In case you ain’t in the know, Toronto has a 27 km underground pathway of shops, know as “The Path”
|PATH facts: Thank you “City of Toronto”
- According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the largest underground shopping complex with 29 km (18 miles) of shopping arcades. It has 371,600 sq. metres (4 million sq. ft) of retail space. In fact, the retail space connected to PATH rivals the West Edmonton Mall in size.
- The approximate 1,200 shops and services, such as photocopy shops and shoe repairs, found in PATH, employ about 5,000 people. Once a year, businesses in PATH host the world’s largest underground sidewalk sale.
- More than 50 buildings/office towers are connected through PATH. Twenty parking garages, five subway stations, two major department stores, six major hotels, and a railway terminal are also accessible through PATH. It also provides links to some of Toronto’s major tourist and entertainment attractions such as: the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, and the CN Tower. City Hall and Metro Hall are also connected through PATH.
- There are more than 125 grade level access points and 60 decision points where a pedestrian has to decide between turning left or right, or continuing straight on. The average size of a connecting link is 20 metres (66 ft.) long by 6 metres (20 ft.) wide.
- The building furthest north on the PATH network is the Toronto Coach Terminal at Dundas and Bay Streets. The building furthest south that can be accessed through PATH is the Toronto Convention Centre’s Convention South Building. PATH does not follow the grid patterns of the streets above.
- The first underground path in Toronto originated in 1900 when the T Eaton Co. joined its main store at 178 Yonge St. and its bargain annex by tunnels. By 1917 there were five tunnels in the downtown core. With the opening of Union Station in 1927, an underground tunnel was built to connect it to the Royal York Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Royal York). The real growth of PATH began in the 1970s when a tunnel was built to connect the Richmond-Adelaide and Sheraton Centres.
- In 1987, City Council adopted the recommendation that the City become the co-ordinating agency of PATH and pay for the system-wide costs of designing a signage program.
- In 1988, design firms Gottschalk, Ash International, and Keith Muller Ltd. were retained in by the City of Toronto to apply the design concept for PATH.
- PATH’s name and logo are registered to the City of Toronto. The City co-ordinates and facilitates the directional signage, maps and identity markers throughout the system.
- Each segment of the walkway system is owned and controlled by the owner of the property through which it runs. There are about 35 corporations involved.
- In the early 1990s, signage for PATH was developed to provide pedestrians with better ease of use and functionality. The signage enhances PATH’s visibility and identity, ultimately increasing its use, attracting more people to downtown Toronto, and drawing more businesses there.
- Each letter in PATH is a different colour, each representing a direction. The P is red and represents south. The orange A directs pedestrians to the west, while the blue T directs them to the north. The H is yellow and points to the east.
- Signage includes a symbol for people with disabilities whenever there is a flight of stairs ahead.
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