The PATH network is an integral part of the City of Toronto’s downtown core. The Northwest PATH (NW PATH) aims to extend the network to better service projected future growth. The project has been evaluated through the development of a Class C Environmental Assessment (EA) Addendum that has focused on the following:

  • Providing a connection to the northwest core that relieves congestion in the existing PATH network and surface congestion around Union Station
  • Improving connections to destinations
  • Reducing pedestrian travel times
  • Supporting future growth

The Notice of Completion has been filed for the Environmental Assessment Addendum and is currently under a 30 day public review.

  • 2008: EA completed for the construction of the NW PATH tunnel from Union Station, under Front Street, travelling north along York Street to Wellington Street.
  • 2015: Phase 1 of NW PATH extension officially opens. Due to construction complexity and escalating costs, City Council suspends construction of Phase 2, directing staff to consider alternative alignments for a more cost effective solution, requiring an Addendum to the original EA.
  • 2017-18: NW PATH EA Addendum begins in January 2017 and will continue through 2018.
  • July 23, 2018: Council approves submission of EA Addendum to MOECP.

Next Steps

With Council approval, following  a 30 day public review, the Class EA Addendum will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) before moving to final design and construction procurement. Construction is forecasted to start in 2021.

As part of the EA Addendum, the City has completed a comparative evaluation of four alternative NW PATH alignments that are illustrated in Figure 4 and described below.

Map showing the four alignment options for the extension of the northwest PATH.
FIGURE 4: NW PATH Alignment Options


Four alternative NW PATH alignments were considered:

  • Alignment 1/York Street is the 2008 EA approved York Street alignment. It connects through the north side of the existing tunnel at the corner of University Avenue and Front Street, and continues north under York Street to connect into the PATH concourse at 100 Wellington Street West.
  • Alignment 2/Front Street branches off to the west of the existing NW PATH Phase 1 tunnel, crossing over the TTC subway structure, and running west under the north-side of Front Street. It connects into a new development at 160 Front Street West.
  • Alignment 3/Building Alignment branches to the east of the existing NW PATH Phase 1 tunnel entering the Royal York Hotel concourse level. It turns north creating a new PATH tunnel connection across Piper Street to connect into 95 Wellington Street.
  • Alignment 4/University (Parking Lot) branches off to the west of the existing NW PATH Phase 1 tunnel, crosses over the TTC subway, and then heads north underneath University Avenue through a partially repurposed underground parking lot. The alignment connects to the existing PATH network at 55 University Avenue.

As part of the EA Addendum process, the City of Toronto’s dynamic microsimulation pedestrian model of Union Station (see Figure 5), the PATH system, and the local street network was updated and expanded to include the four alternative NW PATH alignments.

Image showing the flow of pedestrian traffic around the York side of Union Station during the morning rush.
Figure 5 – A snapshot of the Union Station and surrounding area AM-peak hour pedestrian microsimulation model


The pedestrian model provides an understanding of pedestrian movements in the area and tests the alignments from a capacity and user amenity perspective. The model provides information considered in the evaluation of alternative alignments including passenger use and flow capacity for each alignment, congestion for passengers using each route, and journey cost. Network-level analysis has also been undertaken to determine the number of jobs that can be accessed using the PATH system (see Figure 6). All four options provide pedestrian amenity benefits and help to reduce projected pedestrian congestion at key surface intersections north of Union Station.

Map showing the number of jobs that can be accessed using the PATH system.
FIGURE 6: Representation of job catchment area for each alignment


The following summarizes the pedestrian analysis:

  • Alignment 1/York Street provides a high number of projected peak hour movements northbound from Union Station due to its central alignment and provides some additional connectivity to jobs.
  • Alignment 2/Front Street provides modest projected peak hour movements but unlocks additional network to the west of the City.
  • Alignment 3/Building Alignment provides the lowest direct number of projected peak hour movements and limited network accessibility, but does make some employment areas more accessible in a short walk from Union Station.
  • Alignment 4/University (Parking Lot) provides similar northbound projected peak hour movements to Alignment 1 and includes additional southbound movements, as well as significant access to jobs to the north of the City. In this sense, Alignment 4 provides the highest range of benefits from a pedestrian perspective.

Consultation is integral to the environmental assessment process and to the evaluation of the alignment options. Input from the public is key in identifying a recommended preferred alignment.

To date, the NW PATH consultation has included:

  • Meetings with impacted landowners;
  • Public Information Centres;
  • Third-party stakeholders, groups and partners
  • three pop-up information centres held at Union Station, in the PATH at Royal Bank Plaza and in the PATH at Metro Centre.

The Online Feedback Survey is now closed. All input received during consultation will be considered and included along with the technical work in the EA Addendum.

City staff have completed an Environmental Assessment Addendum with the objective of updating the original 2008 study to validate whether the original study findings (a tunnel underneath York Street) is still the optimal solution for completing the project.

