On Monday, Porter Airlines made what could be a game-changing announcement for all your long weekend plans. This summer, the airline will offer a direct seasonal service to the Muskoka region.
From June 27 until September 3, you’ll be able to depart from Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Airport and be delivered to Bracebridge’s Muskoka Airport in as little as 20 minutes. Round-trip flights on the Porter site are currently advertised for around $200—a small price to pay for a drastic reduction in travel time to cottage country.
“A new summer service between Toronto and Muskoka is great news for all Ontarians,” said Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s minister of tourism, culture and sport in a press release. “[The] new route will boost local business and make this stunning part of our province an easy-to-access vacation destination.”
We can’t dispute that it’s great news. But if you’re rejoicing at the prospect of never having to spend another Friday night stuck in northbound traffic again, you might want to wait to break out the bubbly. The catch is that the twice-weekly service only departs Toronto on Thursday in the early afternoon, and doesn’t return until Monday morning.
It might sound like the perfect solution for long weekends—when cottage-bound traffic is at its peak—but there’s another complication; on holiday weekends, the Monday return flight will be moved to Tuesday, instead. In other words, if your dream is to walk out of the office at 5pm on a Friday and be at the cottage by 6pm, you’re out of luck.
That’s not the only snag for cottage-owners—there’s also the complication of actually getting to your property upon arrival without a car. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that Explorers’ Edge—a regional tourism organization representing Algonquin Park, South Algonquin, Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, and Parry Sound—is introducing a seasonal shuttle bus service to accompany flights. The bus will deliver arriving passengers to destinations throughout the region. If you’ve booked accommodation, the organization will also throw in $100 in spending vouchers for the area.
The service seems largely designed to cater to tourists to the area, rather than cottage owners. However, there’s still incentive to try it out. Proving there’s demand by filling seats might give Porter reason to expand to a much-needed year-round commuter service—and that’s one goal we can get behind.
Want to try out the new seasonal service to Muskoka? Here are all the details:
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Departures: Thursday at 1:10pm and Monday at 9:20am (with the exception of long weekends, when the Monday service to is moved to Tuesday at 9:20am).
Muskoka Airport Departures: Thursday at 2:20pm and Monday at 10:30am (with the exception of long weekends, when the Monday service is moved to Tuesday at 10:30am).
Duration: Roughly 20 minutes.
Cost: Around $200 round-trip.