Why CN Tower is the most overrated attraction in Toronto

The CN Tower is the most emblematic landmark in Toronto. When the city of Toronto comes to mind, the CN Tower is the first image I think of. When I arrived in Toronto in the dead of winter, I waited anxiously for a day with the perfect blue sky to visit the tower. During the nine days I stayed in the city, I noticed it wasn’t an easy task. It took long enough but on my last day, I was blessed with the perfect weather.

While I was waiting for my “picture perfect day” I enjoyed my time in Toronto visiting its finest attractions. Toronto has no shortage of great museums, cool bars, food markets, and great restaurants. During all this time I admired the CN Tower from the distance. It was an inspiring vision every time I saw it appearing on the horizon between the buildings. Everywhere I went the tower was there overlooking the city. In fact, the CN Tower is so tall that it can even be seen in the neighboring towns of the Greater Toronto Area, as far as 60 km away.

When I finally was at the foot of the CN Tower preparing myself to go up there, I had high expectations, and somehow I was disappointed when I left. Compared with other attractions in Toronto, like the ultra modern Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the CN Tower is an old giant. I confess I expected more of one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.

I’m not saying you should ship it though. The CN Tower receives millions of visitors every year thanks to the fantastic 360° panoramic view of the entire city. Since its inauguration in 1976, the tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world for 34 years. Today it proudly holds the third place after Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower.

CN Tower as seen from its base
CN Tower as seen from its base

The general admission ticket costs $35 but only gives you access to the LookOut Level at 346 m. To go to the highest observation point of the tower, the SkyPod, you need to pay $12 extra. It doesn’t make sense to me to come all this way and don’t go all the way to the top. At the total price of $47, the CN Tower is the most expensive attraction in Toronto. At the base of the tower, we take the elevator to the LookOut viewing platform. The elevator takes only 58 seconds to get there. Part of the elevator floor has glass panels. It could be a thrilling experience watching the elevator going up fast if the elevator weren’t so full. I didn’t have the chance to take a peek. The view from the LookOut Level is amazing. The 360 Restaurant, located at this level, takes almost half of the entire floor.

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View from the LookOut Level of CN Tower
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The LookOut Level of CN Tower
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View from the LookOut Level of CN Tower
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View from the LookOut Level of CN Tower

From there we go down one flight of stairs to access the Glass Floor Level at 342m. The so-called “Glass Floor Experience” consists of a few glass panels on the floor. It was a little disappointed. Although the glass is all scratched and blurry, the view straight down is still terrifying. It took me some time before I could gain the courage to step on the glass. I read and reread the sigh over and over again trying to convince my brain that the glass could hold 41 polar bears as the sigh stated. Silly me. At first, I was only able to sit on the floor, then I lied on it, and finally I stood on it. When the fear was gone, I tried in vain to take a good picture of myself on the floor. It was an impossible task. I believe the only way to get a good picture of yourself is to pay for it. Outside, the SkyTerrace is an open viewing platform encased in a wire mesh. There we could feel all the strength of the wind on a cold winter’s day.

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Glass Floor Experience at CN Tower
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Glass Floor Experience at CN Tower
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SkyTerrace at CN Tower

Another elevator gives access to the SkyPod at 447m. It’s the world’s highest observation deck with 147 storeys. Under ideal conditions, visibility is up to 160km to Niagara Falls and New York State. This viewing platform is more of the same. I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra price I paid for.

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SkyPod at CN Tower
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View from the SkyPod at CN Tower

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View from the SkyPod at CN Tower

If you’re brave enough, you can try the edge walk. Get your dose of adrenaline rush walking outside around the edge of the restaurant roof. It’s truly terrifying!


Also published on Medium.

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