Fuelled by increased passenger volumes at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) continues to report strong growth. With a record 20.8 million passengers passing through Canada's busiest airport during the first six months of 2016, Canada's largest airport has experienced a 5.9% expansion in passenger volumes compared to the same period in 2015. 

Terminal 3 at Pearson International Airport, image by Marcus Mitanis

As passenger volume increases, Pearson must consider updates to avoid crowding and meet modern standards. Built in the 1980s, Terminal 3 has embarked on a multi-year refurbishment capital improvement exercise dubbed the "Terminal Enhancement Project" which addresses regulatory requirements for security screening in advance of United States Customs and Immigration Processing, enhances retail, and carries out energy efficiency initiatives.

The 'Eye in the Sky' installation, image courtesy of GTAA

A major component of the retail redesign opened in June 2016. Working with consulting firm Stantec, the GTAA reconfigured space from landside (pre security screening) to airside (post security) and created a new 50,398 ft² retail and dining zone in 'Node C,' which is the domestic/international side of the terminal. The new zone also features a natural light installation called 'Eye in the Sky' (above) that extends from the departures floor to the arrivals area by cutting a new light well and skylight into the building. 

Smoke’s Burritorie, image courtesy of GTAA

Behind LAX as North America’s second busiest airport by international passenger volume, significant consideration was given to redesigning Terminal 3's retail environment to include a mix of international fare (Shanghai 360), contemporary (Beerhive and Smashburger), and local Canadian (Smoke’s Burritorie and Tim Horton’s).

Shanghai 360, image courtesy of GTAA

Shopping options are improved with an expanded duty free space, iStore for technology needs, Lolë for womenswear, and Discover Canada for those looking for local souvenirs. Next up for the retail enhancement program is the introduction of a full service CIBC banking centre, followed by additional retail options, scheduled to open in late 2016 through to mid-2017. 

Expanded duty free area, image courtesy of GTAA

"The newly redesigned space in Terminal 3 marks another major milestone in our work to ensure every element of the airport becomes one that enhances the passenger experience," said Scott Collier, Vice President, Customer and Terminal Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. "Passengers want a relaxing space to unwind before a trip, they want to charge their devices, and a variety of places to eat and shop. This new entry to the gates delivers on that in a big way."

Expanded duty free area, image courtesy of GTAA

The GTAA projects passenger volumes to rise around 50% to over 60 million by the year 2030. As part of its a 20-year strategic framework to address capacity expansion, the airport authority intends to add more amenities to improve passenger experience.

Expanded dining options, image courtesy of GTAA

Meanwhile, the newer Terminal 1 is in the midst of its own upgrade program by adding new gates, streamlining US and international passengers connection process, and enhancing the immigration process through automated kiosks. These upgrades will complete by 2019.

Want to share your thoughts about the recent and ongoing updates to Pearson International Airport? Leave a comment in the space below, or join the ongoing conversation in our Forum thread, where regular updates—and new photos—keep you up to date with Canada's busiest airport.