World Travel GuidesCN Tower, Toronto, Canada

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Toronto skyline with CN Tower
Leonard G., Jeangagnon, Admrboltz

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
Wladyslaw (Free Art License)

CN Tower was once the tallest free-standing structure on land. It is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was erected as a communications and tourist tower. The CN Tower consists of a main hexagonal hollow pillar of concrete containing the elevators, stairwells and power and plumbing connections. To the main pillar are attached the broadcast antenna and the two main visitors area: lower down is a seven-storey Main Level at 330 m (1,100ft) while higher up, the Sky Pod (formerly called the Space Deck) at 447 m (1,465ft), just below the antenna. (Confusingly SkyPod was the name given to the seven-storey Main Level, but now refers to the Space Deck.) The main pillar has three supporting legs giving it the appearance of a camera tripod.

Some floors of the Main Level is open to the public. At 342 m (1,122ft) is the Glass Floor and Outdoor Observation Deck. The Glass Floor consists of thermal glass units that are 64mm (2 1/2in) thick.

The floor has an area of 24sq metre and can withstand a pressure of 600psi. At 346m (1,136ft) is the Horizons Cafe and Look Out level. There is a rotating restaurant at 351m (1,150ft) called the 360 Restaurant. It makes a full rotation every 72 minutes. Below the Main Level is the tower's microwave receiver shaped like a big white donut.

The Sky Pod is presently the highest observation deck in the world. From here, you can see 100-120 km (60-75mi) away, to the city of Rochester across Lake Ontario in the US, and see the mist rising from Niagara Falls.

The CN Tower has the tallest metal staircase in thw world. At the 1776th step, the staircase reaches the Main Level. It reaches the Sky Pod at the 2,579th step. The staircase is intended only for emergency use, and is not open to the public outside three times a year during the charity stair-climbing events.

The CN Tower was built by the Canadian National Railway Company, and the CN originally refers to "Canadian National". It was built on former railway land which the railway company had planned for a development called Metro Centre.

Two years into construction of the tower however, the Metro Centre development was scrapped, so when CN Tower was completed, it stood isolated. A few decades would pass before the "wasteland" below the tower was developed.

Today new additions including the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the SkyDome (called the Rogers Centre since 2005). In 1995, the railway company sold off the tower before going public.

Since it is no longer owned by the railway company, the CN abbreviation is now expanded to mean Canada's National Tower, a name not commonly used. Nevertheless, the locals as well as foreign visitors popularly call it the CN Tower.

The CN Tower was constructed when Toronto was experiencing an economic boom. Indeed the Canadian National Railway had planned it to demonstrate the strength of Canadian industries, and CN in particular.

Main pod of CN Tower
Taxiarchos228 (Free Art License)

The late 1960s and early 1970s was a particularly prosperous time for Toronto, which see a sprout of large skyscrapers. This cause some difficulties in boardcasting to the downtown area, due to reflections from these tall buildings. The solution is to raise the antenna above all these buildings. At that time, most data communications use point-to-point microwave links that require line-of-sight links. The new skyscrapers obstruct such communications.

By constructing this super tall tower, the CN Railway company can rent "hub" space for microwave links, as it will be visible from almost any building in the Toronto area.

Observation deck of CN Tower

Construction of the CN Tower began on 6 February, 1973. It topped off on 2 April, 1975, after 26 months of construction. It was opened to the public on 26 June, 1976, and had its official opening ceremony on 1 October, 1975.

Visiting CN Tower

The CN Tower is opened from 9:00am -10:00pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 9:00am - 10:30pm Fridays and Saturdays.

Admission Details

Tickets for adults, quoted in Canadian dollars are:
  • Observation Experience: Look Out + Glass Floor: $21.49
  • Observation Sky Pod Experience: Look Out + Glass Floor + Sky Pod: $25.99
  • Total Experience: Look Out + Glass Floor + Sky Pod + Movie + Motion Theater: $31.99

    Night view of CN Tower

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