Celebrity chefs and decorators are teaming up with the Toronto Port Authority to make over a historic terminal building at Billy Bishop airport.
The old Terminal A, built in 1939, will be converted into a restaurant and event space.
TV designers Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe will help design the space while Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk, the chefs behind popular Riverside restaurant Ruby Watcho and regulars on food television, will contribute to the restaurant.
Richardson and Smythe have worked on the Toronto Islands before restoring a private home.
“As city residents, there’s not enough opportunity for us to come and enjoy all that the island has to offer, so we are excited to be part of this project to revitalize an historic building,” Richardson said at a news conference Tuesday.
Richardson told reporters she is the daughter of an architectural historian, so she understands the need to preserve the heritage of the building.
“It’s always a key priority to respect and embrace all the beauty and the history that we have here in Toronto,” Richardson said.
The designers are enthusiastic about the potential in the space, particularly the vistas and sight lines.
Crawford promised some “Ruby Watcho flair” at the restaurant.
“What a gift this is going to be, to have a venue that is absolutely gorgeous that is filled with so much history,” Crawford said.
“With great food, a beautiful venue, a beautiful vibe.”
Timelines and specifics for the project are not yet set.
The building will be moved to the east side of the island airport property, closer to Hanlan’s Point.
“The restored terminal is a great addition to the Billy Bishop airport,” said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly in a news release. “The terminal building is an important part of Canada’s aviation legacy and a vital piece of Toronto’s heritage. We are very pleased that the building is being restored and transformed into a public space that everyone can enjoy.”
The building will also house services and amenities for the aviation community based on the island airport.
Terminal A has not been in use since 2010.
April 10, 2014: The winter has taken its toll on the building. However, the TPA and a group of private investors will work to restore the building back to its glory and open it as a public space and hub for the general aviation community. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
March 15, 2012: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport: Terminal A, crosses the tarmac en route to its new temporary location. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
March 15, 2012: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport: Terminal A, on the move. After being carefully prepared for relocation. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
April 23, 1939: Aerial photograph of the airport shortly after its completion. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
April 23, 1969: Austin Airways Ltd Plane in front of the Toronto Island Terminal Building. Austin Airways was founded in 1934 and based in Timmins, Ontario, which played a major role in opening up northern Ontario for business. In 1987 it became part of Air Ontario, which in turn became part of what is now Air Canada Jazz. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
May 24, 1957: Aerial view of the Island Airport and Terminal Building, and recently established“Island Tower” equipped with a radio. The Island Tower was officially opened by His Worship Allan A. Lamport, Mayor of Toronto on December 5, 1953. Some of the aircraft pictured include a Lockheed Ventura, a PBY Catalina flying boat, two Norduyn Norsemen, and several Republic Seabee flying boats. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
May 29, 1963: Toronto Island Terminal Building new lighting installed to permit commercial night flying. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
Island airport control tower-getting a coat of paint. September 14, 1964. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
Completed air terminal building and Hanger 1, with the Canada Malting site in the background, June 8, 1939. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
July 1, 1964: American Airways U.S. Mail Plane-Vintage Ford Tri-motor warms up its engines in front of the Island Airport Terminal Building (Terminal A). This particular aircraft was built in 1929, and is now preserved as a static (non-flying) display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Institute in Washington, D.C. HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority
May 29, 1939: Airport terminal building nears completion. Aircraft were already using the runway by this time. The first plane landed at the Island Airport February 4, 1939, piloted by H.F. McLean of Montreal. The first commercial passenger flight was a charter carrying Tommy Dorsey and his swing band for a two-day
engagement at the Canadian National Exhibition on September 8, 1939.
HANDOUT/Toronto Port Authority