""Now I'm finally up this high, so what?"" CN Tower Tip by CatherineReichardt

CN Tower, Toronto: 202 reviews and 308 photos

  CN Tower, Toronto
by CatherineReichardt

As you will have already discovered if you've found this tip, there are loads of tips on the CN Tower on VT, and everyone else seemed to absolutely love it, so, for what it's worth, here's a dissenting point of view.

I didn't actively dislike the CN Tower, but I was distinctly underwhelmed by it. So, it was once both the world's highest tower and the world's highest free standing structure - now in the Top 5, depending on the criteria you apply - well, maybe I'm missing the point, but so what?

For me, ascending a high structure is only really of interest if it can be used as a vantage point to give you an unusual perspective on the surroundings. So the Arc de Triomphe, for example, although not extraordinarily high, is worth going to the top of because from there, you see Baron Hausmann's Grand Vision for Paris made real and stretching out at your feet. And therein lies the problem with the CN Tower - in my very personal opinion, there simply isn't very much worth seeing from the top. The landscape is pancake flat and not particularly attractive, the ribbon of development along the shores of Lake Ontario is unremarkable, and precisely because the CN Tower is so high, the high rise developments of the CBD (which are actually quite interesting from another perspective, such as the Toronto Islands), lose their definition and individuality because they're so far below you.

To my mind, the most interesting aspect of the view from the CN Tower is the bird's eye perspective on the neighbouring Rogers Centre - formerly the SkyDome and home to the Toronto Blue Jays. This was the first sports stadium to have a fully retractable motorised roof and is a nifty bit of engineering (I personally thought that it was more interesting than the CN Tower).

Others have waxed lyrical about the many thing that you can do in the CN Tower, including dining at the revolving restaurant, ascending up to the Sky Pod, doing the EdgeWalk and standing on the glass floor. I only did the latter, and can't say that it made a major impression on me, other than making me feel midly queasy as I registered that it was an awfully long way down.

However, most people consider that the CN Tower is worth doing, so if so, I suspect that the view is probably at is best at night when the view of the twinkling CBD lights would probably lend an added cachet. It's also possible that during Fall (a north Americanism of which I heartily approve), the palette of autumnal colours would lend another dimension to the landscape, although I stand to be corrected on this point.

And, for fear of stating the obvious, it's not even worth considering this if the cloud is low, because you won't see a thing. As Toronto weather can be quite changeable, I would suggest that if the CN Tower is on your 'must do' itinerary and the weather is fine, then shelve whatever other plans you had and head up the tower whilst the weather is clement.

In summary, going up the CN Tower - even if you forego the optional extras - is resource intensive on several counts, as it is hellish expensive (over C$20 just to access the lookout and glass floor at the time of writing in September 2011) and would probably also involve a wait in peak season, even if you bought your ticket online due to limitations on the number of visitors that are permitted at any given time. So particularly if you're a budget traveller or have limited time in Toronto, I would suggest that your time and money could be much better spent doing something more worthwhile such as a trip to the Bata Shoe Museum, Royal Ontario Museum or a ferry ride to the Toronto Islands.

One unexpected high point for me was the gift shop by the entrance is large and absolutely excellent. It sells a wide range of high quality souvenirs, and you don't have to pay the entrance fee to visit the gift shop.

Address: 301 Front St. W.
Directions: In the heart of Downtown Toronto, right in between the SkyDome and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street, just north of Bremner Blvd.
Phone: +1 416-868-6937
Website: http://www.cntower.ca/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 5, 2012
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