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CN Tower – Toronto, CAN

If the notion that ’bigger is better’ holds true when extended from the phallic world to the world of phallic-shaped buildings, then the CN Tower is the king of the world.  Other complex arguments notwithstanding (we’ll cover that in a moment), the CN Tower is the tallest freestanding land structure in the world.  Located in the culturally affluent City of Toronto, Canada, the CN Tower dominates the skyline despite a dense network of skyscrapers in the nation’s economic capital.

History

In 1976, the Canadian National (CN) Railway decided to show off how powerful Canadian industry had become.  They laid out the plans for a massive radio and television communications tower near the shores of Lake Ontario and just west of the downtown core of Toronto.  The project brought out the best in Canadian civil engineering, concrete design, and construction contractors, along with a host of international professionals specializing in their fields.

Several major innovations were implemented during the construction of the tower, which began in February 1973.  In order to pour all the concrete at dizzying heights, the ’slip form’ was developed that would rise up on hydraulic jacks as the building solidified.  Concrete was poured in non-stop between Monday and Friday until the main structure was completed.  A large 7-storey section known as the SkyPod was then built at the 1,100 foot mark, and it now houses two observation decks, the world’s highest revolving restaurant, a nightclub, and numerous broadcasting equipment bays.  Even further up is the Space Deck at 1,465 feet.  It has a pulse-pounding glass floor that leaves many people with weak knees.  Throughout the building’s construction, surveyors carefully monitored the progress to make sure the tower would be perfectly straight.  Transit aids were built up thousands of feet away (including a neat set of guides on the University of Toronto campus that point directly at the top of the tower) ensured that the tower was within 1.1 inches of true vertical.

Description

At the bottom of the tower is a newly added entertainment complex with an arcade, retail space, a theatre, and several motion simulator rides.  The true experience involves a ride up one of the elevators.  Their acceleration speed is on par with a jetliner’s take off, and you’ll definitely need to pop your ears at the end of it.  Once up top at the SkyPod, you can dine at a ritzy revolving restaurant with luxurious dinner fare (there is a minimum purchase requirement in effect) or you can just walk around the observation deck.

For a more extreme thrill, pay a bit of extra money to gain access to the Space Deck with its dazzling glass floor.  Don’t worry, you won’t take a 1,500-foot plunge as the glass can support up to 15 hippos!