MIAMI – Today in aviation, Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) opened its first modern terminal, Aeroquay 1, in 1964. 

Originally named Malton Airport, YYZ took nearly 20 years to build a modest terminal building to house what was then the most up-to-date aviation technology operated by the Toronto Harbor Commission.

The first landing was on August 29, 1938, at Malton Airport by an American Airways DC-3 arriving from Buffalo.

The first passenger flight landing at what was then called Malton Airport. On Aug. 29, 1938 at 1:10pm an American Airways DC-3 from Buffalo touched down.Photo: Toronto Pearson International Airport

Terminal Expansions


New terminals and runways were rapidly added as the demand for air travel increased. Aeroquay 1’s unique circular shape could handle up to 3.5 million passengers. Until closing in 2004, it served nearly 9 million passengers a year.

Terminals 2 and 3 were installed in 1972 and 1993, respectively, to meet the rising demand. In 2004, construction on a new Terminal 1 began. Pearson currently runs two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, both of which are built on a linear layout. Terminal 2 was demolished in 2008.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), a non-profit corporation, was chosen by Transport Canada in 1996 to operate Pearson under a 60-year contract. The GTAA is in charge of improving aviation infrastructure, safety, passenger knowledge, and economic growth.

GTAA reported that it oversees almost every aspect of what happens on the 19 square kilometers that make up our airfield and terminals.

Malton “TCA” Airport 1960. This was the third terminal at Malton Airport and was built in 1948–49. It was demolished after “Aeroquay One” came on-stream in 1964. The crowd of people is watching the planes come and go from the observation deck. Photo: Mark Faviell – https://www.flickr.com/photos/markfaviell/5572416328/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20846929

History of Toronto Pearson International Airport


In 1937, the Canadian government decided to finance the building of Toronto’s two airports. One location was chosen for the Toronto Islands, which is the new Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ).

The other location chosen was northeast of Toronto, near Malton, which was meant to be a replacement for the downtown airport but ended up being its replacement.

The Toronto municipal government sold Malton Airport to the government of Canada in 1958, under Transport Canada management, and it was later renamed Toronto International Airport.

In 1984, the airport was again renamed Lester B. Pearson International Airport in honor of Canada’s 14th Prime Minister, a Toronto native who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.

McDonnell Douglas MD-11F, MD-11F, M11F, D-ALCI, c/n 48800 / 641, Lufthansa Cargo, LH, GEC, Hello Bonjour Canada, christening, GEC8164, Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport, YYZ, CYYZ, Toronto, Mississauga, ON, September 13 2016, Photo: (c) copyright Andrew H. Cline 2016, Andy Cline, Andrew Cline, andrew.cline@sympatico.ca, 416 209 2669

Featured image: A view of Toronto International Airport in April 1973, showing the original Terminal 1 or Aeroquay One (now demolished).Photo: By Ted Grant – This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number e004665939 and under the MIKAN ID number 3614856. Images from Library and Archives Canada., Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3557016. Article sources: torontopearson.com, blogto.com, mississauga.com.