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The CN Tower

CN Tower

Although telecommunications towers can be found in many European cities (such as Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich), in no other tower are you so distant from the ground. This tower is huge! It can be seen from practically any point in the city, sometimes, peeking out from behind other buildings. You can even see it in the background of other pictures here - it so dominates the city.

In fact, it can be seen from across Lake Ontario in St Catharines, where you're still more than an hour away by car!

The CN Tower has so many visitors, that they recently added two more elevators, making six in total. How did they do this? Well, they moved the stairs to the central core freeing up space for new elevator shafts.

Beside the CN Tower sits the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), a large stadium with a roof that can be opened when the weather is good. When the dome first opened for business, a letter published in a local newspaper (written by the wife of a co-worker) referred to the CN Tower and SkyDome as the world's tallest phallic symbol next to the world's biggest womb.

By the way, if you're an American tourist, here's a lesson: It's called the "CN Tower". I've overheard too many Americans who think it's called the "CNN Tower".

CN Tower in the clouds

Comparison With Other World Towers

Name Total height Height of observation level Year open
CN Tower
553.33m Sky Pod: 447m
Restaurant: 351m
Glass floor: 342m
Sears Tower
443m   1974
368m 203m 1969
290m 174-192m 1968
279.8m 132m 1968
Skylon Tower
Niagara Falls
159m 136m 1965
Hill Island

Chicago: Some of the most interesting and architecturally important skyscrapers in North America can be found in Chicago. Two of the tallest buildings have publically accessible observation levels. The John Hancock Building is a few kilometers north of the downtown area. The view of the downtown skyline is interesting in that there is only one building that peaks above the horizon. The tallest building, the Sears Tower, overlooks the downtown. Note that the observation level of the Sears Tower is higher than the main observation deck of the CN Tower.

Munich: The main feature of the view from Munich's telecommunications tower is the Olympic Stadium. To the left, the roof of the BMW Museum sports the silver and blue BMW logo. To the south, you can see Munich's downtown, and further in the distance, the Bavarian Alps, 70 kilometers away.

StarBerlin: Unlike most other telecommunications towers, Berlin's Fernsehturm towers over the main downtown square, Alexanderplatz. From the tower, you can see some of the most historic buildings of the city, such as the Rotes Rathaus, the cathedral, and in the distance to the west, the Brandenburger Tor. The main railroad line snakes through the city and passes directly below. Signs of the war are very obvious - whole sections of the city within sight of the tower contain only modern buildings.

StarHamburg: This is one of the most fascinating cities of the world, and the view from the tower reflects that. Directly below, you can see the botanical gardens, Planten un Blomen. To the east, you can see the Alster, a lake popular with recreational boaters. To the south, you can see the main reason for Hamburgs existence, the harbor. Also easily visible from the tower are the old buildings of the downtown, including the distinctive city hall and the St. Michaelis Kirche.

Niagara Falls: The only thing worth viewing from the Skylon Tower is the falls. The rest of the city is rather undistinctive and shabby.

Hill Island: The Skydeck is perhaps the most unique way to view the Thousand Islands, in eastern Ontario. This tower has an interesting appearance, with stairs spiralling up along the outside of the tower like the threads of a screw.

Toronto: The view from Toronto's CN Tower is more like the view from an airplane, rather than from a part of the city. In fact, you can easily see airplanes flying lower than the towers observation level. Some people have reported two hour waits before getting on the elevator. Is it worth it? If you have two hours to spend in Toronto, I think you're better off seeing the city on the ground, on foot.

The CN Tower in the News

NewspaperSeptember 12, 2007: The CN Tower becomes the 2nd tallest free-standing structure in the world as construction crews push the Burj Dubai skyscraper up to 555.3 tall. The Burj Dubai is expected to be well over 700m when complete.

NewspaperJuly 16, 1999: 30 Japanese tourists on their way to dinner were trapped in a CN tower elevator for 45 minutes 244 meters above the ground. Five were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and were treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion.

NewspaperOctober 29, 1989: Brendan Keenoy climbs the stairs with a record time of 7 minutes and 52 seconds.

NewspaperNovember 11, 1980: Donn Reynolds yodelled for 7 hours and 29 minutes from the roof of the CN Tower's Skypod.

NewspaperJuly 27, 1979: An egg is tossed from the 341m level of the CN Tower and caught unbroken.

CN Tower Links

. .Official CN Tower web page
. .Jörg Wiegels' Seiten über Türme - excellent overview of world towers
. .What is the 'tallest structure in the world'? - puts things into perspective!