Lester B. International Airport (YYZ)

Toronto Pearson International Airport is 27 kilometres from Toronto’s downtown, and is located in the thriving suburban community of Mississauga. The airport is 173.4 metres (569 ft) above sea level, and covers an area of 18 sq km (7 sq miles). The airport is so big some phone numbers are area code “416” (Toronto) and some are “905” (Mississauga)! There are 141 gates in two terminals

There are several publicly accessible indoor vantage points for aircraft viewing. You can find these on the departures (upper) level of Terminal 1 past the check-in counters, and the departures (upper) level at the east end of Terminal 3. The various departure lounges also offer views for passengers, post-security.
The terminals are connected by the free 24-hours a day Airport LINK Train System connecting Terminal 1, Terminal 3 and the Reduced Rate Parking Lot-Viscount Station. These are all wheelchair accessible.

The LINK trains run every 3.5 minutes during the day, a every 7 minutes non-peak. The inter-terminal shuttles are every 10 minutes,
and every 15 minutes from midnight to 6 am.

Pearson airport is operated by GTAA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority), which is a private, non-for-profit corporation which manages the Greater Toronto Area with a regional system of airport. The construction around the airport is funded by Airport Improvement Fees for departing passengers and connecting passengers, automatically added into your airfares when you book  your flight, rather than being collected from individuals at the airport.

How old is Pearson?

In 1938,the first planes landed there (the very first was an American Airlines DC-3) and it was initially called Malton Airport. During World War II, the airport operated as a training school under the British  Commmonwealth Air Training Plan and trained both pilots and air observers.  In 1949, the original terminal became an operations/administration center and a new terminal was built, In 1960, the aiport was renamed Toronto International Airport.

A new Terminal One (“Aeroquay One”, the round one) was completed in 1964 with all the airplane gates around it. In 1962, Toronto pioneered US Customs Pre-clearance to expedite travel between Toronto and smaller US airports, which might not ordinarily have a US Cusoms office. By 1972 a second terminal, Terminal 2 was built to handle the growth in traffic. In 1984, the airport was officially renamed Lester B Pearson International Airport. Terminal 3 was added in 1991, complete with an adjoining Sheraton hotel. In 2002, and new Terminal One was opened to replace the old Terminal 1 and Terminal 2m which were subsequently demolished.

Why is Toronto Pearson called YYZ?

When airport codes were being handed out by IATA (rhe International Air Transport Association) inthe 1960s, Canadian airport codes began with “C” and US airports began with “K”, and Canadian aiports (many of which grew out of  Commonwealth Air Training Program training bases) that  also had a weather station added a second letter being a “Y”, and then their designated railway code. Malton was designated “YZ”, so the full code is “CYYZ”, though in the years since the inital letter was dropped to be just “YYZ”.

How BIG is Pearson?

Pearson is Canada’s busiest airport, there are more than 1,200 arrivals and departures every day. There are over 50,000 on-site workers with the airport, the shops & services, and the airline staff. In  2023,  the airport handled 339,000 aircraft movements and 35 million passengers in the year (almost catching up to the 50 million passengers handled in pre-COVID 2019).

Pearson has flights to cities across Canada and to 155 cities in 100 countries from around the world, flying on 79 different airlines. 40% of traffic is domestic, 30% is trans-border (to & from the USA), and 30% is international.

The airport is open 24 hours every day of the year, though for noise abatement reasons passenger arrrivals and departures do not occur during certain hours of the night.

(Pearson International airport weather).

Customs Clearance & Security

Passengers arriving from other countries (including the USA) must first be cleared through Canada Customs–officially, its the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”)–which also coordinates any travel visa and immigration issues. There are Canada Customs stations in all three airport terminals. Canada Customs can be reached by telephone at 905-676-3640 (Terminal 1), 905-676-3537 (Terminal 2), (905-612-5416 (Terminal 3)

Passengers flying to the USA will pre-clear US Customs & Immigration (its cheaper and more convenient to staff and service the dozen major Canadian airports than each of the airports that Canadians fly to in the US). You can call US Customs with any questions at 905-676-2606, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283.

If you frequently fly to and from Canada, travelers should consider a CANPASS Air pass.
CANPASS Air is a joint initiative of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) which can pre-approve “low-risk” travellers who then use self-service kiosks for clearing customs and immigration at major Canadian airports (using iris recognition to verify identification).

Airport Security

When you arrive at the airport for a departing flight, you will need to not only check in for your flight, check your baggage and clear various security gates. Please allow sufficent time for this, so you do not miss your flight:

  • For flights within Canada, check in at least 90 minutes prior to departure
  • For flights to the U.S., check in a minimum of 2 hours prior to departure
  • For international flights, check in a minimum of 2 hours prior to departure

Pearson Airport’s peak hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with passenger volume significantly higher during the winter holiday season, March break and the summer. During these times, allow extra time for parking, check-in, security screening, etc.

