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Window to Heaven – CN Tower

The CN Tower taken from its base.


The sky, or your own fear of heights, is the limit at the CN Tower, the graceful needle that marks the distinctive Toronto skyline. Rising 553.33 meters (1,815 feet, 5 inches) toward heaven, the tower is a must-see – and must-experience – attraction for a visitor to the city along Lake Ontario.

In the days leading up to the 134th Supreme Convention, it is a popular destination for delegates and their families, who have come from around the globe for the annual Knights of Columbus meeting.

Built by Canadian National Railway, the tower was the tallest of its kind in the world when completed in 1976. Today, it still stands as the highest tower in the Western Hemisphere, and is at the center of downtown attractions that include Rogers Centre, the stadium of the Toronto Blue Jays, and an aquarium. In fact, the ball field is visible from the observation deck, offering a bird’s-eye view of the game when the Blue Jays are playing.

The tower also offers a variety of sights and adventures to visitors. The main view is from the observation deck, which rests 1,136 feet from the base and is reached in 58 seconds by high-speed elevators. From here, all of downtown Toronto is visible, as well as the scenic lake, harbor and islands. A short stairway down is another deck that includes the glass floor, a series of well-secured, 2.5-inch thick, heavy-duty glass panels that visitors can walk on while looking directly down to the street. Those with fear of heights can be seen clinging to the walls and banisters, while braver visitors walk freely on the glass, posing for photos, and even taking selfies as they lie on the glass floor. No need to fear, though; signs report that the glass can hold up to 48,138 lbs., the equivalent of 3.5 Orca whales or 41 polar bears (if there happen to be any lurking around). That translates into about 250 average-weight humans at one time, so it’s safe to assume that no one has fallen through the glass since it was installed in 1994.

At this level, there is also the 360 Restaurant, offering a breathtaking view to diners.

A bird's-eye view of a baseball game is visible through the glass floor of the CN Tower.

The highest observation point is a short elevator ride up another 33 stories to the Sky Pod – 447 meters (1,465 feet) or 147 stories high, which sits atop the slim, concrete structure. Above is a 102-foot steel antenna that broadcasts transmissions from dozens of local TV and radio stations.

Finally, for the most daring visitors, there is the Edge Walk, which is described as “the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk on a 5-foot (1.5-meter) wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod.”

Sounds safe enough, until you actually see the jump-suited individuals, harnessed to a railing, stepping on the ledge and leaning out to the open air, nothing above or below them.

Legal-minded Americans may wonder what kind of waiver of liability the Edge Walkers must sign, but the hearty souls reaching to heaven seem to give little mind to danger, as they embrace life in the sky.