Author Topic: Toronto Buttonville Airport in Markham permanently closed as of Nov 30  (Read 7874 times)

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One of Canada’s largest privately-owned airports gives way to land redevelopment.
The final echoes of engines roaring, propellers whirring, and the sight of planes ascending into the skies have faded away from Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport.

After six decades of service, Buttonville Airport, one of Canada's largest privately-owned airports, officially ceased operations on Nov. 30, marking the end of an era in aviation. Situated at the intersection of Highway 404 and 16th Avenue in Markham, the airport's closure was foreseen, attributed to the expiration of a land lease agreement between Cadillac Fairview, the airport's owner, and TorontAir Limited, the airport's operating entity.
The future holds a transformation for the land, with Cadillac Fairview envisioning its redevelopment into an expansive industrial complex, signalling a significant change for the area's landscape.

Derek Sifton, president of TorontAir Limited, could not be reached for comments via phone or email on Nov. 30. However, Vince Faust, assistant line manager for flight line services, confirmed that Nov. 30 was the last day of the airport’s operations without giving further comments.

Amid the closure, traces of activity could still be observed on the airport's final day. An isolated plane lingered on the otherwise vacant premises while employees were witnessed evacuating furniture and personal belongings from the site.
Runway decommissioning had already started, commencing with the smaller runway (21/03) on Nov. 20, followed by the closure of runway 15/33 shortly after, according to staff members.

Reflecting on the closure, City of Markham Ward 2 Coun. Ritch Lau, a former student pilot at Buttonville Airport, acknowledged the nostalgic sentiments shared by fellow pilots. However, Lau highlighted safety concerns raised by local residents following recent mishaps involving crash landings, indicating that the closure was not entirely

For many aviation enthusiasts and professionals, Buttonville Airport held a special place in their hearts. Robert Cohen, who obtained his pilot license at Buttonville in 1981 and subsequently embarked on a career as a charter pilot, expressed profound gratitude to the Sifton family for nurturing his childhood dream of flying.
Recalling the airport's humble origins as a grass airstrip in 1953, Cohen reminisced about the Sifton family's vision, particularly that of Heather and Michael Sifton, who transformed the farmland into a thriving private airport facility.

"It turned out to be a gem for any aviation enthusiast. Many of us in the industry ... will miss Buttonville Airport.”

"Buttonville Airport was my roots in aviation," Cohen remarked. "It turned out to be a gem for any aviation enthusiast. Many of us in the industry, be it professionally or privately, currently flying or retired, will miss Buttonville Airport and all the services it had to offer.”

The airport's closure marks the end of an era for those who found solace and inspiration amid its runways and hangars, leaving a legacy that will endure in the memories of the aviation community.