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Toronto PATH System

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I have attempted to explain the PATH System in Toronto to some of my American colleagues. Most people from Buffalo, whom haven't visited Toronto, seem to underestimate what the PATH system is like. It truly is a city below ground. While I was up in Toronto this past weekend, I was able to wander the PATH system and snap some photos.


The PATH is a network of interconnected buildings spread across Toronto's downtown core. In most cases, this network is below ground, and travels almost seamlessly between buildings, under streets, through department stores, and subway stations. According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the largest underground shopping complex with 30 km (19 miles) of shopping arcades. It has 371,600 square metres (4 million square feet) of retail space. In fact, the retail space connected to PATH rivals the West Edmonton Mall in size. The photo above is a shot of the PATH, as you enter the Hudson's Bay department store, from the North, having come from the Eaton's Center. While this seems like any other department store, this is actually a public gateway, through which you can commute to and from work.


Continuing South from the Bay, you can see how the PATH turns into a sort of tunnel. However it is still lined with stores and access points to various buildings above ground. I made this venture on a holiday, and quite late in the evening. The stores were all mostly closed and locked up. However you can still see that people were utilizing this below grade avenue of transportation.


This is likely a busy section of the PATH during the business day. This section, close to the First Canadian Place, is very posh, and upper class. Bankers and Executives likely call this section of the PATH their local turf. But this is still just the basement and underground tunnels between buildings.


Continuing East from First Canadian Place, the PATH ventures into one of Scotia Banks buildings, and this interesting kiosk is located along the PATH there. A huge screen shows the live updates on the financial markets around the world, while a stock ticker scrolls on an LED Sign across the top of the tellers.


While the PATH system is the city below Toronto, there are few places where you can actually see evidence of this. Most of the time, you just think you are in some really long and narrow mall. I believe that this photo below shows the actual structure which is holding up the road above the PATH.


Below grade links in Toronto are fairly common, and not all are part of the PATH network yet. Some are too far away from downtown to be considered part of the PATH. It mostly stems from the Torontonians desire to keep warm and out of the weather during our long, and usually unpleasant winters.


J&I Burgers, which used to be located in the Photo above, was a favorite below grade burger joint that I would frequent. It was right next to the subway at Yonge and St. Clair. The location now houses a Bubble Tea shop. While it is not quite the same as the PATH System, it is still an example of how Transit, and private businesses intermingle in Toronto to avoid the need to have to go outside as much as possible.

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