Following consultation with the indigenous community, local landowners, community groups, Toronto Transit Commission, and Toronto Parking Authority, as well as City Divisions and the public, the Addendum finds that an alternative route that connects the existing Phase 1 North West PATH tunnel to 55 University Avenue underneath University Avenue will result in:

  • an improved user experience;
  • best peak-hour pedestrian service to support transit growth;
  • completion of missing north-south connections;
  • excellent connections to jobs; and
  • flexibility to provide additional connections to the west.

View the reports:

To provide comments, ask questions or to access to the full report and Appendicies, please contact:

Matt Klowak | Project Manager, Civic Projects 

Consultation Dates: Nov 1 to Nov 30, 2018

If concerns arise regarding the Class EA Addendum that cannot be resolved through discussions with the City of Toronto, a person/party may request that the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks make an order for the project to comply with Part II of the Environmental Assessment Act. As of July 1, 2018, a Part II Order Request Form must be used to request a Part II Order. The Part II Order Request Form is available on the Forms Repository website by searching “Part II Order” or “012-2206E” (the form ID number). The request must be received by the Minister by December 14, 2018, with copies sent to the Director, the Clerk and the Project Manager at the addresses indicated below. If there are no Part II Order requests received by this date, the City of Toronto may proceed with design and construction of the project.

The NW PATH EA Addendum maintains as much consistency as possible with the original 2008 EA in terms of the evaluation criteria used to compare alignments, while also updating technical assumptions, considerations, and costing, to reflect the changing local context in the last 10 years. The criteria used to assess the alignments both quantitatively (i.e., engineering investigation, pedestrian modelling, and costing) and qualitatively (i.e. policy fit) evaluates the alignments through an evaluation matrix.

Table 1 lists the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative alignment. For more detailed information on the evaluation of each alternative, please review the evaluation matrix.

Table 1. Advantages and disadvantages of each of the four alternative alignments.


Advantages Disadvantages
Alignment #1/York Street
  • No escalator or elevator needed
  • Strong pedestrian demand for new tunnel
  • Most expensive option
  • Requires temporary lane closures on Front Street and York Street
  • Longest length of utility conflicts (i.e., sewer, hydro, gas, etc.) of all alignments (1,450 m); tied with Alignment #2 for the most major utility conflicts (six in total).
  • Requires reconstruction of TTC streetcar tracks on Wellington
  • No retail opportunities
  • Requires foundation support for the Toronto Club
Alignment #2/Front Street
  • Least impact to existing buildings
  • Direct connection to the western PATH network
  • Excellent connection to jobs
  • No escalator or elevator needed
  • 2nd longest length of utility conflicts (1,047 m); tied with Alignment #1 for the most major utility conflicts (six in total).
  • Highly disruptive cut-and-cover surface construction on major roads, requiring temporary lane closures on University Avenue & Front Street
  • Retail space very difficult and expensive to construct
  • Very long tunnel with little animation opportunities
Alignment #3/Building Alignment
  • Lowest cost option
  • Good pedestrian animation
  • Fewest construction impacts at surface
  • Minimal heavy construction and utility disruptions to road users – shortest length of utility conflicts of all alignments (148 m), and only one major conflict.
  • Does not provide a new PATH connection and offers inadequate service to the existing PATH network and north-west core
  • Requires elevator and/or escalator
  • Significant disruption and modification to the existing buildings
  • Narrow route in places (3.2 m width) may impact pedestrian flows
  • Requires reconstruction of TTC streetcar tracks on Wellington
  • Requires agreements with multiple landowners
Alignment #4/University (Parking Lot)
  • Best balance of performance and cost
  • Widest & tallest tunnel
  • Provides strong pedestrian connectivity and animation opportunities
  • Strong pedestrian demand for new tunnel
  • Direct north and west PATH network connections
  • New city-owned retail opportunities (approximately 4,300 sq. ft.)
  • Excellent connection to jobs
  • New elevator makes parking lot barrier-free (AODA compliant)
  • Requires temporary lane closures on University Avenue.
  • Extension connects to both levels of the existing underground parking lot that will continue to operate, but it reduces lot capacity by approximately 185 parking spaces Structural rehabilitation and modification of parking lot required
  • Moderate utility conflicts – 3rd for length of conflicts (580 m) and four major conflicts.


Figure 4

Map showing the four alignment options for the extension of the northwest PATH.
FIGURE 4: NW PATH Alignment Options


Minimizing the disruption to those who use the PATH, travel the surface routes, live, and work in the area is important to the City. Where possible, construction will occur in existing underground structures or under decking to reduce surface disruption and all construction will be coordinated with any other major downtown infrastructure work that is planned.

Through an online survey, which is now closed, the City asked for public input on the evaluation, recommended alignment, and any potential concerns you have regarding construction.