The Air Canada Café Toronto has redefined what we traditionally imagine as an airport lounge in North America.
Instead of wide buffet spreads and alcoholic options, the Air Canada Café focuses on specialty coffees, fresh cold-pressed juices, and light bites that can be taken with you when you leave.
I paid a visit to the Air Canada Café prior to a recent flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Let’s have a look at what this space has to offer.
Air Canada Café Toronto – Access
This one-of-a-kind lounge is located in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport near gate D20, which is just down the stairs and to the right after domestic security.
The Air Canada Café operates daily from 5:15am to 12am. Access is available to passengers flying domestically out of Toronto Pearson in business class or Premium Rouge.
In addition, those with Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite status, as well as Star Alliance Gold members, can also access the lounge.
Plus, by holding one of the following premium Aeroplan credit cards, you’ll have access, too:
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
- American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
After entering through the Air Canada Café entrance and heading down the hall, you’ll arrive at the automatic gates, where scanning an eligible boarding pass will grant you entry.
Air Canada Café Toronto – Seating
Although guests are encouraged to make use of the Air Canada Café’s grab-and-go concept, there are nevertheless 109 seats dotted around the lounge for any passengers making longer stays.
Nestled in the middle of the café, a few clusters of banquette seating is partially enclosed by a marble enclave low wall. Furthermore, along the wall’s exterior are pairs of seats with small tables in between.
Moving further into the café, you’ll reach a visually striking bar with a handful of bar seats. Next to the bar is a prominent full-height mural done by a Canadian artist, which adds to the visually appealing appearance of the lounge.
In keeping with the café spirit, there are no less than three workspaces that are also integrated into the lounge, closer to the windows at the far end. There are two six-person workspaces and one longer eight-person workspace, each equipped with multiple USB and power charging ports.
Indeed, USB and power ports are placed plentifully around each seat within the café. Since I needed to get quite a bit of work done during my two-hour stay in the lounge, I certainly appreciated having outlets so easily at my disposal.
Additional banquette seating is placed at the back wall, and to the left are more pairs of seats with small tables in between.
Lastly, along the windows are high-top counters with individual stools.
I decided to take up a quiet spot in the corner of the lounge and wrapped up quite a bit of work.
I certainly appreciated the Air Canada Café’s unique concept among airport ground experiences. The interior design is chic, and the space offers an enjoyable ambience.
The lounge is certainly much less crowded than the Maple Leaf Lounge upstairs, and will likely help to relieve some of the traffic at Air Canada’s primary domestic airport lounge.
Air Canada Café Toronto – Dining
Just behind the customer service desk is the back wall, which is filled with a selection of refrigerated grab-and-go meals and drinks.
To the left of this station, you can find the grab-and-go coffee and tea station. There is a Lavazza coffee maker, a drip coffee machine, and plenty of to-go cups.
If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, though, I’d certainly recommend skipping these in favour of a hand-crafted espresso drink at the bar.
In the café’s grab-and-go section, you’ll find an extensive selection of pre-packaged foods, ranging from sandwiches, soup, and salads to Oka fine cheese, pastries, and Lindt chocolate truffles. Paper bags are provided to take your food with you.
A few snacks are also dotted around outside of the refrigerated grab-and-go areas, such as fresh fruit, granola bars, and chips.
For grab-and-go cold beverages, you’ll find a dizzying selection of soft drinks and cold-press juices from Greenhouse located in the refrigerators.
Air Canada Café Toronto – Bar
In addition to the grab-and-go options, there is a team of dedicated baristas at the bar – the highlighted feature of the lounge – who can whip up all kinds of specialty Lavazza coffee and non-alcoholic mixed drinks.
Specialty beverages include cappuccinos, lattes, cold brews, fresh juices, mocktails, and tea from Teapigs and Tetley. The café doesn’t offer alcoholic beverages – you’d need to head upstairs to the Maple Leaf Lounge for that.
With such a wide selection and room for only one caffeinated drink in my system on my afternoon visit to the café, I was certainly spoiled for choice.
I eventually decided to try the Piemonte – a decadent shot of espresso sprinkled with cocoa and then topped with whipped cream – as well as the trillium iced tea from the bar.
I must say, as much as I enjoy indulging in a glass of wine or Champagne at the lounge, the experience of sipping on a fancy hand-crafted coffee at the airport is certainly one to savour as well.
Air Canada Café Toronto – Other Facilities
The Air Canada Café has shared restrooms, separated by gender, which were spacious, well-maintained, and in keeping with the design-forward aesthetic of the rest of the café.
The mirrors stretched from the sink to the ceiling, its brass frames nicely complementing the snazzy geometric walls.
Immediately near the entrance, you’ll find a customer service station, should you require any assistance with your reservation, itinerary changes, seat selection, etc. during your stay in the café.
The Air Canada Café in Toronto Pearson International Airport offers a relaxing bistro-style space with plenty of seating. The café follows an easy grab-and-go concept with fresh food and beverages, as well as a bar with a dedicated barista for specialty coffee.
The Air Canada Café is an excellent choice for those looking to catch up on work in a quiet space before their flight, avoid the crowds at the Maple Leaf Lounge upstairs, or simply grab a bite or a drink and be on their way.
Going forward, if I’m not feeling hungry or in the mood for liquor, I think I’ll almost always visit the Air Canada Café instead of the Maple Leaf Lounge or Plaza Premium Lounge when flying domestically out of Toronto.