Third tallest tower in the world, the Toronto’s CN Tower is probably one of the most recognizable landmarks in Canada. Over 1.5 million people visit the CN Tower each year, and it is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It holds the record of being the tallest free standing structure in North America, as well as having the clearest reception in North America. This post is going to be all about the CN Tower… from the story behind the tower’s history to my experience going up the tower!
The CN Tower
Towering over the huge city of Toronto at 553.3 metres tall, the CN Tower was both the world’s tallest free standing structure and the world’s tallest tower for over three decades. Construction of the outstanding structure began in early 1973, and was completed in early 1976. It cost $63 million CAD to build, and it is almost perfectly vertical (off only by 2.79 cm). The CN Tower is located at 301 Front Street West, in Toronto’s entertainment district. It is surrounded by the Rogers Centre (home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team) and Ripley’s Aquarium, one of only three Ripley’s Aquariums in the world. (CN Tower from University of Toronto)
There are several ticket purchase options at the tower. General Admission allows access to the Lookout Level, the Glass Floor and the Outdoor Sky Terrace, and is $36 CAD for adults (13-64), $31 CAD for seniors (65+), and $26 CAD for children (4-12). General Admission + SkyPod allows access to the same three observation levels included in General Admission, as well as access to the tower’s SkyPod, an observation deck 100 meters higher than the decks included in General Admission alone, for $12 CAD extra. The EdgeWalk, the world’s highest and North America’s first hands free external walk on a building, 356m in the air, costs $225 CAD. EdgeWalk tickets also include a Tower Experience Ticket which includes access to everything included in the General Admission + SkyPod tickets. If you’re interested in visiting both the CN Tower and the neighbouring Ripley’s Aquarium, the SEA THE SKY combo, which is basically General Admission to both the aquarium and the tower. The SEA THE SKY Combo is $55.20 CAD for adults (13-64), $43.20 CAD for seniors (65+), and $36 CAD for children (4-12). The CN Tower’s daily hours are 8:30AM to 10:30 PM, and it is open everyday of the year, excluding Christmas.
Before getting to the elevator which takes you to the main lookout decks, you pass through a ‘mini museum’ of sorts, that brings you through the CN Tower’s story. This allows you to learn some history and trivia about the CN Tower, from a timeline of major events related to the tower to displays about the tower’s LED light system. For example, did you know that the CN Tower is actually short for Canada’s National Tower, or the Canadian National Tower? Its name comes from the company that built the tower, Canadian National.
To get the tower’s main viewing points, you must go up one of the tower’s six elevators. These elevators travel at a speed of 22 km an hour, and they bring you up to the Lookout Level in only 58 seconds. While you speed up to the top of the tower, staff members tell you a few quick facts about the tower and its elevators.
About a minute later, you will find yourself at the CN Tower’s Lookout Level, located at 346 metres. This level consists of a large, circular area with large, floor to ceiling windows that present you with a stunning view of Toronto. On a clear day, you can see out over 160 km, including views of Niagara Falls and New York State. The photo on the left is looking northwest from the CN Tower.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite a ‘clear day’ the day we visited, so the view wasn’t as amazing as it could have been. Still, it was pretty impressive though! This photo shows the view from the tower looking southwest, towards Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands.
Top Left: Looking west from the CN Tower – Gardiner Expressway (left), Canadian Pacific Railway railroad tracks (middle)
Top Right: Looking southwest from the CN Tower – Rogers Centre (centre)
Bottom Left and Right: Looking northwest from the CN Tower
On this tower level you will find one of the tower’s two restaurants in the sky, the Horizons Restaurant. The tower’s other restaurant, the 360 Restaurant, revolves 360 degrees around the tower at 350m in the air. My family was planning to have lunch at the 360 restaurant, but unfortunately we called to make a reservation a day before visiting the tower and it was booked full. If this restaurant sound at all interesting to you, definitely make a reservation at least a week ahead of time.
One level below the Lookout Level is the tower’s famous Glass Floor. The CN Tower’s Glass Floor was the first of its kind when it opened in 1994, and it is five times stronger than its required weight-bearing standard. It is made out of 23.8m of solid glass, and it is 342 meters above the ground. The Glass Floor can hold 21,835 kg, or the weight of 3.5 orcas, 380 arctic wolves, 1091 beavers, or 256,882 Blue Jays. The view down from this floor includes the Ripley’s Aquarium, the Rogers Centre. Even if you’re scared of stepping onto the glass, unlike I was, I’d definitely say to do it. There’s no way anything bad would happen to you and it is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Outdoor Sky Terrace
On the same level you’ll find the Outdoor Sky Terrace, an outdoor walkway that encompasses the tower surrounded by mesh netting. This is a great place to explore if you’re looking to get some air, as there was quite a bit of a breeze the day we visited, which I’m assuming is normal. The netting surrounding the walkway as well as the gloomy weather the day we visited obviously made it a bit difficult to take photos, but I still wanted to share a few of my favourites…
Top Left: Looking northwest from the CN Tower
Top Right: Looking northeast from the CN Tower – Roy Thompson Hall (bottom left)
Bottom Left: Looking southeast from the CN Tower – Ward Island (right)
Bottom Right: Looking south from the CN Tower – Centre Islands & Toronto Islands (centre)
Here are a couple of photos my dad took by putting my camera through the netting. I was too nervous to do it myself!
Left: Looking northeast from the CN Tower – Roy Thompson Hall (left)
Right: Looking south from the CN Tower – Harbourfront & Lake Ontario
So that was my experience visiting the CN Tower. It was my second time going up the tower (I went up it for the first time when I lived near Toronto), and I would say that I’d 100% recommend it. The ticket prices are pretty reasonable, and it was definitely a great experience. The view of Toronto from the top is amazing. If you’re only going to pay admission to visit one place in the entire city, the CN Tower is definitely that place. A trip up the CN Tower is quintessential to a trip to Toronto! (CN Tower from Kensington Market)
That’s it for my post today! I hope you enjoyed. If you’d like to read more about my adventures, follow me on my social media, which you can find on this site’s ‘About‘ page or on the right (you may have to scroll up a bit to find them). Have you ever visited the CN Tower? If so, did you go up it? If not, would you like to?
Thank you for reading 🙂