Foreign Exchange

There are foreign exchange kiosks in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. As well as the kiosks, there are ATM (banking machines) on the departures level of Terminal 1, that dispense either Canadian dollars or US dollars, depending on the machine.

Getting to Pearson Airport


Highways 409 and 427 provide direct freeway access to the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Other highway routes leading to the airport include Highways 400, 401, 403, 407, 410 and the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way). On the highways, the green “airplane” signs always point toward the airport.

In addition, a number of arterial roads provide access to the airport. These include Airport Road, Silver Dart Drive, American Drive, Renforth Road, Derry Road East, Jetliner Road, Britannia Road and Convair Drive.

Once you enter the Pearson Airport grounds follow the coloured signs to Terminal 1 (yellow signs), Terminal 2 (red signs) or Terminal 3 a (silver signs) and continue to your choice of the parking garage or the arrivals and departures level at the terminal.

Assignments of airlines to specific terminals are noted on large fingerboards on the side of Highway 409 west, 427 south and 427 north as you enter the Pearson Airport property. The airlines are listed in alphabetical order and colour coded by yellow, red or silver for the corresponding terminal.

You can also get the correct terminal number by contacting the airline or the airport’s Information Services at 416-247-7678 (416-AIR-PORT) for Terminals 1 or 2, and (905-612-5100 for Terminal 3.

Pick up & Drop Off

When picking up and/or dropping off passengers at Toronto Pearson International Airport, you may stop momentarily on the curbside of the arrivals and departures levels. Please note, you are no longer able to park curbside. Toronto Pearson has designated Traffic Officers who will ensure there is no parking curbside. Unattended Vehicles in NO PARKING areas will be ticketed and towed


Toronto Pearson International Airport offers over 16,000 public parking spaces. Parking can be found at the three terminals, in addition to short term and an off-airport reduced rate lot.

Rates are $3 per half hour, up to $24 per day, or $120 per week (after 7 days, the rate drops to $16 per day). There are reduced pay lots, ruther from the terminal for $2.50 hper half our, $14 per day, and $65 per week. For those looking to save money, there is even cheaper off-airport long and long term parking.The parking service companies are independent of the GTAA.

There is also valet parking at Terminal 1, for $20 on top of the Long Term rates above (pay by cash, debit or credit card). This service is available from 4:30 am to 10:30 pm or by prior arrangement at 416-776-6842.

Free “boost” in cold weather

The GTAA recognizes that extremely cold temperatures (below -13 Celsius) can cause hardships to the travelling public and airport employees. Call 416-776-3055 for this service.

Rental Cars

Most major car rental agencies have locations at Pearson Airport. Pick-ups and returns are at Level 1 or the basement of Terminal 1 parking garage, or Ground level of the parking garages in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, depending on the agency

Some agencies have off-airport car rentals, and typically do not have counters located at the airport, they provide courtesy vans for customers who have pre-arranged a pickup fortheir rentals.

Transit to Pearson Airport

In addition to driving your own car, there are several ways you can get to Pearson Airport:

  • Taxi (ranges from $61 from Scarborough, $46 from downtown, and $16 from nearby airport hotels).
  • Limousine (ranges from $67 from Scarborough, $50 from downtown, and $18 from nearby airport hotels).
  • Airport Shuttle ($17 from downtown Toronto) and various other buses from other communities.
  • Airport Transit using TTC, GO Train or and Mississauga Transit, for as cheap at $2.75.

Contacting the Pearson Airport

The Greater Toronto Airport Authorities (GTAA) administrative building is at 3111 Convair Drive:

Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Toronto Pearson International Airport
P.O. Box 6031, 3111 Convair Drive
Toronto, AMF Ontario L5P 1B2

The Airport Information Centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached at 416-247-7678, and 416-776-5100 for Terminal 3’s Information Centre.

Lost and Found is for items lost on aircraft is handled by the individual air carriers (for Air Canada call: 1-888-689-2247 or 905-676-2212).
Anything lost on airport property may end up in the Lost & Found for that particular terminal. Contact your terminal’s Lost & Found Directly:

  • Terminal 2

    (open daily 6:00 to 24:00) 416-776-7749

  • Terminal 3

    (open daily 8:00 to 20:00) 416-776-7751

Toronto Pearson Airport-Terminal1 LINK train Appraching – sliver
Toronto Pearson Airport-Terminal1 LINK train Appraching – sliver