buttonville airport closing

Here's what will soon replace an entire airport near Toronto

Time is running out for the Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport, as the suburban airport north of the city enters into its final months of operation after 70 years of air traffic.

Buttonville's 169-acre property at Highway 404 and 16th Avenue in Markham has been on the chopping block for well over a decade, and with just a few months to go before the privately-owned airport's lease expires on November 30, the future of the site has finally been revealed.

The Buttonville lands were purchased in two separate acquisitions by developer Cadillac Fairview in 2010 and 2021. Long expected to be redeveloped as a mixed-use commercial and residential community, the major mall operator's acquisition only fuelled further speculation that something big was in the works.

Plans finally dropped in July 2023, and anyone hoping for a transformative redevelopment that would bring new life — or anything of interest, for that matter — might be disappointed to learn of the plan now being pushed forward with the City of Markham.

buttonville airport

A July 10 application offers up details of the redevelopment plan, where Cadillac Fairview has proposed a sprawling complex of 11 single-storey industrial buildings that would add up to a colossal 2,775,000 square feet of space.

For a comparable reference point, the current tallest building in Canada, First Canadian Place in Toronto's Financial District, contains 2,700,120 square feet of space across 72 floors.

All of this new industrial space would be constructed in a phased development process, starting with an initial two-building phase at the north end of the site, where the current terminal building and apron area.

buttonville airport closing

While it responds to an obvious demand for industrial real estate, the current plans may come as a bit of a letdown for anyone who was expecting Cadillac Fairview to bring something grand to the Buttonville site.

Instead, the plan proposes nondescript grey and black buildings containing no retail, no homes, and no mix of uses to speak of.

buttonville airport closing

There is no mention of commemoration for the airport, and the only evidence of its existence left by the proposal would be a new street that follows part of the current main runway's path.

Lead photo by

Sebastian Ip

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