The EdgeWalk is the latest innovation of the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada. They don’t take it lightly. You have to be healthy, are strapped into some heavy duty protective clothing, attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system and have a guide to help you “do the walk”. It’s not for the faint of heart – and I am – but I suspect that for everyone who does it, there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction as you lean back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath you. On November 8, 2011 EdgeWalk at the CN Tower was presented with the Guinness World Record for the “Highest External Walk on a Building”.
The CN Tower is now over 36 years old. When it was built it was the tallest free-standing structure and it houses a number of attractions, many unique. The Tower has glass elevators; the tallest wine cellar and an award-winning restaurant; fun and interactive play areas for young people; videos that show how the Tower was built; 3D films; and from the Observation Deck, you can stand on a glass floor and look straight down to the ground – 1000 feet. A lot of people can’t even do that!
On a clear day, you can see for 100 miles and the Tower provides an incredible view of Toronto. I spent some time when I was filming Toronto 175 getting shots that helped to put the evolution of the City into perspective. Just west of Bathurst Street, you can see Fort York. When you consider that the fort was built on the water’s edge by the lake, you can see the extent of landfill right around the natural harbour to the Don River and what was once a marshland. Look a little further west to the grounds of the CNE and that was where the French built Fort Rouille in the mid 1700s. Yes, the French were here first! Along with the yacht clubs and cycling paths on the islands, you may even spot the oldest lighthouses (1807) that used to guide the sailing ships into the harbour. And if you can stretch your imagination and think back a thousand years or so, you would be surrounded by a massive forest with wild animals and a meeting place for the First Nations People.
For newcomers or visitors to Toronto, the view from the Tower is an experience that helps to understand the layout of the City and the grid system so popular with the military when they first started building the town of York in the late 1700s. While you are up there visit the revolving and award-winning 360 Restaurant where you can enjoy a fabulous meal along with the incredible views. On a recent visit I started with oysters on the shell and then had the Atlantic Lobster and Spinach Manicotti as my entrée. It was superb and plentiful garnished with sautéed shrimp and seared scallops in a tarragon cream. My reservation also included the ride up in the glass elevator and access to the observation deck. Interestingly this dinner coincided with a fog that enveloped the city and we had another unique dining experience looking down on clouds out of which peeped the tops of buildings some still under construction. It was surreal and made our special event even more memorable.
But back to the video that we featured under “Railway Adventures across Canada”: I’ve long admired Rick Mercer and his talent for using humour to spotlight Canadian people and places. His EdgeWalk with Jan Arden was one of the best, and funniest, and you can see more of this talented Canadian on his website.
EdgeWalk is definitely an extreme adventure and the walk now attracts hundreds of people. If you qualify, there’s quite a waiting list for the EdgeWalk and the cost is $175 which includes a video, photos and certificate of achievement. EdgeWalk operates seasonally from May to October in all weather except electrical storms. Designed with the highest international safety and security standards in mind, EdgeWalk runs 1.5 hours, with the outdoor walk lasting approximately 30 minutes.
For details on hours, restrictions and eligibility check out their website at www.edgewalkcntower.ca The entire experience can now be booked on line. For special requests call Canada 416-601-3833. Bookings commenced in March for walks starting May 1.