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CN Tower Toronto's Icon

The CN Tower Toronto is the building most people think of when they think of the city. It's truly world famous, mainly because at 1815 ft or 553 m it was the 'world's tallest free-standing structure' for over 30 years.

It stands, at 1815 feet (553.3m) high, head and shoulders above the other downtown buildings.

Elevators take you to the Tower’s observation decks at the 1122 feet (342m) level for the ‘glass floor’ and outdoor deck, 1136 feet (346m) for the Café and indoor deck, and 1150 feet (351m) for the 360 restaurant.

CN Tower Toronto, the city's most iconic building

If you want an even better view, a further elevator takes you to the Skypod (that's the small 'blip' you see on the photo halfway between the main observation decks and the top of the mast), the world’s highest public observation deck at 1465 feet (447m).

Built from 1973-76 as, and still primarily used as, a telecommunications tower, it is also Toronto's premier tourist attraction, including as it does restaurants at top and bottom, viewing galleries at the top, as well as a shopping plaza on the ground level.

The CN Tower Toronto also provides two annual fund raising events for charities. There are 1776 stairs and a 142 floors (of the total 147) from ground to the first viewing deck and every year the tower hosts two Stair Climbs, in April and one in October. Walkers of all ages and fitness levels take up the challenge.

The more normal route to the top is by one of 6 elevators, which takes about 2 minutes. Depending on the time of day or year, lining up can sometimes make walking feel the quicker and better option.

For more things to do and places to see in Toronto, click on the 'Toronto Tours' link below and to the right.

View of downtown from the CN Tower Toronto

However, the view from the top is worth the wait, with a 360 degree view over the city and lake.

The 'CN' in CN Tower stands for Canadian National, the rail company that built the tower on the disused rail lands in downtown Toronto. Toronto's Union Station had been the place all Canadian rail traffic converged in the good old days before road and air took over.

When their business declined, the rail companies were left with unused downtown space no longer needed for turning, marshalling or shunting operations and the Tower was, perhaps, an unusual departure for CN but not so far out. Canadian railways were already using advanced telecommunications to keep track of their far-flung business.

The CN Tower Toronto stands almost on the waterfront

View of waterfront from CN Tower Toronto

Which gives it a great view over the Toronto islands and harbour.

Toronto is still a working port but recreational boats, like these in the Marina between the condos, make up the bulk of the shipping in the waters between the mainland and islands.

The Tower is open 7 days a week, all year round except Christmas Day, from 9 am to 10pm in winter and 9 am to 11 pm in summer.

Entrance is fairly expensive if you want to go to the Skypod, if the Observation Deck isn't enough excitement for you. Your ticket gets you entrance to the viewing galleries and restaurant and bar at the top. Anything you buy in the restaurant and bar is on top, of course.

View of Roy Thompson Hall from CN Tower Toronto

From the CN Tower Toronto, you see buildings from an interesting perspective. This round building is Roy Thomson Hall, the home of the city's symphony orchestra.

Other unusual Toronto buildings can be seen on our page: Toronto Cityscapes

Skydome closed, view from CN Tower Toronto

Another perspective -- this time the Skydome, Toronto's premier sports facility.

Its sliding roof is firmly closed on the first picture and open for a baseball game on the second.

Being inside the Skydome when the roof closes is an awesome experience, and I mean that in the old-fashioned sense f the word. The roof moves ponderously, throwing deepening shadows across the field and seats until the moment the internal lighting takes over. It's like a total eclipse of the sun, in miniature.

Your entrance fee to the Observation Deck is covered by the cost of your meal at the '360 degrees' restaurant -- provided you buy an entree. And of course it's best to book in advance for busy times. Try the Tower's site for details and online reservations: and our downtown restaurants for regular travelers page for alternate ideas -- Regular Restaurants.

For more ideas of things to see and do in Toronto, click -- Toronto Tours -- and don't forget to check the weather in Toronto before you set out.

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