August 9, 2023

Million Air Toronto Summer BBQ

Jon Robinson

— By Phil Lightstone (Photo: Phil Lightstone)

For the past few years, Million Air Toronto FBO, located at the Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport (CYKZ), has hosted a lunchtime BBQ for airport tenants, student pilots, itinerant pilots and airport staff. Million Air Toronto is owned and operated by TorontAir Limited. The BBQ is held every second Thursday between 11:00 and 2:00 pm during the summer in the main terminal building.

The BBQ held on Thursday July 27, 2023, attracted a full house with more than 100 hamburgers and 58 hotdogs and sausages. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate with a broken sky and off and on rain showers. Fortunately, this is not their first rodeo. The entrance to the terminal building has a large awning, creating a perfect place to BBQ during inclement weather. Typically, the BBQ is held on the terminal building’s patio. But with the awning, Flightline personnel (who are staffing the BBQ) can stay dry and keep the BBQ operating at peak efficiency.

The organizers at Million Air Toronto recognize the need for menu diversity. The menu included sausages, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers (featuring Beyond Meat burgers), potato salad, chips, condiments, soft drinks, water and a variety of cookies. Operating a peak efficiency, a buffet was setup in the terminal building, with Flightline shuttling in hot BBQ. For hungry airport patrons, seconds and thirds were encouraged (please note that overeating is not sanctioned by your local CAME).

The lunchtime BBQ is a great way to break bread with fellow aviators and aviation enthusiasts as well as folks employed by services companies operating at the airport. On a personal note, I had my BBQ lunch with the pilots and officers of the York Regional Police Air Unit, who operate out of the Buttonville Airport. The conversation drifted between YRP’s newest helicopter and their plans to move the air unit once Buttonville closes at the end of November 2023. While we can only make suggestions (the folks at the table were clear to mention that the relocation plans are above their pay grade), it is an interesting conversation about the state aviation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Robert Seaman, Vice President and Airport Manager, joined in with the BBQ, meeting and greeting BBQ attendees. It’s great to see airport staff members mingle with the tenants and patrons of the airport, especially during these times leading up to the closure of the airport. Rob is and has been a stalwart supporter of General Aviation, as an airshow pilot he has flown a variety of aircraft including my personal favorite a North American P51 Mustang.

On a personal note, I find these events to bring people closer together, through food and conversation, sharing experiences, knowledge and building bridges between diverse personalities. Rather than listening to the glass half empty conversations, which can deliver negative energy, why not focus on the positive side of aviation and the companies’ delivering products, services and solutions to your aviation experience.