Useful Information

Location: Toronto
Open: All year daily.
Fee: free
Classification: SubterraneaUnderground City
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=27,000 m.
Guided tours:
Address: PATH.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1900 first pedestrian tunnel built by the major department store T. Eaton Co. to connect three of its properties.
1917 five pathways added.
1927 the Royal York Hotel (now the Fairmont Royal York) connected to the Union Station.
1970s main construction phase.
1987 City became the co-ordinating agency of PATH.
1988 design concept for PATH by the design firms Gottschalk, Ash International, and Keith Muller Ltd..
1990s new signs for better ease of use.


The underground labyrinth below downtown Toronto is a subterranean city. It was never planned this way, it grew to a size of 1,200 businesses because of the advantages of underground structures: additional space after all above ground space is allotted, low heating cost in winter, low air condition cost in summer, and dry connection to the next building during rain. The latter was probably the idea behind the structre, which is officially called PATH. It is a series of underground walkways connecting the buildings of Toronto's financial district.

PATH started in 1900 with some privately built pedestrian tunnels, more followed. During the 1970s several hospots of activity were connected by further tunnels to form the structure we see today. The sides of the walkways were rented as shops, cafes, newspaper stands. The subterranean city grew with its shops, but also the shops grew with the walkway system, as the basements of the buildings became shops or malls with a connection to the walkways. There are cinemas, restaurants and hotels. Entertainment attractions include the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, and the CN Tower. Municipal buildings like the City Hall are also part of the system.

PATH is a system of underground walkways which is 27 kilometers long, with 371,600m² of retail space. It links more than 50 buildings, 20 parking garages, and five subway stations. It employs about 5,000 people. It is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records, and although we do not really trust them, we must admit this really seams to be the biggest underground shopping complex in the world.

Among all the superlatives and pros, there is also a big con: it is a complex and irritating maze. Although a pretty good system of colour codes and a map exist, the system is a collection of mall-like corridors, ornate bank lobbies, skyways, and dead-ends. The underground tunnels are not an exact copy of the above-ground grid, but the tunnels are identified by the names of the streets and buildings above. The result is an erratic structure which seems to have been designed by a drunken urban planner.