A very convenient underground location which provides residents, local visitors, and tourist alike with a safe haven from the winter cold and snow, and the summer heat. Comfortable in the sense that you can do your shopping spree in this largest underground shopping complex with 16 miles of shopping arcades. There are approximately fifty office towers, twenty parking garages, five subway stations, two huge department stores, six major hotels, and a railway terminal station that is accessible through P.A.T.H. If you enjoy theatre and concerts, or you are a sports enthusiast, then this is the place you should not miss as it has links to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, and Rogers Centre. To top it all, the P.A.T.H. is connected to tourist attractions like the CN Tower, City Hall, Metro Hall, Convention Centre to name a few. The P.A.T.H. is the place whether you are visiting a client, shopping for gifts and souvenirs, to see a movie, or just catching a subway train. Just follow the P.A.T.H. sign and you will find your way!
We go to Toronto at all times of the year and sometimes it's really cold. The winter winds in the skyscraper canyons of downtown can be brutal at times so if there is a protected shortcut available you "go for it". Our favorite is an architectural and totally secular cathedral...BCE Place. The building is actually several impressive towers but what caught our attention was the incredible 380 foot long 85 foot high atrium that connects Bay Street to Yonge Street. It is without a doubt one of the most spectacular interior spaces I have ever seen.
As you may have surmised from my introduction, however, my travels to Toronto have generally been pretty non-directed. As a result, discovering this wonderful building was really happenstance...a warm shortcut on a cold day. It wasn't until later that I discovered that it was designed by one of my favorite architects, Santiago Calatrava. It was at that point that the "ah-ha" light went on in my head with a bit of embarrassment.
PATH, Toronto's underground city, is a labyrinth of shops & services that link parts of downtown Toronto together, specifically the financial district & Eaton Centre. Though it is still not complete, the PATH is now 27 km long & streches over an area of six to ten city blocks.
PATH was built to let Torontonians have a viable alternative to the freezing weather outside. By providing a link to major Office towers & subway stations, people could get to work in a comfortable enclosed environment. Undoubtely, retail oppurtunities were sought once the flow of pedestrians
PATH is actually in the Guiness Book of Records for largest underground shopping complex. With over 361 700 square feet of retailing space, it rivals the world's largest shopping centre, West Edmonton Mall.
Notable attractions connected to path include Roy Thomson Hall, City Hall, Toronto Convention Centre (through Skywalk), CBC broadcast building & the Hockey Hall of Fame. Air Canada Centre, the CN Tower & Skydome are also connected to PATH, though there is an outdoor walkway.
Skyscrapers connected to PATH include the Toronto-Dominion Centre, First Canadian Place, BCE place, HSBC building, Royal Trust Tower, Exchange Tower, Commerce Court, Scotia Plaza, Royal Bank Plaza, & Ernst & Young tower.
Hotels connected to PATH include Royal York Hotel, Sheraton Centre Hotel, Mariott @ Eaton Centre & the Toronto Hilton.
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.
Usually, PATH is really quiet on the weekends, for most of the shops are closed & the daily commuters to work are not here. Walking from one end of PATH to the other takes around 40 minutes to a hour.
Click here for a map of Toronto's Path System (PDF file).
The Toronto Dominion Centre dominates the Toronto skyline despite the fact that it is not the tallest office complex in Toronto. It is the largest however if you measure by cubic feet. I think what I like about the TD Centre is that they have such large open spaces surrounding the several office towers. Here you can see "The Pasture" by Joe Fafard which is located in the Quadrangle. This is an excellent place for office workers to relax during lunch. On top of that it is an interesting piece of art consisting of seven bronze statues of cows.
The TD Centre was the first of the new office towers that began to dominate the Toronto skyline in 1967. It marks the beginnings of Toronto's underground shopping pathway known at P.A.T.H.
