Deep in the bowels of downtown, safe from the gale force winds and pelting rain/slush/snow, far from the street sludge of winter and the general unpleasantness of outside, lies a path. Or wait, a PATH.
To some corporate types or commuters or general cold-haters, this is their sidewalk, their portal if you will, and they already know it connects a lot of the major business buildings and various other important locations within a 6-10 city block radius. For anyone whose seen Calgary’s above-ground version in the film Waydowntown or in real life, you may love or loathe the idea of a city connected in such a way that one can easily navigate the downtown core without ever stepping foot outside.
But for Torontoist (who feel crippled by the uninviting weather), and now you (if you weren’t already familiar with its web of possibilities and miles of visual stimulation)— the PATH is a wealth of did-you-knows that continue to shock and awe each time we use its warm underground goodness.
The PATH is great because of the LACK of chaos most of the time. Sure, during rush hour you’ll have to fight through a sea of likeminded people walking just as fast as you to get the heck away from their workplaces, but on weekends? It’s better than a library down there. Oh, and have we mentioned there’s a GIANT SHOPPING MALL down there? Well, there is. It’s not really the fashion hot spot of Toronto, but man-o-man, if you need keys cut, or weird Toronto paraphanalia, or any kind of food court food you could ever want, the PATH is where it’s at.
The PATH is more than 27 km of underground walkway. The printable map shows what we’re trying to tell, but man, it really has some good things going for it. The fact you can get from CBC to Eaton’s Centre in just over 10 minutes without going outside was the biggest selling point during last minute Christmas shopping chaos.
The PATH is not only cool because Guinness World Records says it’s the largest undeground shopping complex (apparently it rivals the West Edmonton Mall in size…really???!), but it also employs more than 5,000 poor souls that never get to see the light of day. Not only does it connect more than 50 buildings, but each segment of the walkway system is owned by the properties through which they run, and with over 35 corporations involved–that’s kinda cool. AND, just cause we’re spouting facts now, it’s colour coded for all of you directionally-challenged folk out there. Again, quite cool.
The signs for it are here, there and everywhere, but the maze can definitely be daunting. If you really need to be somewhere fast, stay outside until you figure out how to navigate your way through the labrynth of shops and services. But if you have a minute, just follow the signs, follow the crowd, and you’ll hit one subway stop after another and figure out quickly where you are vs where you’re trying to get to.