Skip to main content

The pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport under construction in July, 2014. The pathway will open on July 30, 2015.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The tunnel to Toronto's island airport is set to open at the end of this month, just inside the latest deadline for the oft-delayed project.

A pedestrian link under the western channel – an idea that has been tossed around for decades – is due to open on July 30, according to PortsToronto. The 260-metre tunnel will allow more convenient access to the island than the short ferry ride now in use.

"People can come and go on their own schedule and have a little bit more control about when they arrive," said Deborah Wilson, spokesperson for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Story continues below advertisement

"Prior to this, people had to organize their travel around 15-minute increments and hope that they caught the ferry."

A tunnel was first proposed, and axed, in the 1930s. It was revived last decade in the wake of former mayor David Miller killing hopes for a bridge to the airport. Both the timing and price of the project have changed radically over the years.

At a groundbreaking early in 2012, PortsToronto said it would take two to three years. They were more optimistic in the early spring of 2014 when, during a visit to The Globe and Mail's editorial board, port authority leaders said it would be ready in the winter.

In November of 2014, a spokesperson said the timeline for final completion would be known "in the coming weeks." Then in December, it was suggested that the project could be done within months. Fast-forward to the first week of June, PortsToronto said that the $82.5-million P3 project would be done in late July.

On Monday, they finally put a firm date on the projected opening.

"Things just took longer to complete than we had anticipated," Ms. Wilson said. "What were quite minor delays ended up, at the end, sort of bunching up on us and we were several months delayed."

When it opens, the tunnel will have an hourly capacity of about 1,000 people. They will make the trip 30 metres below ground level, walking or riding one of the two moving sidewalks.

Story continues below advertisement

Norman Di Pasquale, chairman of the advocacy group NoJets TO, offered muted congratulations to the port authority for "getting this done." But he warned that the tunnel's impact on area traffic – which boosters say will be improved because the ferry will no longer land large groups of people at once – would be less than touted.

"We know the traffic issues are still there," he said. "We say no jets because we don't want to see that area just become basically impassable with another million cars going in and out of there. The tunnel doesn't help with that."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies