The tallest building in the western hemisphere is not just the cynosure of all eyes around the world but also an icon of Canada’s pride
Man’s obsession with conquering dizzying heights led to numerous climbs to the top of the Mount Everest. Since the trek to the world’s highest peak can deter even the seasoned mountaineers, humans satiated their quest for great heights by building skyscrapers.
One such skyscraper that towers over every other skyscraper in Canada, adorning the Toronto skyline, is CN Tower. With over 2 million visitors enjoying the scenic view of Toronto from the top of CN tower every year, it is one of the busiest tourist spots of the city. Before we delve into its history, and scale its architectural and recreational attributes, here is an overview of noteworthy features of CN Tower.
- CN Tower is the 9th tallest free-standing structure and the tallest building in the western hemisphere.
- It houses the world’s tallest metal staircase that reaches the main observational deck after 1776 steps. The staircase is off limits for public use. However, the staircase can be accessed during emergencies and charity climb events.
- From dusk till 2 am, the tower is lit with 1330 super-bright LED lights. It is a treat to see the marvelous bright structure towering over the city into the night sky.
- The CN tower is visible to the naked eye from a distance of approximately 60 km as it can be viewed from cities of Hamilton, Aurora, and Oshawa.
- From 1975-2007, CN Tower was world’s tallest free-standing structure. In 2008, Burj Khalifa dethroned CN Tower in the race of the tallest skyscraper.
- In 1995, American Society of Civil Engineers voted CN Tower as one of the modern Wonders of the World.
In 1968, Canada National Railway decided to build a TV and radio communication tower that would serve Toronto. The original height of the tower was proposed to be 980 feet. But the reflective nature of the upcoming skyscrapers around the downtown area was expected to affect the quality of broadcasting signals. After planning for around 4 years, the project finally got the green light. The 335-foot steel antenna that is used for broadcasting signals was placed on top of the tower with the help of a 10-ton helicopter. While placing one of the blocks of the antenna, the crane on the helicopter got stuck to the bolts of the block. After the helicopter being stuck to the tower for almost 35 minutes, it was finally freed with the manual effort of steelworkers. The helicopter landed safely with just 14 minutes of fuel left in the tank, and thus a major mishap was avoided.
The Tower was opened to public use on June 26, 1976. For 32 years, CN Tower held the record of tallest free-standing structure in the world before being replaced by Burj Khalifa.
The tower consists of a hollow hexagonal structure as the core, on which the seven-storeyed main pod is mounted at the height of 1108.9 feet. The hexagonal core is supported by three large legs, giving a tripod shape to the building. There are six high-speed glass elevators to take you from ground level to the main pod in just 58 seconds. The main pod has an open viewing deck and a glass floor view at 1122 feet. The tower has a sky pod at the height of 1465 feet that can be reached through the sky pod elevator from the main deck. A 335 feet antenna is attached to the structure for broadcasting TV and radio signals.
The CN Tower comprises of 3 viewing areas – open observational deck, glass floor view and the sky pod. The open observational deck and glass floor view are on the same level at a height of 1122 feet. Viewing down from that height through a glass floor is scary and breathtaking at the same time. The open observational deck is one of the highest viewing decks in the world. Standing on that deck one can truly admire the beauty of Toronto and areas around. If 1200 feet is not enough to pump your adrenaline, then hop on to the sky pod elevator and enjoy the view of the magnificent metropolis from the sky pod at 1465 feet.
The tower attracts multitudes of adventure mongers thanks to the Edgewalk facility that was started in 2011. Edgewalk is a thrilling experience of walking around the edge of the circumference of the main pod’s roof at a height of 1168 feet. To ensure the safety, participants are connected to safety suspenders, which is in turn attached to the shaft of the CN Tower. It is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk. Edgewalk is closed during winters due to heavy snowfall and inclement weather conditions.
CN Tower houses three restaurants in its premises but the 360-degree restaurant attracts most visitors due to its novel concept. The restaurant completes a revolution of 360 degrees every 72 minutes offering the complete view of Toronto from the height of over 1150 feet. The restaurant holds the Guinness Record of world’s highest wine cellar at 1151 feet. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 10:15 pm every day. Considering its popularity among tourists and locals alike, it is advisable to make prior reservations.
Timings and Fares:
- Tower view – Timings – 9 am to 10:30 pm, Ticket fare – $38
- Edgewalk – Timings – 9 am to 10:30 pm, Ticket fare – $225
If you are bitten by the adventure bug and love scaling great heights, then you would love what CN Tower has to offer. The gorgeous view of Toronto from the top of CN Tower is something that you would cherish for a long time. So, what are you waiting for? The tower beckons!
Are you looking for more places to explore in Toronto? Well, here’s a list of 13 fabulous places to check out in Toronto.