Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
PATH is a 27 kilometer long network of pedestrian tunnels beneath downtown Toronto. Unlike Montreal's Underground City, Toronto's system uses an integrated system of signage that makes navigation (somewhat) easier.
The PATH network's northerly point is the Toronto Coach Terminal at Dundas and Bay Streets, while its southerly point is the Toronto Convention Centre 's Convention South Building. Its main axes of walkways generally parallel Yonge Street and Bay Street.
The system began under city planner Matthew Lawson in the 1960s. Toronto's downtown sidewalks were overly crowded and the new office towers were removing the much needed small businesses from the streets. Lawson thus convinced several important developers to construct underground malls pledging that they would eventually be linked. The city originally helped fund the construction, but with the election of the reformists, who disliked the underground system, this ended. However the system continued to grow as each developer bowed to the tenant's wishes and connected their buildings to the system.
This system of growth made the system quite anarchic as there was no central organization. The greatest problem was that for the unexperienced, the system was almost impossible to navigate. Thus wayfinding expert Paul Arthur was brought in who introduced a series of signs and maps. These aids were introduced in 1993, as was the name PATH.
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