The Air Canada Signature Suite in Toronto is the finest airport lounge in North America I have ever visited. Period.
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto Review
Note this review is from February 2020. This lounge is currently closed due to the pandemic.
Access + Hours + Location
Put simply, you’re going to have to pay up to get into this lounge.
Access is reserved for longhaul business class passengers (traveling to Asia, Europe, or South America) originally booked in booking classes J, C, D, Z, or P. R-class bookings (upgrades) and I-class bookings (awards) are not permitted access. Even if you are rebooked into an eligible fare class during irregular operations, access is only based upon originally booked fare class. No guests are permitted. This is not an elite lounge or Star Alliance lounge.
You’ll find the lounge in the international departure area, next to Gate E77, on the upper level beside the Plaza Premium Lounge.
The lounge, during normal times, is open daily from 10:30AM to 11:00PM, though times may change based upon Air Canada flight schedules.
Seating + Ambiance
Upon entering the lounge, you’ll notice a semi-cirrcular couch just past the check-in desk. Proceed further into the lounge and you’ll find a seating area on the right intended for lounging and on the left intended for dining. Straight back is the restaurant.
You won’t have to reach far for a power plug, though as we enter the USB C era, they will have to be retrofitted.
I think what I loved most about this lounge was the ambiance. The soft lighting, woodwork, color palette, and artwork were simply a lovely combination. The lounge was designed by Montreal architect Heekyung Duquette. Artwork in the lounge includes works by Pascale Girardin and Nicolas Ruel as well as a stunning mural by Ottawa artist Gavin Lynch. The Cloudscape Chandelier is from Toronto design firm Moss & Lam.
Food + Drink
Beyond its beauty, the highlight of this lounge was the culinary adventure.
A buffet offers hot and cold items is available throughout the day. Breakfast choices included:
- Eggs made to order (including omelets)
- Breakfast breads
Lunch and dinner selections included:
- Charcuterie + cheese
- Braised meatballs
- Chicken sliders
- Brussel sprouts
A La Carte Dining
The true treat, however, was the dining room featuring an a la carte menu designed by chef David Hawksworth.
Seating is open and on a first-come, first-serve basis (though the dining area never filled up). Upon taking a seat, I was presented with a food and drink menu:
I began with a salad of winter greens, beets, blue cheese, cranberry raisins, and pecans served over red wine vinaigrette. I also ordered a “Lavender Bliss” cocktail.
Next, I ordered a pasta course: gnocchi with mushrooms, parmesan, and herbs. It was very delicious.
For my main course, I tired the braised lamb shank, served with couscous, roasted eggplant, and cauliflower yogurt. It was tender and brimming with flavor. The yogurt was a particularly nice accompaniment and I loved the crushed pistachios which topped the lamb.
After finishing my main course, I was presented with a dessert menu:
I ordered the sticky toffee and date cake with candied pecans, bourbon butterscotch, and maple ice cream. Wow, was it tasty.
Don’t neglect to dine in the lounge if you have access…lunch was one of my best of the entire year.
Throughout my stay I enjoyed coffee. You can also order all of the beverages listed in the menu above. There’s also self-serve Champagne, both regular and rosé, from Moët.
Restroom suites are located in the rear of the lounge. I’d say the one deficiency of this lounge is that showers are not available. If you do need to use a shower, you’ll be escorted to the nearby international Maple Leaf Lounge, which has shower suites. The restrooms include cloth towels and Molton Brown amenities. All restrooms are unisex.
Adjacent to the dining room is a private dining room, perfect for meetings or I suppose people who want to be left alone.
The greatest service came from James Brown, the Signature Suite General Manager. He noticed I was taking pictures and approached me, just to make sure I was comfortable (he did this for other guests too). We ended up chatting for quite some time about the state of travel and the lounge. I just loved the pride he took in this lounge. He took me on a mini-tour, detailing the artwork I explained above and even about how the raw material for the lounge was locally sourced. Air Canada has an asset not only in the lounge, but in James.
Moments after arriving in the lounge, a waiter approached me and asked if I would like something to drink. I ordered a cappuccino and a berry smoothie, which were promptly delivered.
During lunch, service was attentive and courteous. Plates were promptly cleared and the bottle of wine was held for my inspection as I sampled it. Clearly, the staff have been well-trained.
I cannot recommend this lounge highly enough. Although I have not yet reviewed the Air Canada Signature Suite in Vancouver, this is currently my favorite lounge in North America (edging out the Qantas First Class Lounge in Los Angeles). Stop by for the ambiance and stay for a remarkable meal.
Have you had a chance to review the Air Canada Signature Suite in Toronto? What were your impressions?