The CN Tower – A quiet cultural icon…

June saw the CN Tower’s 40th birthday! So good chance for me to put something together celebrating a building which has had a huge impact on my trip. Time for a little history lesson….


So the tower was conceived by Canadian National, the railway company, initially as a TV/Radio mast, and had to be tall enough to tower over all obstructions, particularly 1st Canadian Place; The Bank of Montreal’s tower which was the next tallest in the city. The school of thought of the time was; if you’re going to build something that big, why not build the tallest tower in the world! And so the idea was born. Initially the tower started off as a tri-post type thing, but soon the design evolved into what we see today. Construction started with 6m deep Y shaped hole into the bedrock, with the core of the tower built from a single piece of concrete, poured in an 8 month continuous process.


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It’s the architectural extremes of the building that first captivated my interest when I visited the tower many years ago as a kid. At the time there was nothing else close to it in the world, it was just so tall!! The physics of how it doesn’t topple over in the wind were mind boggling, the view from skypod or the glass floor is crazy, everything about it is big. It has withstood the test of time and come to define the skyline of Toronto. The design life of the tower could be as high as 200 years, meaning it’ll be around for a while to come, and after 40 years it seems like it’s been there forever.


Toronto wouldn’t look the same without it.


Most locals that I’ve encountered over my years here do not share quite the excitement that I do for the building, but nevertheless I think they do quietly admire it. Adverts for property in the city almost universally feature a view of the tower behind the property, as if to say “You might have a view of the tower!”, I’ve encountered one or two locals with tattoos featuring the tower, and the most famous example recently is the cover of Drake (a local rapper)’s most recent album.

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For me the tower has come to be the single most important influence on my journey. It has fed me, clothed me, provided me with rent money, helped me meet the closest friends I’ve made on this trip, and provided me with countless hours of entertainment and wonder. Without it things would have looked very different, I might not have earned enough money to stay here for a long as I have. Really I’m most thankful for the guys at Edgewalk for giving me a job! I sometimes marvel at how strange my life can be, I have the same everyday struggles as everyone else: I might wake up a bit late, battle to get to work through traffic, make a much needed cup of tea, and then emerge out onto this crazy place.


My office for the summer….

I’ve had many happy, poignant, moments up on Edgewalk, I’ve seen people base jump off, I’ve help fire fireworks off of it, I’ve taken my friends and family up there, but perhaps the only sad one occurred in June. Towards the end of the month the UK voted to leave the European Union. I had been worried about the vote for some time and as the votes came in my heart sank, the result was very much not what I wanted. The day coincided with a very early shift for me and Jenn, a fellow British traveler, and as we stood taking in a rare opportunity to watch the sunrise from up there we shed a tear together, wondering what would become of our homeland after this vote, and if we really wanted to return at all.

With that in mind, most of June was spent saving money with the aim of getting the most out of my adventure before I return to a United Kingdom that more uncertain than ever. The vote was a bit of a wake up call to make as much of this journey as possible.


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