Unlike much of the city, Toronto's financial district is compressed into a conveniently walkable area even in bad ... More
Unlike much of the city, Toronto's financial district is compressed into a conveniently walkable area even in bad weather. That's thanks to the PATH, the"underground city" covering 11 kilometers of adjoining passageways under the streets and connecting to more than 1,200 retail stores and services. If you are a little nervous about doing the trek alone, join one of the organized tours such as Silk Path Tours.
What is typically Torontonian about the PATH is that it deliberately confuses people and makes travelling between destinations quite a task. There are few signs informing travellers where to go (unlike in Montr�al, where even a non-French speaker could easily navigate due to helpful and visible directions) and the place itself offers little more than retail stores. Benches are uncomfortable and few and far between, and the place has an air of urgency about it as businesspeople constantly storm their way through. Hardly a cozy tourist destination.
If you love noisy food courts, chain retailers, and the headache of 24-hour flourescent lighting, the PATH might just be the place for you. In fact, the PATH is nothing more than a larger underground version of your typical North American mall.
Toronto is a unique and original city, boasting many world-leading showpieces such as the CN Tower, Skydome, and the very nifty Path, connecting the central business district underground, lined with shops and services. Beat the summer humidity and smog as well as the winter cold by descending and walking to most of the major attractions downtown underground. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world, so it fits right in with this city of firsts. The only drawback is that its primary customer base is the 9-5 crowd, so it's pretty much "closed" during off hours. Nonetheless, it provides a stimulating alternative to strolling at street level when you need to get from point A to point B, and it's big, covering miles and miles and hundreds of shops. Its yearly underground sidewalk sale is another world's biggest.
It also provides an interesting view of the workday. There is a different sound, pulse, vibe, for each part of the day; the fresh crisp sound in the morning as everyone bustles to start their day, generally moving in one direction northward from Union Station; the chaotic but more relaxed lunch rush, the most action-packed time of the day; the end rush, with everyone coursing southward back to the Union train station. And then there are those times in the midst of the day when people take a break from the offices above and just go for a stroll, grab a refreshing beverage or gourmet snack, sit under a fountain somewhere and read, or just watch all the people go by...and of course, the shopping is fabulous as well as competitive, depending on what you're looking for.
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