Review: Aspire Air Canada Café at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport

The Aspire Air Canada Cafe is the only airline lounge at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport, and it’s a welcome sight, as previously there was no way to avoid sky-high food and beverage costs. Interestingly, Air Canada played a role in naming the lounge, even though this airport is considered Porter Airlines’ home turf. 

Regardless of airline politics, it’s a fantastic lounge that almost anyone with a travel credit card can enter for free. Let me tell you how to get in and why you will want to!

Accessing the Aspire Air Canada Café at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport

As with the Air Canada Cafe at Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ), access is open to all Aeroplan 50K, 75K, Super Elite status, and Star Alliance Gold members plus one guest. If you have an Aeroplan premium credit card, you can also get in without paying a fee and bring a guest.

Front desk of the Aspire Air Canada Cafe at Billy Bishop airport.

Things get unique because, unlike the Pearson Cafe, this lounge is also accessible to Priority Pass and DragonPass members. Even more unique is the fact that if you’re connecting onto an Air Canada flight with a business class ticket, you can also enter. Currently, Air Canada has no aircraft with a Business Class cabin that operates from Billy Bishop, which is why this unique lounge policy comes into effect. Otherwise, seemingly few Air Canada customers would be eligible for complimentary access.

If none of those broad criteria apply to you, you can also pay to enter the lounge, which may be worth it if you have a long wait before your flight. Pricing is $55 CAD in person or $50 if you book in advance. 

The entrance is well-marked and easy to find within the domestic departures terminal. Make a right after exiting the escalator, and you’re greeted with a visually appealing entrance.

Entrance to the Aspire Air Canada Cafe at Billy Bishop airport.


The Aspire lounge is well-designed, with a variety of seating setups for different purposes. I chose to the left of the entrance as these seats were close to windows with tarmac views. This more relaxed area also had pop art coffee table books, which I hadn’t seen in a lounge before. Our seats had a full complement of charging ports, but the USB-C port wasn’t working, unfortunately. 

Further into the lounge is a more open seating area with six swivel chairs and the departures board.

These chairs are a huge step up from the beige “standard issue lounge chair” you’ll find at most Plaza Premium lounges, such as the Plaza Premium lounge in YEG.

The central bar seating is the next visual landmark; for good reason, it’s stunning.

Central bar at the Aspire Air Canada Cafe at Billy Bishop airport.

Some seats at the bar had wireless chargers, which were super handy. The bar is tastefully decorated with cocktail kits, a nice touch!

Seating on either side of the bar is dining-focused with pre-set tables, but if the lounge is at capacity, even these seats offer charging ports.

Behind the bar is some booth-style seating, similar to the Centurion Seattle, but these were occupied during my visit, and I couldn’t take closer photos. Well, I’m sure I could have, but I may have then been asked to leave!

The far wall of the lounge boasts some modern art, open seating, and extra dining space.

If you turn to the right when you enter the lounge, you’ll find the Work Space, which isn’t large overall but does include the biggest meeting room I’ve ever seen in an airport lounge. A great place for taking calls in silence, I’d imagine.

Food & Beverage

The food here was hit-and-miss, but at least the hits were big. When I visited, the hot food on offer included Jerk Chicken and Beans (a Toronto Classic), Beyond Meat Pasta, and Pork Sliders.

The Jerk Chicken was so good I went back for seconds! The rest of the buffet included light bites and Maple Leaf Lounge classics like chips and salsa.

If you need to dine and dash, that’s encouraged here! There’s a whole section for takeaway food, which is a great concept. The grab-&-go is next to the check-in desk, making it uber convenient. 

I was intrigued by the fresh baked breads and Montreal-style bagels, but unfortunately, they were a bit of a letdown and quite dry. 

The bar had a different setup than most lounges. There were one or two choices for every drink included, but many options were premium drinks available for an extra charge.

As you can see, there’s quite a lot for an extra charge. For example, I’ve enjoyed many a Negroni or Espresso Martini in Centurion Lounges without paying a penny extra, but here, I wouldn’t pay the $12-$15 for a craft cocktail. No matter how nice the decorative cocktail kits are!

The Peller Estates sparkling wine being included was a pleasant taste of Canada that I was satisfied with.

As for more basic beverages, the buffet offered infused water and an incredibly unique coffee machine that also produced espresso beverages. 


There is no bathroom inside the lounge, but the terminal restrooms are a quick walk to the left when you exit. 


The Air Canada Cafe at Billy Bishop builds on my positive experiences at the Original Cafe at Pearson. The staff are eager to please, and the food and beverage choices have a Toronto flare. The biggest positive is that Billy Bishop finally has a lounge!

If this is the new standard for Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafes, I will be a happy camper for years to come. 

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.


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