At 9:30 PM last night, Pearson Airport’s drab but functional Terminal 2 saw its final departure take off for the United States. In April the process of tearing down the building will begin, first with its concrete crushed to be used as the sub-base for a strip of new tarmac. The closing of Terminal 2 and it’s Mayan temple-like parking garage marks the end of Pearson Airport’s lengthy and expensive Airport Development Plan (or ADP). At 4.5 billion dollars, it is the single most expensive project in Canada’s history and is largely to blame for Toronto’s dubious honour of having the highest airport landing fee in the world. The airport has already recently seen the demolition of the old Terminal 1, the construction of its big and fancy successor, and the installation of the LINK Interterminal Shuttle connecting Terminals 1 and 3.
Of the $4.5 billion, $800 million was used for the construction of the new Pier F at Terminal 1, which will open to the public today for the first time. Pier F will become the new home for flights previously using Terminal 2 until today, and two of its twenty-five gates have been designed to accommodate the upcoming Airbus A380 super jumbo jet. Among its many bells and whistles is the world’s fastest moving walkway and the enormous $1.5 million steel sculpture “Tilted Spheres” by American sculptor Richard Serra.
If you were to ask someone to name the most impressive feature of the old Terminal 2 building, most people would be left scratching their heads or they might point to the parking garage. Originally designed as a cargo terminal, the building really had little to admire. Still the place holds certain sentimental attachments for many people who worked there, or first stepped foot in Canada on that spot. This past Sunday a wake of sorts was held at the airport, and anyone who cared was permitted to walk its long harshly lit hallways one last time. For those of you who are kicking yourselves now for missing it, Spacing has a nice tribute to Terminal 2 in its twilight hours here. It is still unclear if Terminal 3 will now be renamed Terminal 2, or if first time visitors to the Megacity will be left wondering why there is a Terminal 3 if there isn’t a 2.
With this enormous infrastructure investment, The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) hopes to transform Pearson into a major hub, giving international travelers a place to change planes without having to endure the post 9/11 security hassles down south. Should the much talked about fixed rail link to the city ever be built, then Torontonians will no longer have to be ashamed of our inferior airport facilities. Perhaps Toronto will never be a world-class city, but at least we’ve finally got a world-class airport.
Related: Torontoist Remembers Aeroquay One
Photos by neuroticjose on Flickr.