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Exploring Toronto’s PATH

My university had one – an extensive underground walkway that connected all the buildings on campus so there was little need to go outside on those bone-chilling cold days. We called ours the tunnel.

Toronto's Path

The PATH

On a recent trip to Toronto, I discovered a similar underground walkway in the downtown area. Known as the Toronto PATH or simply the PATH, at 19 miles, this network of subterranean pathways vastly surpasses my former school’s tunnel.

Its main artery runs along Yonge and Bay Streets, as far north as the Toronto Coach Terminal on Dundas Street and south to Queen’s Quay. This conduit, through which 200,000 people pass daily, connects retail, business, entertainment and public transportation hubs. Add visitors and residents and the number rises.

The PATH’s impressive 4 million square feet of retail space earned it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest underground shopping complex.

Toronto's PATH

The PATH, TD Centre Food Hall

Each letter in the PATH’s four color logo is a directional code pointing you south (red P), west (orange A), north (blue T) and east (yellow H). In addition, there are other signs to office buildings and major centers.

To me, the PATH is ambitious and intimidating — ambitious because of Matthew Lawson’s vision. Lawson, the 1960s city planner, was able to get a few developers to buy into the idea of including underground shopping in their complexes. This expanded the original and limited 1900s underground walkway that connected Eaton’s department stores, and the newer Union Station to the Royal York Hotel leg.

The PATH Map

The Map

Intimidating, because it is so extensive – I felt like I was walking a maze. Despite finding my way from my office to the hotel the first day, the next morning when I tried to reverse my route, I got turned around several times. I realized only when I found myself in the same spot I had been a few minutes earlier. After the third time, I gave up in frustration and headed to the closest exit, even though it was raining.

As soon as I got outside, I oriented myself by looking for a familiar building and was in my office a few minutes later. I’m not one to give up easily and felt a delightful sense of accomplishment the next morning when I didn’t get lost.  

Some PATH Stats:

  • 1 railway terminal
  • 2 major department stores
  • 2 major shopping centers
  • 5 subway stations
  • 6 major hotels
  • 20 parking garages
  • 50+ buildings and office towers

Have you explored Toronto’s PATH?

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday that Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes.
Click the link to view other photos from around the world.

 

Toronto: Revisiting a Favorite Haunt

Even though I’ve visited Toronto countless times, I always look forward to each new trip. So when I found out that this favorite haunt was in my work future, just the thought of traveling there made returning to the nine-to-five world attractive. I couldn’t wait to start so I could get on the plane.

In addition to seeing family and friends, I’d be staying downtown – something I hadn’t done since my days at university when I’d crash at my aunt’s and roam the city for hours. I had done that so often, I felt I knew that part of Toronto like the back of my hand.

Time has changed the entire downtown façade now and nothing is how I remember it but I was eager to see if I could find something that I recognized, something I could share with my aunt, who returned to live in the UK more than 20 years ago.

Toronto: Revisiting a Favorite Haunt

My suite at 1 King West

Unfortunately, the trip that I envisioned did not materialize. I’ll tell you why: the weather. The temperature went up and down about as often as the elevator in my hotel. When they started talking snow, I was ready to pack my bags for someplace warm. Believe me, I was not happy.

The bright spot during the trip was my hotel, 1 King West. Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, it is close to my office, the Eaton Center, the Bay and Yonge-Dundas Square. And from my suite on the 31st floor, I had an unobstructed panoramic view of the city.

I saw the sun as it broke the horizon in the mornings painting the sky streaks of red, then in the evenings as it slipped quietly away, giving space to millions of beads of streetlights and headlights to try to match its luminosity.

I spent the first few evenings just looking at the sunset. When I finally made it to the Eaton Center, Toronto’s largest mall, I was so overwhelmed by its 330 stores, I wanted everything and nothing. Nothing jumped out at me and I walked out without buying a pin.

Realizing the mood I was in, I gave up and followed the signs to the extensive food court on the lower level and let my nose take over. I settled for an Indian dish of chicken curry that actually sounded and had a better aroma than taste. But get this, they served it on real plates! I opted for real silverware too. Plastic is also available. Unfortunately, most of my meal went into the garbage. 

