(Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version or head over to my Flickr Page to see them even larger)
The next step in the reconstruction of Pearson International Airport in Toronto ([[YYZ]]) is called Pier F which will be the home to international flights operated by Air Canada and their Star Alliance partners. Although the new area doesn’t open until January 30, 2007, I was lucky enough to see while checking for Jan’s flight back from Montreal that they were holding an open house today. So I grabbed the camera and off I went.
From the moment you walk in you notice that they’ve taken great steps to make the area as light and airy as possible. This painting, by Sol LeWitt, is called “Wall Drawing #1100, Concentric Bands” and both outgoing and incoming passengers. Incredibly striking and a great addition to a beautiful area.
Continuing along, I ran straight into this illusion. Beautiful and it’s not even a permanent installation. It’s a construction wall hiding the area where a new moving walkway will be installed. One of the volunteers told me that this walkway which will be over 1 kilometer long will also be the world’s fastest. When you get on, you’ll be traveling at .65 meters per second but then you accelerate to over 2 meters per second before slowing down again at the end. Not quite sure how they do this but that’s what they say.
Down a long corridor, you come to the main passenger area at the end of the pier. This sculpture is called “Tilted Spheres” and was created by Richard Serra. The entire structure is more than 12 meters long and, although it takes up a lot of space, is a dramatic installation that will serve as the backdrop for millions of holiday photographs. Even with a restricted audience like today’s I had to wait to get a shot with nobody in the way. Of course, no visit to the airport would be complete without a few shots of the aircraft.
Here we have an Air Canada Airbus A320-211 parked at one of the new gates. I can only imagine that they’re using it for testing purposes because we’re still nearly 2 months away from the new area being opened. I hoped that they would actually let us go down the jetway into the aircraft but the ever vigilant security guards were having none of that. Things were so much more fun before the security crackdowns of the early 90’s. Still, this is the closest you can get to a working aircraft these days unless you’re actually traveling or work there.
Also got a chance to try out the telephoto lens. Caught this shot of 2 AC beauties in the ballet that is ground operations. In the foreground is an Embraer ERJ 170-200 SU regional jet making the turn towards the working area of T1 with a 767-233 waiting to follow. I’m not a great fan of Air Canada’s paint scheme and I’ve heard rumors that it might be changing again. I miss the dark green tail with muted maple leaf contrasted against the snow white fuselage.
The last shot here is the only sad one of the day. I spied a familiar paint scheme across the runways and grabbed the long lens. Sure enough, it’s an old 737 200 series in the livery of Royal Airlines. This old workhorse was built in1979 and carried the registration number C-FRYG which can still be seen near the tail even though the registration has been canceled. Royal was absorbed by Canada 3000 just before 9/11 happened and, sadly, did not survive the massive drop off in holiday travel and went under soon after. A good friend of mine flew for C3 and it took him a long time to get back in the skies.
Oh, I did get Jan. Her flight ended up coming in from Montreal over 1 hour late so I spent a long day at the airport.