It isn’t hard, when you are in downtown Toronto’s underground PATH network of connected tunnels, to imagine that you are inside a gigantic spaceship. The environment is utterly unnatural, every surface synthetic. Weather doesn’t exist. Public space is designed for cleaning machines, not the littering, spilling crew of workers and shoppers. There’s a hardness about everything, because the public cannot be trusted with soft things. Tile, terrazzo, polished steel, concrete, stone and plastic. Nothing flammable or sharp, either.
The best parts of the PATH are the newest ones, because they emerge from the subterranean engine rooms of commerce, allowing views to the outside world and sunlight. Head south of Union Station and over the Skywalk. Construction is ongoing, but someone washed the windows within the last month.
Here’s a view looking West, of the rails that feed Union Station.
And now, looking East …
Above is the side-spur route to the new Delta Hotel.
I followed it to reception space in front of Delta’s conference halls. Lots of big windows affording wide views to the dome, the CN Tower, aquarium, etc.
Lots of big windows affording wide views to the dome, the CN Tower, aquarium, etc.
It’s the best we can do at present, but it’s humbling to realize how far short our artificial environments fall, compared with outdoor parks. On all but the most inclement days, outdoors beats the spaceship interior easily.