What Travel Writers Say

Canadian Airports - The Good, Bad & Ugly
© Mike Keenan


Canada's worst airports? According to travel website - flightnetwork.com, here are the results of their survey along with our own biased comments to add to the mix.

Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ), 25 km northwest of downtown Toronto wins top honours at 71.3% by those surveyed, and I am not surprised. In fact, if possible, I would much rather fly instead from any of the following that are relatively close and worth the travel: Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) 175 km from Toronto, just across the US border; Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) in Niagara Falls, NY 130 km southwest of Toronto; J.C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM) 85 km southwest of downtown Toronto or Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ ) 3 km southwest of the financial district on the Toronto Islands and used by Porter Airlines. Pearson is ridiculously over-priced with steep taxes that inflate one's costs. The distance to downtown Toronto is 27 km, and access compared to cities such as Vancouver, is second rate, although you can overdose here on coffee with 5 Tim Hortons.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport in Montreal (YUL) was a distant negative second, receiving a mere 12.8% of the votes and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was third at only 8.3%, but here, we take issue. (see below)

Edmonton International Airport (YEG) earned a miniscule 4% at fourth, and Calgary International Airport (YYC) garnered 3.5% which are both tiny in the number of complaints.

Long check-in lines was the biggest issue at 40.2%, security delays at 28.5% and exit ease issues at 14.8% with slow baggage claim the least favourite part of the airport experience.

My favourites

Vancouver International Airport is my favourite Canadian airport, its see-through walls revealing B.C. ocean-mountain-forest vistas along with terrific works inside of Aboriginal art including remarkable totem poles and a marvelous Bill Reid Haida sculpture. The distance downtown is only 12 km, and their light rail Sky Train, commissioned for the Olympics, makes it both inexpensive and a breeze to use. The YVR Aquarium features over 850 species of B.C. marine life in their 114,000-litre tank! Pearson doesn't come close.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a always happy experience, an easily accessible downtown location that provides wonderful views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. The commercial tenant is Porter Airlines in a class all by itself. See our review at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/porterair.html

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is simple to use at 17 km northeast of downtown Calgary. It offers "SpacePort," a free, 550-square-meter interactive space that allows you and your children to simulate space flight, touch a moon rock, and check out other interesting artifacts on loan from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

YVR, Aboriginal sculptures, photo by Mike Keenan    YVR, Bill Reid Haida sculpture, photo by Wikimedia Commons
Vancouver International Airport Aboriginal Sculptures

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Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.

Photo Credits
Mike Keenan
Wikimedia Commons
Google Images

Travel Aid
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
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Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
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