Toronto Pearson International Airport (airport code YYZ) is Canada's biggest and busiest airport, with two terminals that see the takeoff and landing of 1,100 flights per day. By reputation, however, other Canadian airports have outshined Toronto, especially Vancouver, which is often heralded as the country's best airport in terms of passenger processing, access, and amenities. Now, after renovations and new express transportation to downtown Toronto, Toronto Pearson, is turning that reputation around.
When flying in or out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, there are a few facts and tips that are important to keep in mind.
It's Not Actually in Toronto
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Canada's largest and busiest airport, is not officially in Toronto but is in Mississauga, a sprawling suburb about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from downtown Toronto or 30 to 40 mins by car. The airport address is 6301 Silver Dart Drive, Mississauga.
Options for Parking
If you need to leave your car at Toronto Pearson International Airport, you have a few options. Like most any airport, the rates are not exactly a bargain, but if you are willing to park a little farther away you can save.
On-site parking at the airport lists two “value” options that cost $25 and $30 per day respectively. The valet service charges a one-time fee of $25, plus $40 per day for the actual parking.
You can find Park & Fly information online. With Park & Fly, you can park yourself, use a pay station, and ride the free shuttle to the airport. Rates run under $20 per day.
Hotels that offer park, sleep, and fly packages, where you stay the night and leave your car for free while you're away are located near the airport.
If you are flying into Canada from abroad, including from the U.S., you will clear customs upon landing in Toronto, even if you are making a connection to another Canadian city. Some passengers arriving in Terminal 1 at the Toronto airport can use the ABC kiosks to speed up their customs clearance process.
If you are flying out of Toronto to the U.S., you will clear customs in Toronto.
Things to Do on a Long Layover
If you're stuck between flights at Toronto Pearson International airport for long enough to do something interesting or get a nap in, you have some options.
For the price of a one-time pass, you can have access to one of several executive lounges that offer complimentary showers, WiFi, and food and drink. There are spa services available at several airport locations as well as places for a "10-minute Manicure."
You can take a guided tour of the airport and see what goes on behind the scenes. If you have more time, take the UP Express Train from Pearson Airport to Union Station in Toronto to access the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus.
The Sheraton is an on-site hotel but will cost you upwards of $220 for a stay whether it's for several hours or overnight.
The Union Pearson Express (UP) departs from both Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport every 15 minutes. The journey takes just 25 minutes and has free WiFi on board.
Basic adult fares for UP are CDN $12.35 (as of 2019) for a one-way ride and $24.70 for a round trip ticket. By comparison, the train between the Vancouver International Airport and downtown Vancouver takes the same time but costs less than CDN $9 one way.
If you are a family of four, UP may not be cheaper than a taxi, but it will ensure you get there in 25 minutes instead of battling traffic.
There are two Toronto Pearson International Airport terminals: Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Terminal 2 was demolished during airport renovation and was not replaced.
A 24-hour light rail connects the two terminals but check your terminal —determined by the airline—before arriving so you know where to get off (this information is also available on signs as you arrive).
Get your nicotine fix outside before your flight or stick a patch on. There is no smoking anywhere in Toronto Pearson International Airport. Smoking is permitted, however, in designated areas (with a sign) outside the terminals. The airport prohibits cannabis smoking or vaping anywhere on airport grounds.
NEXUS or Global Entry
More and more, airports are changing travelers' opinions of airport food. You may find that your favorite restaurant has a branch at your local airport and Toronto Pearson has followed that trend.
At Toronto Pearson, you will find Japanese, Italian, and Indian cuisine and several pubs and burger bars once you've passed security. The Toronto Airport is also attracting chef-driven restaurants. Bar 120: Cuisine Transformed touts a menu developed by celebrity chef John Placko who is known for his molecular cuisine. And then there is The Hearth by Lynn Crawford, offering hearth-fired flatbreads, sandwiches, and salads.
The Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport is the only hotel located right inside the airport with direct indoor access. Check in for your flight right from the hotel lobby and enjoy the 24-hour pool and gym access.
There are other Toronto airport hotels in the immediate area including Hilton hotels and The Hampton Inn.
Enjoy free WiFi throughout Toronto Pearson International Airport courtesy of American Express. You'll log in to by selecting “Toronto Pearson Wi-Fi” from the list of available networks.