News   Feb 03, 2023
 2.3K     3 
News   Feb 03, 2023
 6.8K     0 
News   Feb 03, 2023
 6.9K     0 

Toronto PATH Retail

tripwire

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
746
Reaction score
1,065
We took the path this snowy Sunday and was glad it was opened. It was very quite - it was also nice to see some areas still had Xmas decorations up. I feel for the shops there, but I really don't think traffic will ever return to pre-pandemic stage. It'll get much better for sure, but I do feel a lot of companies are going to go for hybrid staffing.
 

AlbertC

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
19,806
Reaction score
48,767
Location
Davenport
Even though my office at Dundas & University is outside of the traditional PATH system, it was always fun to take a walk through it. There would be days where I'd take a quick subway ride a couple stops down to St. Andrew station and make a quick circuit around the PATH during my lunch break. Or check out the Queen Street Bay store after work and walk through that section of the PATH down to Union before going home. I do miss the experience, even just to take in energy of walking among the crowds of people.
 

deerparker

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
639
Reaction score
716
17C68462-C871-4AF8-87F9-1F2C53E4417C.jpeg
00FDEAD3-ED4D-43D8-A4E1-CB2E3953FA81.jpeg

Updated food court at Brookfield Place.
 

Jonny5

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
3,782
Reaction score
1,744
I was down in the PATH today for a hair cut, the part on the east side of Bay Street. It was bleak, especially because a surprising amount of shops were open, I'd estimate 75%. There was an Aroma coffee location across the way from where I got my hair cut, and from the look of boredom on the one staff member behind the counter it was as though no one had been inside it for hours. I did see one person go in and out over the 20 minutes of observation I had out the window to the hallway.

I do wonder if some stores planned re-openings for January 1 (or January 4) because that was projected to be the "Return to Work" until it wasn't but they are stuck now with product in the shop and staff on the payroll and don't know what to do other than open and hope for someone to show up.
 
Last edited:

mettle

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
124
Reaction score
18
last month, i went to a place called sultan’s grill in royal bank plaza. they had just opened. i went again the week afterward and one of the server’s asked me, “when is everybody coming back?” i said, “some banks are planning mid-january for rto.” he said, “that’s good. we had to open, we couldn’t hold it back anymore, but we also can’t go on like this.” this was a few days before omicron hit.
 

Jonny5

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
3,782
Reaction score
1,744
I had a chance to walk through some of the PATH on Thursday last week (only south of King Street) for a dentist appointment. It was still about the same 20 to 30% of the normal population walking around which I saw back in January. The increase in activity has stalled there. The food courts did have a few more businesses open, but otherwise many retail shops remained closed, or open with reduced hours. I went to take in some clothes for alterations where I always used to go and found it was open only 9-1 (and I got there at 1:20!).

It was announced where I work that the Return to Office has been pushed back slightly again to May. I'm not sure why they did that, but I've heard from friends at other businesses their planned March 1 return was also pushed back to April or May too.
 

evandyk

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
1,767
Reaction score
6,109
Location
St. Lawrence
I had a chance to walk through some of the PATH on Thursday last week (only south of King Street) for a dentist appointment. It was still about the same 20 to 30% of the normal population walking around which I saw back in January. The increase in activity has stalled there. The food courts did have a few more businesses open, but otherwise many retail shops remained closed, or open with reduced hours. I went to take in some clothes for alterations where I always used to go and found it was open only 9-1 (and I got there at 1:20!).

It was announced where I work that the Return to Office has been pushed back slightly again to May. I'm not sure why they did that, but I've heard from friends at other businesses their planned March 1 return was also pushed back to April or May too.

From Christmas until last week, it was illegal in Ontario to work in an office if you could work from home, so the towers emptied out again. Hopefully things will pick up again over the next few weeks. I will be back in one of the towers again once or twice a week soon with a bunch of my colleagues. I hope a broader return is in the works too.
 

Jonny5

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
3,782
Reaction score
1,744
I was briefly in the PATH today. and the uptick in pedestrian traffic was small but noticeable. Definitely at least 35% of normal now, and maybe as high as 40%.

