This post is purely for Porter Airlines fetishists who enjoy that portion of their trip to TCAF every year. Those of you who take Porter Airlines know that as delightful as are the low airfares from various points in the US, they are secondary to the charm of this regional airline with it’s pertly pillbox-behatted flight attendants, free shortbread cookies, free coffee and the arrival at the Richard Scarry-esque Billy Bean Airport, which is located on an island just across from the CN Tower. This charming welcome was crowned by the world’s shortest commercial ferry ride, as arriving passengers stood in line for 15 minutes or so for a ferry ride to the mainland that lasted less than two minutes and travelled a mere 400 feet. It was all so adorable and Canadian. Even a fairly grueling five hour fog delay when I departed this year could not dent my love affair with Porter Airlines.
But the ferry ride part of it, at least, is no more, as a long planned pedestrian tunnel underneath Lake Ontario has finally opened. As much logistical sense as this makes, some folks are not thrilled with a tunnel that sounds pedestrian in more ways than one, as the Toronto Star’s Heather Mallick writes.
How tedious, how stale, how drab and dreary. The pedestrian lake tunnel at Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Airport has finally opened at the cost of annihilating the soul, plus $82.5 million. From the look of it, they spent it all on tunnelling and then hastened to a Home Depot tiling department because someone had a gift card.
Mallick’s main gripe is that the tunnel offers no local flavour:
But here’s the bigger problem. Many passengers are flying in from foreign places. What tells them they are in Canada? Why isn’t the tunnel coated in red and white to reflect our flag? Why isn’t it blasting maple leaves? Why isn’t it lined with aquariums? You want the real Ontario, you’re looking at pickerel.
I’d say the gorgeous views of the city from the airport terminal still fairly scream “Toronto!” and zipping across the tunnel on foot will be a lot faster than waiting for the ferry…but put the ferry ride into the bygone era pile.