December 6, 2011

Wandering the PATH

While many know Toronto for its iconic sites such as the CN Tower, Casa Loma, and the CNE, visitors might not realize that below street level downtown is the world's largest underground shopping complex

With 28 km (17 miles) of shopping arcades PATH has 371,600 sq. metres (4 million sq. ft) of retail space, rivalling the West Edmonton Mall for size. The system connects 50 office buildings/towers and has roughly 1,200 stores. The City estimates that 100,000 commuters use PATH daily.

The first underground tunnels for shoppers and pedestrians were dug in 1900 to connect Eaton with its annex location, but the PATH really took off in the 1970s when two of the major complexes were joined by tunnels.   

I have been exploring PATH on my lunch hours to familiarize myself with the labyrinth as much as possible before the sub-zero temperatures arrive. One day last week I hopped on the subway at Queen + University and went down to Union Station. I walked all the way back to Queen Street underground (the equivalent of 5 city blocks), and popped up at City Hall. Totally cool!

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