Toronto/Downsview Airport

Downsview Airport or Toronto/Downsview Airport, (IATA: YZD, ICAO: CYZD), is located in Toronto, Ontario and has been exclusively owned and used as a testing facility by Bombardier Aerospace since 1994.

Downsview Airport has its own fire service (Bombardier Aerospace Emergency Services) which covers airport operations (using two airport fire rescue vehicles) and plant operations (using two SUV emergency vehicles). Bombardier Emergency Services employees are cross-trained as firefighters, first responders and airport security.

History
Downsview Airfield

Downsview Airfield opened in 1929 as general aviation airfield and one of two airports in the area. It was built by de Havilland Canada for testing aircraft at the plant at the site.

The site was expanded during World War II by the Royal Canadian Air Force and renamed RCAF Station Downsview.

Downsview Airport

The Downsview Airport was developed in 1939 as an airfield next to an aircraft manufacturing plant operated by de Havilland Canada. In 1947, the Department of National Defence purchased property surrounding the airfield and expanded it, creating RCAF Station Downsview to provide an air base for Royal Canadian Air Force units. The base was renamed Canadian Forces Base Toronto (Downsview) in 1968 and retained this name until its closure in 1996.

Since 1998, the property has been administered by a civilian Crown corporation Parc Downsview Park, which co-manages the airfield with Bombardier Aerospace (the successor to de Havilland Canada). In recent years the property has been undergoing various landscape usage plans and some redevelopment has taken place.

The airfield was used in recent years to host the 1984 and 2002 papal visits by Pope John Paul II, as well as to host the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto concert headlined by The Rolling Stones to revive the local economy after the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003.

The airfield has also served as a test site for several famous aircraft produced by de Havilland and Avro Canada, including the Beaver, the Twin Otter, Dash 8 and the Avro Arrow. The airport is available to pilots only with prior permission.

Bombardier Aerospace currently owns 12 hangars in the southwest corner of the airport, where the De Havilland Dash 8 is built and assembled. The Bombardier Global Express and the Bombardier Global 5000 are also assembled here at the Downsview plant, as are the wings and wingboxes of the Learjet 45.

The airport has one operational runway, 15/33 at 7000 feet (and parallel taxiway). 09/27 at 3164 feet is closed (east section removed), as is 04/22 at 4000 feet (north section removed and south part retained as taxiway into the Bombardier plant.

Tenants
  • Parc Downsview Park – Government of Canada
    • Bombardier Aerospace
    • Canadian Air and Space Museum, formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum and before that the original factory for de Havilland Aircraft of Canada
    • Tree City
    • The Hangar Sports Complex
      • Toronto Roller Derby
    • The Toronto Wildlife Centre
  • Canadian Forces
    • Land Force Central Area headquarters
    • Area Support Unit Toronto (formerly Garrison Support Unit Toronto)
    • Denison Armoury
    • 32 Canadian Brigade Group headquarters
    • 2 Intelligence Company
    • 32 Combat Engineer Regiment
    • 25 (Toronto) Service Battalion
    • The Governor General's Horse Guards
  • Toronto Transit Commission Wilson Subway Yard

Buildings located within or next to the airport:

  • Bombardier Aerospace facility - southwest end of the airport
  • CFB Downsview hangars - northeast end of the airport
  • farmers market - northwest end
Roads

Most of the roads at Downsview are city owned roadways:

  • John Drury Drive - portions are private access road for Canadian Forces
  • Yukon Lane
  • Carl Hall Road
  • Canuck Avenue
  • Hanover Road
  • Beffort Road
  • Robert Woodhead Crescent - private access road for Canadian Forces
  • Garratt Blvd
  • Plewes Road
Military housing

A series of homes built for Canadian Forces personnel were built at the corner of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West and at the south end of the base property. Access to the north end housing on Robert Woodhead Crescent and John Drury Drive was restricted to base personnel and fenced off from the neighbouring properties. The housing remains at the site, still occupied by military families.

Media

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