For many visitors to Toronto, this needle-like telecommunications tower—often seen from the airplane window—is their first glimpse of the city. When it was erected in 1976, the CN Tower was the world’s tallest freestanding structure. Though it no longer holds that title, it is still the tallest tower in Canada, and the spectacular views from its observation decks are second to none.
At 1,815 feet (553 meters), the CN Tower is hard to miss, and almost every sightseeing tour of the Toronto includes at least a look at this iconic structure. To get a real sense of its soaring height, it’s best to go inside. Regular entry, which you can combine with a guided walking tour or harbor cruise, gives you access to the vertigo-triggering Glass Floor at 1,122 feet (342 meters) and the 1,136-foot (436-meter) LookOut Level deck via high-speed, glass-walled elevators. You can go to the even higher SkyPod platform at 1,465 feet (447 meters), though you need a separate ticket. For the ultimate thrill, try the EdgeWalk, a hands-free walk around the ledge of the tower’s main pod. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is located on the ground floor. For a novel perspective of the tower, take a helicopter tour over Toronto’s skyline.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear a jacket or outer layer as it can be cold on the Outdoor SkyTerrace, located on the same level as the world-famous Glass Floor.
- Access to the observation level is free to those who dine in the tower’s revolving restaurant.
- The Glass Floor, LookOut Level, and the first level of the SkyPod are all accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
CN Tower is located beside the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto. The visitors’ entrance is on Bremner Boulevard. Take the subway (line 1 Yonge-University) to Union Station and walk west along Front Street. It’s a five- to 10-minute walk from the station.
When to Get There
Summer weekends are peak visiting days. Most people come between 11am and 5pm—go in early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds. After sunset, you can witness the tower’s eight-minute light show, which takes place on the hour.
What the CN Tower Actually Does
More than just a show-stopping architectural icon and tourist attraction, the CN Tower serves a practical purpose as a telecommunications tower. Prior to its construction, the increasingly tall Toronto skyline was making it difficult to transmit radio and television signals. Though the tower may appear spindly, it is in fact very sturdy. It is covered with thick reinforced concrete, weighs 130,000 tons (117,910 metric tonnes), and is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.