YYZ Lays Down The Concrete Carpet For Visitors

with Martha Chapman

AC ramp employee Tyson in the AC humpy bumpy.

Not every day you get to stroll around under a B757

Now that’s a snow blower.

Toronto’s Pearson Airport was the place to be last weekend. Especially if you were wearing a tutu and your favourite Hello Kitty T-shirt.

That’s because the Greater Toronto Airports Authority put on an open house which was part educational, part community-building and a great deal about family fun, particularly for kids fascinated by airplanes and huge machines.

The Festival, which was free of charge, was held right on the airport’s de-icing facility, the largest in the world.  After registering online and lining up to collect a lanyard and ride buses from the GTAA parking lot, visitors could go on board a FedEx 757, see the massive snow-removal vehicles, admire planes taking off and landing at relatively close range, and meet folks who work at the airport. You could even get to know a falconer - the airport has a large program using birds of prey to scare away other birds which might fly into aircraft engines.

Other not-strictly-airport-related aspects included food trucks, a live band and hula-hooping (very popular with the 4-year old tutu wearers).

Robin Smith of the airport’s media relations team tells me that some 5,000 area residents came. Not bad considering there was a massive mid-afternoon rainstorm, and that the event was made possible thanks to the volunteer efforts of almost 300 airport employees, students and residents around YYZ. This was the fifth Street Festival the airport has hosted and they hope to do it again next year.

YYZ is the second busiest airport in North America (after JFK), hosts 75 airlines and employs almost 50,000. Nice to get up close and personal with this amazing airport in our midst.

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