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Old Billy Bishop airport terminal to be turned into restaurant


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.