A Guide to Everything Pearson

With holiday getaway time fast-approaching, I have put together a comprehensive guide to everything Pearson airport. As an insider, with my expertise, you will impress your friends with your profound knowledge of Toronto’s international airport, earning you pats on the back and high fives all the way to your destination. You will also save me from pulling out the little hair I have left.


Clothing: Dress appropriately for your flight length. Wearing a ballgown on a 15 hour flight is about as practical as wearing a suit of armor to the beach (I know a few knights out there who will give me a hard time for that comment). Also keep in mind, you will be walking through a metal detector. Wearing every piece of jewellery your family has ever owned like you’re some sort of jewellery box is a bad idea.

Security: This is a topic that is close to my heart, since I work as a screening officer at Pearson. This is not only a helpful guide to getting through security, but a future investment in lessening my frustrations with passengers.

Liquids, Gels, Aerosols: 100ml or less- no exceptions. Why do you need a 2 litre bottle of shampoo on the plane? This isn’t a Herbal Essence commercial. Wash your hair when you land. Put your liquids in your checked luggage. Don’t ask me why you were allowed a bottle of Axe body spray in Morocco but aren’t allowed it in Toronto. I have literally no insight into what is going on in Morocco. As far as I know, they are just a bunch of maniacs letting air pressured deodorants on flights, willy-nilly.


When going through the metal detector: DO NOT- Leave your shoes in front of us when we tell you they have set off the alarm and you need to remove them. If we have a concern that your shoes have alarmed why would taking them off and immediately putting them back on alleviate that concern? Quick answer: it won’t.

I’m not sure what they are teaching in school these days but people constantly tell me that their jewellery shouldn’t have alarmed because it is gold, silver etc. Gold and silver are metal, you’re walking through a metal detector, take them off. Lastly the metal detector is not a teleportation device. Standing in the middle of it while spinning around and staring at the ceiling will get you no where except sent back to try it again. Followed by ridicule from fellow passengers, my colleagues and, of course, me.

Questions not to ask:

Why do my shoes set off the alarm here but not in Montreal? The appropriate response to this question should be, “I don’t know! Why do they”? Because I’m a professional, the response I give is to stand silently and look this person in the eyes, assuming the question is rhetorical. If you’re ever faced with me or a colleague giving you this silent stare, they may also trying to answer your questions in the following manner:

Why am I always randomly selected? Because you touch yourself at night.

Why can’t I go in that line? Because the world revolves around you and knowing you were coming to fly today we specially arranged this line specifically for you.

Where do I go from here? Lets perhaps start with you giving me a basic background of any information pertaining to your flight, then try following any one of the eighteen thousand signs located throughout the airport. For a good start.

Do I have to take my shoes off? Where do I begin. When I’m asked this it reminds me of complex children’s questions that have many answers, none of which are going to be listened to. “Where do clouds come from, Dad”? Or, “Why does Mommy sleep in a different room”?

Do I need to put this in a bin? This question is usually asked directly beside a sign that shows pictures of everything going in a bin and after I have yelled, “EVERYBODY PUT ALL THEIR BELONGINGS IN A BIN, EVERY SINGLE ONE.”

When having your bag searched: Don’t argue with the officer about what you have in your bag; we know, we are using an x-ray machine. If it can tell whether you have a hairline fracture in your baby toe, it can tell whether you have a two foot machete you brought on your last camping trip to impress your friends with how well you can carve marshmallow sticks, tucked away at the bottom of your bag.

Arrive Early: The last thing airport employees want to do when they are on break, racing to Tim Horton’s to get their first cup of coffee of the day, is to answer the question, “where is terminal 1”? by a frantic passenger, while the person is standing directly in front of a sign that says Terminal 1. The airport is in the same place it’s always been, plan your journey there accordingly.

Food: Despite common misconceptions about food in the airport, in most cases, it’s not more expensive than outside food. Unlike Canada’s Wonderland, you won’t find yourself spending 12$ on a medium Coke. Before you go inside security in Terminal 1 and 3, you will find several Tim Horton’s, a Swiss Chalet, and a Subway. Uniquely in Terminal 3, you will find a Wendy’s, with a slightly inflated value deal price, and a Freshi. In T1 you can find a Paramount, a Booster Juice, and Caplansky’s.

Once inside security, you can find several bars in both terminals, and a number of normally priced fast food places such as: A&W, Extreme Pita, Tim Horton’s, Booster Juice, Great Canadian Bagel, and Thai Express, to mention only a few. If you’re leaving the country, it may be a good idea to get in your final hit of Tim’s caffeine before a long flight. Or get a BJ (my hilarious acronym for Booster Juice) to calm your pre-flight jitters.

Hopefully this guide gives you the information needed to ensure at least the first part of your journey goes off without a hitch. However, once you reach the compacted dirt runways of your far off destination and are asked to remove your pants for further investigation by security officers in cut-off jean shorts, you’re on your own.

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