This 1,815-ft (1,553-m) high engineering marvel has been classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. In the 1970s, the railway conglomerate Canadian National Railway (CN), in consultation with local broadcasters, decided to build a new transmission mast to meet Toronto’s growing telecommunications needs and to demonstrate its pride in the city. Upon its opening, the tower so impressed visitors that it soon became one of Canada’s principal tourist attractions. Its revolving restaurant is renowned for both its food and wine, and its spectacular views.
The Lookout Level enables visitors to look out across Toronto. Actually built over several levels, the upper tier has a cafe and a photo shop.
One level below, visitors can feel the wind at 113 stories up, peer straight down through the glass floor or dine in the revolving restaurant Thirty-three stories above the lookout, the Sky Pod is higher than many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, even though it is not the top of the CN Tower. With an impressive 360-degree view of Toronto and Lake Ontario, on a clear day visitors can see as far as Niagara Falls from this observation deck.
Construction of the tower began in 1973, took about 40 months to complete, and cost around CA$63 million. A 75,000 sq-ft (6,968 sq-m) entertainment expansion and renovation was completed in 1998 at a cost of CA$26 million The tower has six elevators, which travel at 15 mph (24 km/h) and reach the Lookout Level at 1,136 ft (346 m) in 58 seconds; a separate elevator takes visitors 329ft (101m) higher to the Sky Pod. The tower is flexible, and in winds of 120 mph (195 km/h), the Sky Pod can sway 18 inches (0.48 m) from the center. Every year, about 2 million people visit the tower.
THE WORLD’S TALLEST BUILDINGS
When assessing a structure for its ranking in the Tallest Buildings in the World list, the international organization the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which sets the criteria for defining and measuring tall buildings, includes only those where at least 50 percent of the height is occupied by useable floor area. It also only measures a building’s architectural height and excludes broadcasting aerials and masts. The CN Tower does not meet these criteria, and so it is categorized as a freestanding structure. The tower was the world’s tallest freestanding structure from 1975 until 2007, when its height was surpassed by the 2,717-ft (828-m) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which currently tops the CTBUH’s Tallest Buildings in the World list, and the Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower in China, which is 2,000 ft (610 m) high.
The ground is more than 1,122 ft (342m) below this thick layer of reinforced glass, made from 256 sq ft (24 sq m) of solid glass that is five times stronger than the weight-bearing standard for commercial floors.
The tower from Lake Ontario
View of Toronto from the Lookout Level
At 1,136 ft (346m) above the city, this level provides panoramas of Toronto, Lake Ontario, and the surrounding area. Visibility can stretch to just under 100 miles (160 km).
Outdoor Observation Level
Open to the elements, this outdoor terrace is secured with steel safety grills. Air temperatures at this height can be up to 50°F (10°C) cooler than at ground level.
The single-shaft structure’s foundations were sunk around 55 ft (17 m) and required the removal of more than 56,000 tons of soil and shale.
One of the world’s highest observation platforms, at 1,465 ft (447 m), the Sky Pod offers fantastic views in every direction. It is reached via its own elevator.
At a height of 1,148 ft (350m), 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower turns a full circle every 72 minutes and boasts the world’s highest wine cellar, with more than 500 labels.
This is the longest metal staircase in the world, with 1,776 steps. It is opened to the public twice a year – for fundraising stair climbs that attract almost 20,000 climbers.
High-speed and glass-fronted, the elevators shoot visitors up the outside of the building to the upper levels. They reach the Lookout Level in less than a minute.
These small islands, separated by canals and waterways, can be seen from the lower observation deck of the CN Tower. They are a popular day trip from the Harbour front.
TALLEST SUPPORTED STRUCTURES
There are dozens of television and/or radio broadcast masts that measure more than 2,000 ft (600 m) and all are in the US. Supported by guy wires, these structures do not qualify for inclusion in the Tallest Buildings in the World list. The highest is a 2,063-ft (629-m) television mast near Fargo, North Dakota. Poland’s Warsaw Radio Mast was the tallest ever guy-wire-supported mast, at 2, 120 ft (647 m), before it collapsed in 1991.
1975: Work begins on the the CN Tower, which is to address the city’s communication problems.
1976: The CN Tower opens to the public and a time capsule is sealed to mark the event.
1977: The first annual stair climb is held for charity.
1995: The CN Tower is declared a Wonder of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.