Inside the New Aspire Air Canada Café at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport

Air Canada has unveiled its latest lounge concept, the Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ). The airline’s newest lounge opened on June 1, 2023, in a collaboration between Air Canada and Aspire, Swissport’s premium lounge brand.

The lounge has both a unique concept and a generous access policy, and is currently the lone lounge at Billy Bishop Airport.

I had a chance to visit the lounge upon its opening, and I’d like to share my initial impressions of the lounge before doing a full review during a future visit.

The New Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport

Earlier this week, Air Canada executives hinted at the upcoming launch of a new lounge in Toronto in Summer 2023. What wasn’t specified at the time was in what airport the lounge would open, which we now know is Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ).

This is the newest lounge for Air Canada, and the only airline lounge at Billy Bishop Airport. 

The Aspire | Air Canada Café collaboration is Air Canada’s 27th lounge, and the fifth currently operating Canadian Aspire lounge. Air Canada maintains lounges in most major Canadian airports, and Aspire has lounges in Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), and Ottawa (YOW).

It’s worth noting that in late 2022, Swissport had announced that it would open an Aspire lounge at Billy Bishop Airport. The lounge didn’t ever open, and it appears that it collaborated with Air Canada prior to finalizing everything.

The lounge is billed as a “café-style executive lounge”, and is unique in that it’s a hybrid between the Air Canada Café that debuted at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Aspire lounges. 

The Aspire | Air Canada Café is a new lounge concept from Air Canada

In total, the lounge has a 367 square metres of space. The Aspire | Air Canada Café offers seating for 133 guests in the domestic departures terminal at Billy Bishop Airport.

In the lounge, you’ll find quiet workspaces and a private meeting room, as well as food and drinks to enjoy in the lounge or on the go. There are separate workspaces for taking calls, which are separated from other working spaces where guests might appreciate less noise.

Wireless chargers are available at just about every seat in the lounge, which is in keeping with the direction many new lounges and airlines are taking in their product development.

Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi is available for all guests, and there are televisions broadcasting news and sports throughout the lounge.

How to Access the Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport

One of the more interesting aspects to the Aspire | Air Canada Café is the access policy.

First off, the Aspire | Air Canada Café is available to Air Canada customers with Aeroplan 50K, 75K, or Super Elite status. Passengers with Star Alliance Gold status, or anyone with an Aeroplan premium co-branded credit card, will also enjoy complimentary access to the the Aspire | Air Canada Café.

Indeed, the above inclusions mirror those of the original Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

The Aspire | Air Canada Café has a unique lounge access policy

Passengers travelling in any class of service on any airline may also access the Aspire | Air Canada Café with a Priority Pass or DragonPass membership. Access through these programs is available as of today, although their websites may take a few days to be updated.

If you aren’t otherwise eligible for complimentary access, you can also pay for entry. If you book through the Aspire website, access is $50 (CAD) per adult and $30 (CAD) per child, which is at a discount from $55 (CAD) per adult or $35 (CAD) per child if you pay upon entry.

Furthermore, passengers who are connecting onwards to an Air Canada business class flight will also enjoy access to the Aspire | Air Canada Café. This is a unique lounge access policy, and perhaps amongst the first of its kind.

At the moment, every Air Canada flight out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport is on an all-economy plane. Until September 2023, the only Air Canada flights departing from Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ) are to Montreal, as the service to Ottawa has been put on hold until then.

In the immediate future, you’ll have to book a flight from Billy Bishop to Montreal in economy, and then onwards in Air Canada business class to enjoy lounge access this way. However, if Air Canada launches new routes from Billy Bishop in the future, you’ll be able to take advantage of lounge access if your onward connecting flight is with Air Canada in business class.

Inside the Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport

Approaching the lounge, I was immediately greeted by the elegant exterior adorned with glass doors, windows, and sophisticated jet-black accents. Notably, the logos of Aspire and Air Canada stand proudly above the entrance, effortlessly catching your eye.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Entrance

Outside the entrance, a strategically placed sign conveys a welcoming message, reminding travellers that the lounge is available to passengers departing on any airline, and not just Air Canada.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Welcome sign

Stepping through a set of glass doors, a sense of originality and trendiness permeates within this new lounge.

To the right, a sleek marble check-in area stands ready, staffed with knowledgeable personnel who are readily available to provide assistance and facilitate access to the lounge.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Check-in desk

Acting as a captivating backdrop, a stunning moss and foliage wall gracefully stretches across a section of the accent wall. Next to this natural terrarium, illuminated Aspire and Air Canada branding adds a luxurious touch, with both emanating a soothing blue glow.

