Downsview Airport

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Downsview Airport
Downsview Airport 2011.jpg
Airport typePrivate
OwnerBombardier Aerospace
OperatorBombardier Ops
LocationToronto, Ontario
Time zoneEST (UTC−05:00)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL652 ft / 199 m
Coordinates43°44′34″N 079°27′56″W / 43.74278°N 79.46556°W / 43.74278; -79.46556Coordinates: 43°44′34″N 079°27′56″W / 43.74278°N 79.46556°W / 43.74278; -79.46556
CYZD is located in Toronto
Location in Toronto
CYZD is located in Ontario
CYZD (Ontario)
CYZD is located in Canada
CYZD (Canada)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 7,003 2,135 Asphalt

Downsview Airport (ICAO: CYZD) is located in the North York district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. An air field, then air force base, it has been a testing facility for Bombardier Aerospace since 1994. Bombardier has sold the facility and manufacturing plant and its future is uncertain.

Downsview Airport has its own fire service (Bombardier Aerospace Emergency Services) which covers airport operations (using two airport fire rescue vehicles) and plant operations (using two SUV emergency vehicles). Bombardier Emergency Services employees are cross-trained as firefighters, first responders and airport security.


Downsview Airfield[edit]

Downsview Airfield opened in 1929 as general aviation airfield and one of two airports in the area. It was built by de Havilland Canada for testing aircraft at the plant at the site. The site was expanded during World War II by the Royal Canadian Air Force and renamed RCAF Station Downsview.

Downsview Airport[edit]

The Downsview Airport was developed in 1939 as an airfield next to an aircraft manufacturing plant operated by de Havilland Canada. In 1947, the Department of National Defence purchased property surrounding the airfield and expanded it, creating RCAF Station Downsview to provide an air base for Royal Canadian Air Force units. The base was renamed Canadian Forces Base Toronto (Downsview) in 1968 and retained this name until its closure in 1996.

Since 1998, the property has been administered by a civilian Crown corporation, Parc Downsview Park, which co-manages the airfield with Bombardier Aerospace (the successor to de Havilland Canada). In recent years the property has been undergoing various landscape usage plans and some redevelopment has taken place.

The airfield was used in recent years to host the 1984 and 2002 papal visits by Pope John Paul II, as well as to host the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto concert headlined by The Rolling Stones to revive the local economy after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

The airfield has also served as a test site for several famous aircraft produced by de Havilland and Avro Canada, including the Beaver, the Twin Otter, and the Dash 8. The airport is available to pilots only with prior permission.

Bombardier Aerospace currently owns 12 hangars in the southwest corner of the airport, where the Dash 8 is built and assembled. The Bombardier Global Express and the Bombardier Global 5000 are also assembled here at the Downsview plant, as are the wings and wingboxes of the Learjet 45. The Bombardier CSeries jet had landed at the airfield in 2015, but is assembled in Montreal.

The airport has one operational runway, 15/33 at 7,000 ft (2,100 m) with a parallel taxiway. Runway 09/27 at 3,164 ft (964 m) is closed (east section removed), as is runway 04/22 at 4,000 ft (1,200 m) (north section removed and south part retained as taxiway into the Bombardier plant).

Bombardier has an agreement to sell the Downsview Airport and its manufacturing plant to PSP Investments. Under the agreement, Bombardier can use Downsview for up to five years. Bombardier signed a lease agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to build a new facility at Pearson Airport on 38 acres (15 ha) where it would move the production of its Global series planes.[2] Plans for Dash 8 production were not announced at that time. In November 2018, Bombardier sold the Dash 8 business and the DeHavilland name to Viking Air, which has not disclosed its long-term plans for Dash 8 production beyond the existing already agreed-upon timeframe for Downsview.[3]

Military housing[edit]

A series of homes were built for Canadian Forces personnel at the corner of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West and at the south end of the base property. Access to the north end housing on Robert Woodhead Crescent and John Drury Drive was restricted to base personnel and fenced off from the neighbouring properties. With most of the military base being closed down, the housing has been abandoned and torn down.


Buildings located within or next to the airport:

  • Bombardier Aerospace facility – southwest end of the airport
  • CFB Downsview hangars – northeast end of the airport
  • Farmers market – northwest end
  • Downsview Park station – north end, combined subway/commuter train station

Former tenants

  • Canadian Air and Space Museum, formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum and before that the original factory for de Havilland Aircraft of Canada (until 2012)


Most of the roads at Downsview are city-owned roadways:

  • John Drury Drive - portions are a private access road for Canadian Forces
  • Yukon Lane
  • Carl Hall Road
  • Canuck Avenue
  • Hanover Road
  • Beffort Road
  • Robert Woodhead Crescent - private access road for Canadian Forces
  • Garratt Blvd
  • Plewes Road

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
  2. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (May 3, 2018). "Bombardier To Move Global Family Production to Pearson". AIN Online.
  3. ^ "BOMBARDIER TO SELL Q400 PROGRAM TO VIKING AIR". Airways. November 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "4th Canadian Division - Ontario". Government of Canada. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  5. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network