Excited contest winner Joel MacCharles with his
partner Dana Harrisone.
Media scrum follows MacCharles to the end of the
view’s not as good as the one from the ferry!
It’s been a
long time coming – and $83 million in the making. The tunnel joining Toronto
“mainland” with Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island (YTZ) has been unveiled
and quirky as the 4 min. ferry ride has been over the years since PD opened
shop on the island, it recently has proven – with the potential wait on each
side of the channel - another little factor in trip planning which the tunnel
will surely alleviate. Some 2 million pax per year now use the airport.
And as far
as tunnels go, this one is the fanciest I’ve seen. There’s a new 1 storey
addition to the main terminal which houses 6 elevators to whisk travellers 30
meters down to the entrance of the bright and expansive tunnel, which is open
to pedestrians only. They then walk – or ride one of the automated sidewalks –
some 260 meters to the other end. In all, the journey takes an estimated 6 min.
celebrations on Thursday was Torontonian Joel MacCharles, winner of a radio
contest to be the first pedestrian to walk through the tunnel (to board, lucky
him, a Porter flight to EWR for a weekend with all the trimmings). MacCharles –
surely the world’s most perfect contest winner – raved about the experience,
about PD and about YTZ airport, which many Torontonians still refer to
affectionately as the Island Airport.
“This is so
cool! I think I’m more excited about the tunnel than the trip!” he enthused,
adding that every 2 years he does a food-themed trip with friends to a PD destination.
(You can follow his adventures on this trip at
will continue to operate on its usual schedule. “Some passengers just love it,”
Erin Mikaluk of Ports Toronto told me. “They find it relaxing.” And as a fellow
passenger pointed out to me as I rode it back to the city, “If you’re not in a
rush, it’s a lovely way to get to the city – and the view is wonderful.”