While wandering through the Downtown Core of Toronto you definitely have to visit the astonishing Galleria of BCE Place. This is one of the more stunning open spaces in all of Toronto with high buttresses soaring 85 feet overhead. The place seems more like a cathedral than a commercial office complex. The Galleria was designed by Santiago Caltrava and actually serves to connect to two main office towers of the complex. Also of interest with BCE Place is the manner in which they incorporated the facades of several 1850's building into the design of the overall structure. It has been superbly done.
BCE Place is also the home of The Hockey Hall of Fame. Besides that there are several very good restaurants and shops that will make your visit worthwhile.
The Financial District is the home of the skyscrapers of Toronto. At 298m, the First Canadian Place (white tower in the photo) is the tallest office tower, occupying the NW corner of King and Bay. It's the headquarter of the Bank of Montreal. CIBC, Scotia Bank and TD Bank all have their head office at the other corners.
The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is just a quick walk from this corner. You can go inside the TSX Broadcast Centre to see exhibits and the media at work.
The following website contains a description and a map of the latest underground walkway (PATH) beneath the financial district. If you get lost (which is very likely especially if you're a first-timer), the easiest solution is find the nearest escalator and go back up to the street level.
Stroll around the Financial District of Toronto with the tallest buildings in the country. There are more than 40 international banks and the second largest stock exchange in North America (TSE).
Moreover the area offers the worlds largest underground concourse for shopping.
The best way to get to know Toronto is to explore the downtown area on foot. Most of the attractions in Toronto are concentrated in this area and they are relatively close together. Of course you can buy a daypass and go around downtown by taking street cars too.
Toronto downtown has a mix of old and new architectures. There are many modern skyscappers that are belong to big banks, insurance companies, telecom companies etc. However you may also find many historical buildings, such as churches, hotels, theaters... Walk around and you will definitely find something that would interest you.
Toronto is Canada's premier financial centre and, for this reason, the financial district of the core is quite an impressive area - if you're into mirrored glass structures. The recent upswing in the Canadian economy and, particularly, the importance of the financial sector, has meant that more and more impressive buildings will be going up in the near future. This is only compounded by the boom in luxury residential/commercial buildings, which has added a few more exhorbitantly priced structures to Toronto's skyline. Unfortunately, you cannot enter and visit most of the buildings - then again, most of the interiors are just offices and the like - but those who are interested in the architecture of the financial core should definitely visit Brookfield Place (30 Yonge Street). Formerly BCE (Bell Canada Entreprises) Place, the atrium is quite impressive and designed specifically to impress tourists and business visitors alike. The financial district buildings are connected to one another, Union Station, the Eaton Centre, City Hall and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre through the PATH system. PATH is an underground tunnel and shopping complex that makes life incredibly easier in the winter, when -20 degree weather combines with the wind tunnel effect to make the financial district feel like it has been immersed in liquid nitrogen. Be foreworned, though - even Torontonians get lost (frequently) in the underground maze.
This is one of the more interesting aspects of downtown. If the weather outside is frightful, you can get to many key areas by walking around in what is for all intents and purposes, a huge underground mall. As you can see in my pictures, there are signs from time to time directing you to the major buildings in the financial district, and there are maps along the walls to help you find your way. The areas in between are like mini-malls - you'll have restaurants, clothing stores, drug stores, etc. lining the pathways. Even if you aren't shopping, this is a great way to get from one place to another without being exposed to the elements.
When I worked here I was amazed at how many tourists I saw wandering in a daze. Especially underground on the weekend. Unless you're from the country and have never seen fifty-story towers before, there is nothing to see here. It is close to a lot of other stuff that is worth seeing, but please, don't waste your time here. Toronto is filled with wonderful neighbourhoods that showcase cultures from around the world. Some are easy to find, others not so much. I have listed a few of them here. Please leave the Financial District at once and go to one of them.
This is one of the favorite parts for me to walk around with my camera. There are so many glass buildings in this area that 'mirror' perfectly. Hahaha, I always end up taking lots of photos is this area of Toronto.