COVID-19 closure: Air Canada Signature Suite is temporarily closed.
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- CLOSED TEMPORARILYFood:
- Complimentary snacks
- Complimentary hot buffet
- Complimentary full service restaurant
- Complimentary full bar
- Air conditioning
- Baggage storage
- Barista coffee
- Flight information monitors
- Newspapers and magazines
The Air Canada Signature Suite at Toronto’s Pearson Airport is a retreat where Air Canada revenue intercontinental business class passengers may enjoy a full meal prior to their flight. The lounge features both buffet-style dining as well as a complimentary full-service restaurant.
The Signature Suite is one of the most exclusive business class lounges in the world. A paid, revenue long-haul Air Canada business class fare is the only way to get in: the club is off-limits to customers who redeemed miles, upgraded to business class, are traveling on partner or code-share flights, or hold Star Alliance Gold status and are traveling in Economy. Those customers may use the more mundane Maple Leaf Lounge.
The Signature Suite functions exclusively as a departure lounge. Passengers arriving from an international flight do not have access unless they are continuing on another inter-continental journey.
Air Canada Signature Suite YYZ design
The Air Canada Signature Suite at Toronto Pearson airport Terminal 1 is located on the mezzanine floor above gate E77. Nowhere is the airline cast system more obvious than outside the lobby, where the line to enter the adjacent Plaza Premium Lounge (a shared, pay-per-use facility) routinely spills outside the door, all the way to the elevator. In contrast, Air Canada’s business class passengers feel like they’re at heaven’s doorstep as they step inside the elegant lobby of the Signature Suite.
Featuring a marble wall and a dramatic curved backdrop made of slats of maple wood, the Signature Suite reception area impresses with its understated elegance and luxurious undertones.
Next to the reception area is an intimate alcove decked in maple wood outfitted a round bench and colorful pillows, which serves as a wait area—a reminder that the lounge does fill up at peak times and that a short wait might be a possibility.
A ramp leads down to the restaurant, buffet, and seating areas. Roughly half of the space is dedicated to the buffet area, where patrons may help themselves from a vast selection of freshly-prepared items, and order drinks from the bar. Behind the bar, occupying approximately a third of the club, is the full-service dining room. Opposite the access ramp is a small seating area with traditional lounge seating.
Designed by Montreal architect Heekyung Duquette, the Signature Suite sports Ontario Eramosa marble, stone floors, and custom-designed furniture. The space showcases artwork by Ottawa artist Gavin Lynch and artists Pascale Girardin and Nicolas Ruel, and is dominated by a dramatic overhead sculpture.
The design is sophisticated and functional, with a blend of trendy and industrial areas. The buffet and fine dining area feature booth and bar seating as well as tables for two to six guests. In the restaurant zone is a separate private VIP room for a party of six.
Unfortunately, the club receives very little daylight: the few windows are obscured to mask the adjacent technical equipment. And even if the décor is well suited for a dark environment, daylight is an important component to help beat jet lag and prevent travel fatigue.
Also bothersome is the relative lack of power outlets in the dining area. The seating area has power points at every seat, though it’s small and available seats tend to be in short supply.
Air Canada Signature Suite YYZ amenities
The Air Canada Signature Suite at Toronto Pearson airport is designed as a dining-focused lounge for business class passengers, with personalized Concierge services. Step inside the elegant space and a Concierge will advise you on available options, and offer to store your bags during your visit.
There are two avenues to enjoy pre-flight dining. The complimentary, full-service restaurant serves a-la-carte fare crafted by chef David Hawksworth. A three-course meal typically takes one hour. For the lighter appetite, or guests who have time constraints, a generous all-day full buffet is also available.
The a-la-carte menu boasts an impressive selection of curated dishes, along with wine pairings. Highlights include delicacies such as albacore tuna tataki, seared foie gras lamb chops, and braised beef cheek. The culinary staff pays particular attention to presentation, and most dishes would fare well at an upper-scale restaurant. When we visited, though, there was a single server working a large section of the formal dining area; the service was impersonal and lacked attention to detail, and most interactions with our server were cordial but terse.
The buffet offers a blend of healthy options and comfort foods, with small bites ranging from crudites to cold cuts, a salad bar, and hearty fare such as hamburgers. All dishes are prepared on site and consistently replenished.
Overall, the Signature Suite restaurant dining experience is one of the best in the world for business class. It is not unique per se—United, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways among others offer sit-down, a-la-carte dining—but the refined menu makes Air Canada stand in a league of their own. The overall experience would be akin to what some airlines offer in First Class if Air Canada would just fix a few minor flaws such as the omission of a bread basket, slow water and drink refills, and unpolished, somewhat chaotic service.
The full bar features a vast array of Moët & Chandon Champagnes, local and international wines, and premium liquor and spirits, along with an uplifting and creative cocktail list. Guests may order from the bar or from a roaming server.