Transitioning beyond the check-in desk, there’s an array of grab-and-go options, including sandwiches, overnight oats, and yogurt with granola.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Grab-and-go items

Furthermore, a cart displays an assortment of pastries, cookies, bagels, and fruit. As a nice touch, paper bags, with the word “Aspire” printed on them, are readily available for those on the move.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Grab-and-go food items


Upon entering the lounge, there’s a vibrant energy that comes from the colorful splashes adorning the back walls to the tie-dye styled rugs and contemporary furnishings.

The design is an attractive display of upscale sophistication, playful funkiness, and trendy aesthetics. Notably, triangular-shaped lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling serve as captivating focal points.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

At the lounge’s forefront, a communal seating area greets you, consisting of two- and four-person dining tables adorned with vibrant orange leather seats. Positioned strategically in front of the bar, these tables offer a prime vantage point if you’re keen on having a few drinks.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

At the far end of the lounge, more dining tables are accompanied by bench-style seating which lines the back wall.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

In the same area, casual seating arrangements take the form of elegantly designed wingback chairs. These seats are arranged in pairs of four, facing each other, accompanied by individual side tables.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

To the left of the bar, inviting booths provide a more intimate setting, and a touch of privacy.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

The seating in the lounge extends beyond the bar and dining area, with a variety of seating options on the periphery of the lounge. There are comfortable leather sofas and eye-catching bright red seats with novel shapes, as well as more wingback seating positioned strategically near the windows.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Seating

Finally, the lounge has strategically placed charging ports, making them conveniently accessible from most seating areas. Additionally, wireless charging is available on tables and at the bar.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Wireless charging station

The ample seating arrangements in the lounge cater to a generous capacity of up to 133 people, with adequate space between seating areas.

Dining & Bar

The dining area of the lounge is positioned directly next to the lounge’s communal seating area. The counters are abundantly laid out with a diverse selection of hot and cold items.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Dining area
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Buffet area

Classic breakfast staples, such as bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns, are available too.

Cold items include a selection of cured meats, cheese, and fresh fruit. Additionally, green smoothies are thoughtfully presented in adorable little jars.

Adjacent is an assortment of freshly baked pastries and goods.

Notably, more baked goods can be found displayed on serving trays, including cupcakes embellished with Air Canada and Aspire logos on the frosting.


To accompany this, juices are served in quaint mini-carafes with straws.

Moreover, within this area, automatic dispensers are directly built into the counters, for still or sparkling water, and specialty coffees. iPads are used to make your coffee selection.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Water dispenser
Aspire | Air Canada Café – iPad coffee menu

I found the automatic coffee dispenser setup to be particularly intriguing. Admittedly, my cappuccino tasted fairly similar to a regular machine-brewed one.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Mid-brew cappuccino

In the long run, I’ll be curious to see how well the hardware holds up.

All in all, the quality of the food at the new lounge is commendable, and certainly surpasses the current standard of domestic Maple Leaf lounges.

In the heart of the lounge stands a captivating three-sided bar, which is encircled by plush bar seating. Rising above the bar are top-shelf liquors and cascading plants.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Bar
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Bar seating

This lofty bar has a drinks menu to match, with an impressive selection of complimentary and paid premium drinks.

Other Facilities

As you first pass the check-in area and turn right, you’ll find a room with a dedicated workspace discreetly tucked behind a set of glass doors. Here, you’ll discover a high-top desk situated against the back wall, complete with a sleek work chair and a single lamp.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Workspace
Aspire | Air Canada Café – Workspace

In addition to this workspace, there is a meeting room that accommodates up to five individuals, complete with a desk and a flat-screen TV. However, there’s only one of each room, and I imagine that they’re likely to be occupied most of the time.

Aspire | Air Canada Café – Meeting room

It’s worth noting that restrooms aren’t available within the lounge itself. To access the restrooms, you’ll need to step out into the terminal area.


The Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ) is now ready to welcome eligible passengers. This is Air Canada’s newest lounge concept, which was launched in conjunction with Aspire, Swissport’s premium lounge brand.

This lounge is a hybrid model between the Air Canada Café concept and Aspire’s approach to lounges. If the launch of this type of lounge is successful, it could be rolled out in other airports in the coming years.

I’m intrigued by the concept of the lounge, and it’s a very welcome addition to Billy Bishop Airport. Be sure to check it out next time you’re flying out of Downtown Toronto.


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