The CN Tower at 40


CN Tower in the Toronto Skyline

The CN Tower has been the crown jewel of Toronto’s skyline for the past 40 years. Even today, it is still one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.

Once the world’s tallest freestanding structure, the CN Tower stands a jaw-dropping 553.33 metres high. Visitors to Toronto will agree that the elegant, cedar-like building reigns superior over the surrounding forest of glass.

This year the structure celebrated its 40th birthday. To join in the festivities, we share our tips for when you visit this iconic structure.

History of the tower

Anyone that has been to Toronto on a holiday to Canada will know a little bit about the CN Tower. But here we guide you through some of its most impressive history.

The sun shines on the CN Tower

When did it open?

Although the last concrete was poured on February 22, 1974, the tower officially opened on 2nd October in 1976.

How long did it take to construct?

It took 40 months and 1,537 workers to construct the tower. Works on the tower were happening 24 hours a day, five days a week over the course of the 40-month period.

Topping of the Tower

Topping of the CN Tower

The last thing added to the CN Tower was the 335 foot steel broadcasting antenna.

To help erect the antenna it was first dismantled into 44 pieces, the heaviest of which weighed eight tons.

To help put the antenna up, a 10 ton Sikorsky helicopter flew to Toronto. As the helicopter lifted the pieces of antenna, workers stood on top of the tower ready to help put them into place.

How long was the tower the tallest building in the world?

The CN Tower was the 18th structure to be crowned the tallest freestanding structure in the world after the final piece of the antenna was put into place in April, 1975.

The tower held this record for a staggering 34-years.

Fun facts about the CN Tower

Lightning strikes the CN Tower

–  In 1995, the CN Tower was named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

–  The CN Tower is home to the world’s highest wine cellar.

–  It is the centre of Toronto’s telecommunications and serves more than 16 Canadian television and FM radio stations.

–  Although it is said lightning never strikes twice in the same place, BlogTO says that on average the CN Tower is hit by lightning 75 times a year. Massive grounding rods beneath the tower ensure that each lightning strike makes its way to ground.

–  Over 500 people work at the CN Tower.

–  The CN Tower can withstand an earthquake of 8.5 on the Richter scale and the upper sections of the tower can withstand winds of 260 miles per hour, according to Go Canada.

Tips for visiting the tower

Skating in front of the CN Tower

Over 1.5 million people visit the CN Tower every year. If you are planning a car hire holiday in Canada and are looking for places to visit, then Toronto and its famous tower should most definitely be on your bucket list.

Here we asked some local Torontonians and travel bloggers what their top tips are for visiting this amazing attraction.

Arrive early

Arrive early to the CN Tower

Brittany Thiessen, who has written about visiting the CN Tower on her travel blog, recommends getting there early to enjoy the amazing views.

She said, “The CN Tower is such an impressive structure and the views of the sprawling city from the top are incredible!

“My best tip that I can give to future visitors would be to arrive early in order to beat the crowds and line-ups to get on the elevators. And of course, bring a camera to capture those amazing views!

“The elevator ride to the top is fast and exciting. Once you’re at the top, make sure to stand on the iconic glass floor and then walk around the outside of the tower on the Sky Terrace.”

Take in the views

View from the top of the CN Tower

Mariellen Ward, who lives in Toronto and writes about her travels on her blog Breathe Dream Go, said that the views are worth the admission alone.

She said, “Simply going up to one of the viewing decks is well worth the price of admission. There are other things to do at the CN Tower, but let’s face it, riding a glass-enclosed elevator 346 metres up to the LookOut, or 447 metres to the SkyPod, is THE thing to do. It’s exciting to be that far up, way above all of Toronto’s skyscrapers.”

Mariellen, added, “Both the viewing platforms give you the opportunity for a 360 view of Toronto and Lake Ontario. From the higher SkyPod, you can see up to 160 kilometres on a clear day — all the way to Niagara Falls.”

Turn your trip into a fine dining experience

Fine dining experience

Carol Perehudoff, a luxury travel blogger who runs the Wandering Carol blog, says visitors should turn their visit to the CN Tower into a fine dining experience.

She said, “Even if the CN Tower is no longer the world’s highest structure, it still stands tall in the hearts of Torontonians.

“My top tip for visiting this iconic landmark would be to turn your trip into a fine-dining experience. The 360 Restaurant may offer a Canadian cheese selection, but it’s no cheesy tourist trap. I’m still salivating over the 45 day aged beef tenderloin I had while getting a revolving bird’s eye view of Toronto. Bonus: Access to the LookOut and Glass Floor levels of the tower are free with the purchase of a prix fixe meal.”

Mariellen Ward also visited the 360 Restaurant and she said, “My favourite dish was a radicchio salad with pear, figs and blue cheese. But I also loved my dessert, Maple Three Ways, which offered up small portions of maple cheesecake, maple crème brûlée and maple-pecan tart with ice cream. Yummm, Canadian-themed and so delicious.”

Walk on the edge

CN Tower Edgewalk

Breathe Dream Go’s Mariellen Ward also highly recommends going on the EdgeWalk during a visit to the CN Tower.

She said, “The EdgeWalk will test your nerves like few other tourist activities on the planet. It’s the highest outdoor walk in the world at 356 metres and was even given a Guinness Book of World Records award.”

EdgeWalk tickets allow visitors to go on a 1.5 hour experience and this includes a 20-30 minute outdoor walk on the edge of the tower!

Image Credit: Dan Sedran, Umair Khan, Brittany Thiessen, Wandering Carol, nadianb.

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