After a satisfying meal, patrons can retire to the adjacent seating area, or choose to visit the larger, more luminous, but noisier Maple Leaf Lounge, which is located two floors down.
Indeed, the Air Canada Signature Suite is not a traditional full-service business class lounge. The club focuses on dining, and lacks amenities such as shower suites or a business center. Patrons can inquire with the Concierge to obtain priority access to those services at the Maple Leaf Lounge, but it’s wise to plan ahead: with only two shower suites at the Maple Leaf Lounge, there’s often a waitlist.
Guests who choose to stay at the Signature Suite will find spacious and elegantly-appointed individual bathroom stalls with a sink and a toilet, cloth towels, and Molton Brown skincare products. When it’s time to board, most gates are located a short elevator or escalator ride away.
Air Canada Signature Suite YYZ bottom line
The Air Canada Suite at Toronto Pearson Airport is one of the most alluring business class clubs in the world, with high-end amenities and services such as a-la-carte dining, a full bar, baggage storage, Concierge services, and individual bathrooms. The quality of the food is exceptional for a business class lounge, and the wine and Champagne list is notable. The design of the space impresses despite the lack of daylight.
However, despite the strict access rules—access is exclusively for revenue passengers, with the exclusion of upgraded and status passengers, and those who redeemed miles—the Signature Suite routinely operates at capacity. At peak times, there may be a wait to get into the full-service dining room, and service can feel rushed and impersonal. Considering the limited amount of seating outside the dining room, guests tend to linger in the dining area, further increasing wait times.
Also, the Signature Suite is not a traditional lounge. The club lacks typical amenities such as showers, slumber rooms, or a business center. Some of these amenities are available at the Maple Leaf Lounge, which is situated just a little too far apart from the Signature Suite to offer a convenient alternative. And while Signature Suite guests receive priority access to showers, it’s wise to book early: there are just two bathrooms at the Maple Leaf Lounge.
Many of the limitations of the Signature Suite stem from the lack of real estate at Concourse E. Given the challenges, Air Canada delivers an outstanding product overall. At Vancouver airport, the airline is planning to build a Signature Suite immediately above the Maple Leaf Lounge, which will offer guests more seamless access to an expanded array of amenities. This will make the experience more akin to United’s Polaris Lounges, where guests benefit from a full-service restaurant, showers, and spacious seating area in the same space.
All food items from the buffet are complimentary. Allow 45 minutes for preparation of appetizers and mains, and 15 minutes for bar food.
- Roasted pumpkin soup, crisp sage, brown butter croutons
- B.C. Albacore tuna Tataki, daikon, watermelon radish, avocado, puffed white rice, ponzu
- Kale salad, shaved fennel, toasted bread crumbs, ‘green goddess’ dressing
- Seared Quebec foie gras, cherry, pain perdu, pistachio
- Soy-marinated Sablefish, bok choy, mushrooms, bacon dashi
- Grilled lamb chops, roasted cauliflower, yogurt, mint chermoula
- English pea falafel, roasted zucchini, cherry tomato, pistachio salsa verde
- Braised beef cheek, corn polenta, pickled mushrooms, jalapeno
Quick Bites (bar food)
- KFC Korean Fried Cauliflower
- Hawksworth Hamburger, tempura onion ring, aged cheddar, bacon, brioche bun
- Crudités, local and served over chipped ice, chive dip
- Charcuterie with condiments
You may have access to Air Canada Signature Suite as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Access for eligible customers traveling on the following Star Alliance member airlines only.
Air Canada (AC)
The Air Canada Signature Suite exclusively welcomes International Business Class customers departing on a same-day Air Canada intercontinental flight (to Europe, Asia and South America) booked on a revenue business class fare.
This excludes all upgrades, award tickets, employee tickets, and premium passengers flying on partner airlines, as well as Star Alliance Gold members traveling in economy.
- 5.0Based on 8 ReviewsTian G.2019-08-24 09:55:42Best suite I've ever been to! They have a 3-course fine dining if you got an hour. Otherwise there's great buffet and nice cocktails&wines to choose...Tian G.2019-08-24 09:55:42Best suite I've ever been to! They have a 3-course fine dining if you got an hour. Otherwise there's great buffet and nice cocktails&wines to choose...Kevin W.2019-01-11 07:42:58With the many bad experiences I have had at the Toronto Pearson International Airport (missing flights due to customs delays), this lounge is the one thing...Kevin W.2019-01-11 07:42:58With the many bad experiences I have had at the Toronto Pearson International Airport (missing flights due to customs delays), this lounge is the one thing...Stephanie C.2018-12-15 18:21:59On our way to India, hubby and I had a layover in Toronto. When we were checking in, the attendant recommended that we go to the Signature Suite for Air...