As I walked back to the hotel, I tried to remember Yonge Street as it was during my early visits. Except for the name, I could have been in any city anywhere. I should take some photos for Auntie, I thought. But where would I start?

Further Reading:

[simpleazon-image align=”none” asin=”1492971502″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ol9fZp9eL._SL160_.jpg” width=”107″]

Linking up this week with Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.

 

Our 3rd Blogiversary – in 3 Takes, Take II

In the Take I on InsideJourneys’ 3rd blogiversary, we looked back at the trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, that inspired me to start blogging. The year following that momentous trip, I visited London, Paris and Toronto.

Here are some of the photos I took:

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

London Eye

Usually, I stay clear of tourist traps but on this, my third trip to London, I decided to do some touristy things, like stand on line to see the London Eye. It had been calling out to me all during the week and that first weekend, I stopped ignoring its pull.

The lines were long but moved pretty quickly – about 45 minutes from the time I joined to the time I climbed aboard one of the pods. The ride took less time, about 30 minutes, but unparalleled views like this makes the wait definitely worthwhile.

3rd Blogiversary

Parliament from the London Eye

The other touristy thing I did in London  during this visit was seek out fish and chips. Okay, so it wasn’t wrapped in newspaper but it still counts. My opinion: do it once and you’re done.

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Fish and Chips

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

The Circus

As soon as I booked my ticket to London, I bought a ticket to visit Stonehenge. Besides meeting my new nephew, it was to be the highlight of my trip — and all I could think about for weeks before I left.

Bath Houses, Bath

Houses, Bath

I wanted to have a good view of the English countryside so I was one of the first to get on the bus when it arrived and took the seat behind the driver. Our first stop was the historic town of Bath where I got these photos.

The Circus as well as these apartments in the second photo were designed by John Wood, the Elder (to distinguish him from his son). The Circus is actually three buildings, which all together form a circle.

For anyone interested in architecture, especially Georgian architecture, a trip to Bath is a must.

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Avon River, Bath

After leaving Bath, we had time to walk around the town. I was taking photos one after the other without really looking to see how well they turned out. I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded them and saw how beautiful this shot is.

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

King Johns Hunting Lodge

We stopped for steak and kidney at the George Inn in Lacock where this bicycle caught my eye.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed when I saw Stonehenge. Over the years, I’d built up such a huge mythology from my readings and the documentaries I had watched on television that I felt a bit let down when I got there. I mean, it’s just a bunch of stones, right? And at first, they looked smaller than I had imagined. But if you look at the second photo, you’ll see that they’re not.

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

There’s certainly nothing small about moving these gigantic rocks and setting them into place. And I’m still awed by them. Now that I’ve been, I’d like to go back for one of the solstice festivals. I’d also like to visit Avebury, which our tour guide recommended, but I didn’t have time because I was heading home the following day.

The lines at the Louvre almost made me turn around. But I’m an art lover and any art lover worth their salt cannot pass up an opportunity to visit the Mecca of art in Paris. I could visit this museum everyday for a year and still not see it all.

3rd Blogiversary

The Pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre

The Louvre escalator

The escalator to the underground lobby

I did the usual touristy things in Paris, including climbing the Eiffel Tower. Now, that’s an amazing piece of architecture and huge! Definitely larger than I expected. I was impressed.

Eiffel Tower from bus

Eiffel Tower

 

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Eiffel Tower

3rd Blogiversary

View from the Eiffel Tower

I don’t visit Toronto nearly as often as I should and maybe because of that, I’m continually surprised by how rich and diverse the city is.

Toronto building

Toronto building

On this particular visit, I remembered what I love – the public art – on buildings, on sidewalks, in unexpected places. It was like visiting a museum, I felt soothed.

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Public art from Toronto’s streets

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Toronto street art

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Toronto Street art

That’s it for Take II of my 3rd Blogiversary. Hope you’ll stop by for Take III, which will be all about Jamaica.

Enjoy!