PATH as leisure destination: Jeff Mandel’s Big Idea

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Name: Jeff Mandel


Issue: Public spaces: How to make Toronto a city designed for people


What’s the big idea: What if Toronto actually invested in the PATH as a leisure destination for residents and tourists alike? The PATH currently is a poorly marked, difficult to navigate network mostly used by people who work in the area. Yet when American friends of mine talk about Toronto, one of the things they ask about first is the “underground city” we supposedly have. Most are very disappointed to see the reality. By both expanding the PATH to Bloor (already happening) and then maximizing its potential by, for example, creating easy to follow colour-coded maps, more user-friendly labelling, themes for different areas, incorporation of leisure activities, motorized network transport for elderly/families, integrating with the street activities, the PATH could be one of the biggest (winter) tourist attractions in the city and a place for friends and families to hang out during our seemingly endless worsening winter season.


How will the big idea work: The idea leverages one of our most under-utilized assets, namely the PATH, as a prime tourist destination and destination for leisure activities for locals as well. “The Underground City” could attract locals and tourists alike for a weekend romp through our downtown without their jackets in the heart of winter.


How much will your big idea cost, and how would it be funded: Costs are manageable. You are mostly improving visual appeal, signage and creating an identity or theme for the different parts of the system. Big costs (for expansion) have already been earmarked. Other potential costs can be covered by local businesses that stand to benefit, plus donors/businesses that want to have an increased presence.


How will you implement your big idea: Reach out to municipal leaders, board of trade, affected merchants. Write in the Star.


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