and had to ask someone) because there was no line. Just a guy standing beside a metal detector.
"That can't be it," I thought. But no, that was it. One guy. One metal detector, and me.
You can imagine my surprise when he informed me that I was randomly selected for a more intensive search of my person and belonging.
Lastly, the airport is so small that there is no restaurant, fast food counter, or even coffee shop on the premises. Instead, the airport offers free bottled water, coffee, soda, and snacks. An actual refrigerator filled with free beverages. A counter lined with snacks of all kinds. Coffee pods, tea bags, and hot water for the taking.
Add this to the comfortable seating, lovely side tables adorned by small lamps, and the relative quiet of their small, single terminal, and I was actually disappointed when my plane was called.
"I could write here," I thought. "This could be my new office."
Alas, my time at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport was short, so I only had enough time for one Diet Coke, a phone call to Elysha, and a few email responses before it was time to go. And because the airport is in the middle of the city, jets are not allowed to land or take off so I took a prop plane for the first time in my life.
Once onboard, it was exactly like a jet except a little slower.
Being in the middle of the city, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport also offers spectacular views of downtown Toronto.
Not a bad perk.