I had to drop off some items at the dry cleaners to have alterations done, and I got to chat with the owner of the one I have used for the past decade. She has owned the shop for about 15 years. It is a quasi franchise, as like most in the PATH, the dry cleaning isn't actually done on site, it's all picked up in the morning and brought back in the afternoon from a central dry cleaning service provider they contract with as the storefront. She makes quite a low margin on dry cleaning, with it paying the bills only by high volume, however she said the real money maker is the alterations, specifically women's alterations, mostly because women are more willing to have clothes altered, even for small imperfections or fitting changes. The theory is their work clothes are more expensive and difficult (with a lot of time consuming shopping) to replace, so small alterations, repairs, and patches are more sensible than buying a new garment outright, and she makes a really big margin on small alterations.

Basically, she said her gross income is still only about 15 to 20% of pre-pandemic, and it's the lack of women back in the office that has done her in. She said she is at the end of the credit line now, so if there isn't a big surge in business in the immediate next few weeks she's throwing in the towel and shutting down, which is heart-breaking as she's made it so far into this mess already.

I found this interesting as the demographics of who goes back to the office will be something to monitor. Will it skew by age and by gender in one direction, and how will that impact business in the PATH? It will be a topic to follow.
 
Last edited:

Bayer

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
1,668
Reaction score
1,570
I went to my office on Thursday and walked through the food court at Scotia Plaza, which is still undergoing renovations. Only Freshii, Tim Hortons, and Marcello are open now. Some restaurants that will return are Jimmy the Greek, Villa Madina, and Thai Express. There will be a new one, Market Street Catch. Most locations have no future tenant indicated.

I had forgotten how stressful it is to just move around in this city, now that the people are coming back. The 19 Bay bus is not nearly frequent enough.
 

evandyk

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
1,767
Reaction score
6,109
Location
St. Lawrence
I was in this week and it was busier as well. From what I'm reading, the banks plan to start returning much more significant numbers of employees starting in March/April, so that should help.
 

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
7,844
Reaction score
8,196
My office building has been getting busier the last few weeks as well, which I'm selfishly annoyed by ;)
 

Jonny5

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
3,782
Reaction score
1,744
Was in the PATH again today and, if anything, there were slightly less people than my last trip.
These were all taken at about 3:30 p.m. in the Exchange Tower and First Canadian Place. It's certainly not prime time for people to be down there, but to be near totally empty was quite a sight.
There's lots of non-restaurant stores open but still running on reduced hours, like only 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

IMG_20220413_154518.jpg

IMG_20220413_154600.jpg

IMG_20220413_154511.jpg


One person did suggest to me that many people are working from home heading into the long weekend, taking advantage of that capability to do some early traveling, which I think makes sense, but that isn't enough to explain how pedestrian traffic appears to be down this much from where it was only three weeks ago.
 
Last edited:

evandyk

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
1,767
Reaction score
6,109
Location
St. Lawrence
It's running into a long weekend, but there is also a large amount of spread of covid compared to three weeks ago, so a lot of people are just staying home because of or to avoid exposure. I know I wasn't able to go in at all this week because I had a snotty toddler at home.
 

AlbertC

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
19,806
Reaction score
48,767
Location
Davenport
My office at St. Patrick station is outside of the PATH core, but from what I've been observing, rush hour on the TTC subway system looks to be running at around somewhere between 40 to 60 % of capacity depending on the day. Which is actually pretty comfortable, as in pre-pandemic it was common to be packed like sardines on subways heading into downtown.

Certain bus routes like the 29 Dufferin in my area look pretty darn busy, but that's also due to students going to school and people working in non-downtown core locations.

In terms of PATH and retail catered to downtown workers, I think we're going to see periods of various fluctuations. Summer may also be quieter period as some people take vacations or just want to take it easier and stay at home. For example, if folks are driving out of town to their cottages for the weekend or whatever.

Covid aside, I think cost of living is another factor people will need to take in account when choosing to do daily commutes and potentially spending on coffee and lunch, or just staying at home. Even more so for those who take GO transit in and out of the city, everything adds up. When you have people WFH for about 2 years then they get acclimated to that model so spending on commutes isn't just an automatic thing to get right back into. Especially with other aspects of life getting more expensive to deal with.

Overall, the landscape right now is better than what it was last year but I think the hybrid work model will be around in the medium term among at least the next couple years or so.
 

Top