People tour the Bombardier Global 7000 aircraft and facility in Toronto. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Bombardier puts Toronto aerospace facility in Downsview up for sale

MONTREAL — Bombardier is shopping around its sprawling aircraft manufacturing site in Toronto’s high-priced real-estate market.

The transportation company said it put its 152-hectare Downsview Airport location north of the city’s downtown up for sale a couple of weeks ago as part of its financial turnaround plan.

Spokesman Olivier Marcil said the unique land with a runway is larger than the company needs and no final decision has been made regarding a sale or relocation of its operations. Only 14 hectares of space is regularly used.

“We think that there’s a better use for the land than a current airport and that could be to the benefit of not only the company but the city of Toronto and the people,” he said in an interview.

The Montreal-based company (TSX:BBD.B) has been on the site since it purchased de Havilland Canada in 1992 but the airfield was built in 1929 to test de Havilland aircraft.

The land was used for the papal visits of John Paul II and served as a military base during the Second World War.

Bombardier used to run a shuttle service to transport employees between Toronto and Montreal, Wichita and Mexico. However, that was suspended as part of the transformation.

The land near subway stations, universities and Highway 401 is potentially very valuable.

Marcil said the company is working with professional advisers and has met with some potential buyers to assess interest. He declined to say how much Bombardier expects to receive from a potential sale.

Bombardier owns several hangars where Q400 turboprops and several business jets are assembled by about 3,500 workers.

Toronto Coun. Maria Augimeri says she will oppose the sale of the prime land.

“Got it on good authority that you’re secretly courting developers in scheme to turn Downsview plant into a massive housing project,” she tweeted. ”Over my dead body.”

Marcil said Bombardier has started to assess all of its global locations as part of its turnaround plan but declined to say if the company has identified any other sites that could be sold.

“We’re not ready to announce anything yet to any other sites that we have in the world.”

Bombardier said it will maintain a presence in Toronto even if it sells the site. It has talked to Pearson International Airport about relocating to the country’s largest airport because it requires runway access.

The company is also committed to Ontario and the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Initiative even if it relocates, Marcil added.

Bombardier is about halfway through its five-year turnaround plan that is designed to improve its financial health after nearly going bankrupt over development of its CSeries commercial jet. Bombardier has signed a deal to sell a majority stake in the program to Airbus.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more provincial funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by FCSS

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month