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Reply to @dazuppa:
I've found that it really varies depending on which instructor you get. I had Matt Ross as my instructor and he was great. Overall I found Buttonville to be very professional.
The Sifton family has been the recipient of ~18 million dollars of public money between the Feds and the Provincial gov’t over the years. (according to the research I have done – mainly from reviews of local newspapers)
Public money built the runways.
According to my Markham Councillor, York Region is granting $320,000 per year to the private airport run by the Sifton family.
Now that the property has increase enormously in value, I'd like to know when we get paid back?
I'm impressed by the Siftons ability to scrounge public funding to help operate the airport while the value increases and then walk away with millions.
Shame on our politicians for letting them get a free ride.
It's a lesson in Corporate Welfare.
Looks like someone doesn't like the Siftons. Same someone has a lot of erroneous "facts". The Siftons developed and funded Buttonville from their own pocket until 2002 when they received a meagre stipend from GTAA. Economically, the airport is worth hundreds of millions to the local region and economy. They'll notice when it is gone. Markam airport isn't capable of hanling the 200+ aircraft currently based at Buttonville and is not open to the public. It is a land bank for the Thompson family. The original poster of this thread appears to have a mouth larger then their brain and should learn to deal in facts rather than emotions. Yes, Buttonville is going to close and when it does, it will be another example of the government shooting itself in the foot.
Reply to @dazuppa: I've never taken instruction at Buttonville, but I've used it a few times as a transient pilot, and my experiences have always been positive as far as the airport itself goes: professional ATC, good facilities, friendly staff, reasonable prices, etc.
Your point about the location is very valid, however - you walk out of the airport into the middle of the vast, soul-destroying, post-apocalyptic suburban waste land that is Toronto's blue belt, with no public transit worth mentioning and nothing in walking distance worth walking to. That's why I usually cough up the extra money for the Porter FBO at CYTZ - it costs a bit more, but then I'm right downtown and can walk anywhere I want. The Island also offers a much more beautiful approach and departure.
You can't get in or out from this airport without a rental car, even though it looks like sitting in the middle of the city. Oh well, there is a bus stop next to a funerals home in front, but in winter they don't clean the snow there so you'll have to wait in a pile of snow.
Toronto Airways has one of the least interested instructors I've seen in the whole Toronto area! Like, really, if you are a potential customer (renter, student pilot, whatever), paying a hefty price, you may expect certain level of positive attitude towards you. FBO folks were nice, though.
Seneca College airplanes are also based there, and those guys are setting standards in competence and quality of flight training.
From the pilot prospective, runways are huge and comfortable. Tower is generally friendly, though if you are flying from CYKZ to CYTZ and vice versa they tend to be... a bit picky sometimes. Not really bad, just picky. Won't release you from the frequency until the last second, etc.
They have this funny little Markham airport plugged into their airspace - I'd suggest going through the CYKZ control zone instead! Markham people can pop up in front of you in a glider without warning (yeah, they have their own separate frequency for gliders, I know, but better - just fly with Buttonville radar keeping an eye on you and throwing advisories if needed).