Hidden beneath the soaring towers of downtown Toronto, lies the PATH. The bustling underground shopping network links more than 50 office towers, and hosts around 1,200 stores — ranging from noodle bars to dry cleaners. It’s become the spot for white collars at the law firms and banks above to eat and get stuff done during the day.
If you’re summering on Bay Street right now, then you know how confusing the pathways (all 30 km of them) can be. But they provide everything a young lawyer needs to get through the day. Just ask Cindy Kou, an associate at Gowling WLG LLP. Since joining the firm three years ago, she has discovered the best places to eat, shop and unwind down there. Here are her recommendations if you’re new to the PATH.
Where to eat
For her morning latte, Kou heads to Mos Mos Coffee (either at the Commerce Court or Exchange Tower location). She also frequents Sam James Coffee Bar, in the Sun Life Tower, on some days. The latter’s cash-only.
Kou also keeps a growing list of favourite lunch spots near her office at First Canadian Place (FCP). “For a fast take-out, I’m a big fan of Olly Fresco’s food bar in the Royal Bank Plaza and Noodle Bar at FCP.”
Another top pick is Pizzeria Libretto’s three-course set menu lunch. At $16 a set, it’s among the best deals downtown. For the budget-conscious, Kou adds: “most food court places will have after-lunch-rush specials at around 3:00 to 3:30.”
Where to shop
Kou avoids shopping during work hours. But, she occasionally enjoys shoe-browsing at Nine West in FCP. It’s closed during the weekends (along with the rest of the stores in the PATH).
For men in search of suits, ties and other classic office attire, she recommends Brooks Brothers in RBC Plaza. It’s got a wide selection and frequent sales.
For a last-minute party gift, Kou is a fan of Prairie Girl Cupcakes, also in FCP. If you want to elevate your gift with a nice card or wrapping paper, she suggests visiting Papyrus. The stationary retailer has multiple locations in the PATH, including TD Centre, Scotia Plaza and Brookfield Place.
Where to run errands
Dry cleaners are everywhere in the PATH, according to Kou. (But, she recommends investing in wrinkle-free shirts to save both time and money.)
For groceries, she advises students to steer clear of high-priced grocers like McEwan in the TD Centre (which, she admits, is great for takeout food). “My all-time favourite is Longo’s,” says Kou. “It’s pretty affordable and there’s a really big store just south of Union Station in Maple Leaf Square.”
Where to chill
After a busy day of lawyering, Kou likes to unwind with a class at YYoga, outside the PATH, near Harbourfront Center. Her colleagues prefer to blow off steam at Equinox in Commerce Court West or Adelaide Club in FCP. Both are inside the PATH. (The latter boasts a full-length pool.)