The CN Tower In Toronto
Ms. Sudeshna Mukherjee
Assistant Editor, Civil Engineering and Construction Review
Construction on the CN Tower began on February 6, 1973. And while an ingenious construction method using poured concrete meant that the lower half of the tower shot up rather quickly, it wasn’t until June 26, 1976 that it officially opened.
Defining the Toronto skyline at 553.33m (1,815ft5in), the CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon. The CN Tower is an internationally renowned architectural triumph, an engineering Wonder of the Modern World, world-class entertainment and dining destination and a must see for anyone visiting Toronto. Each year, over 1.5 million people visit Canada’s National Tower to take in the breathtaking views and enjoy all the CN Tower has to offer.
After 40 months of construction, the CN Tower was well on its way to becoming the country’s most celebrated landmark. It is the centre of telecommunications for Toronto serving over 16 Canadian television and FM radio stations, the workplace of over 500 people throughout the year, and an internationally renowned tourism destination.
Although the CN Tower inspires a sense of pride and inspiration for Canadians and a sense of awe for foreign tourists, its origins are rooted in practicality. The 1960s ushered in an unprecedented construction boom in Toronto transforming a skyline characterized by relatively low buildings into one dotted with skyscrapers. These buildings caused serious communications problems for existing transmission towers, which were simply not high enough to broadcast over the new buildings. Signals bounced off the buildings creating poor television and radio reception for residents. With its microwave receptors at 338m and at the 553.33m antenna, the CN Tower swiftly solved the communications problems with room to spare and as a result, people living in the Toronto area now enjoy some of the clearest reception in North America.
Eight months later, the CN Tower’s concrete shaft was the tallest structure in Toronto and by February 1974, it was the tallest in Canada. In August 1974, work began on the seven-story tower sphere that would eventually house the observation decks and revolving restaurant. The CN Tower approached completion in March 1975, when Olga, the giant Sikorsky helicopter flew into the city to lift the 44 pieces of the antenna into place. The CN Tower was finished on April 2, 1975, and opened to the public June 26, 1976.
When the 44th and final piece of the CN Tower’s antenna was bolted into place April 2, 1975, the CN Tower joined the ranks of 17 other great structures that had previously held the title of World’s Tallest Free-Standing Structure, a record the Tower would hold for an incredible 34+ years.
Over the years, millions of dollars have been invested in expanding and revitalizing the CN Tower to continue to provide visitors with a world class experience:
– In 1998 a base expansion project added 75,000 square feet of attractions and shopping at the Base of the Tower including a theatre and gift shop.
– For over three decades, the CN Tower continues to remain a critical telecommunications link adapting over the years to the incredible advances of the last decades by providing a cell site for wireless voice and data transmissions as well as for radio and television broadcasts.
– 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower following extensive renovations and remodelling, re-opened to critical acclaim in 1995 with a newly appointed Chef’s team who would ensure the quality of the cuisine was every bit as spectacular as the view. Over the years, ongoing upgrades to the restaurant included the addition in 1997 of a state of the art 9,000 bottlewine cellar. Located at 351m, the Cellar was designated the World’s Highest Wine Cellar by Guinness in 2006 and continues to provide guests with one of the most extensive selections in the Toronto area.
– To meet the demands of growing numbers of visitors to the Tower, in 1996 two additional elevators were installed at the CN Tower for a total six glass fronted elevators taking visitors to the top along one of the longest elevator-hoist-ways on the planet.
– In 2002 the CN Tower underwent a dramatic upgrade when the Radome was replaced (white, donut shaped, Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric protecting the Tower’s microwave equipment at the base of the main pod).
– The CN Tower is always upgrading its security through investments in new equipment and training. In 2002, the CN Tower initiated an award-winning new training program as well as introducing a state-of-the-art, non-contact security archway at the entrance. The CN Tower has been a technological leader since it was first built in 1976 and technology advancements and security advancements are important to ensuring the safety and security of visitors and staff.
– On June 28, 2007 With the installation of innovative programmable LED exterior lighting, the CN Tower now literally lights up the Toronto skyline each night vividly illuminating the structure elegantly in red and white. This new technology features 1,330 LED fixtures that are both energy efficient and cost effective to maintain- using 60% less energy that the conventionally lit Tower earlier. The system’s full capabilities are demonstrated during a spectacular light show at the top of every hour each night.
– Lifting off April 9, 2008, the CN Tower introduced North America’s first and the world’s highest glass floor panelled elevator. One of the Tower’s six glass-fronted elevators was recently enhanced to present a thrilling new perspective on the view 346m (1,136 feet) straight down. A portion of the elevator floor now features two glass panels, which when combined represent almost 0.6m2 (6 ft2) of floor space. Traveling at a speed of 22km/15mph, the Tower’s six glass-fronted elevators rocket guests to the top of its glass-fronted elevator shaft - 346m/1136ft in 58 seconds, earning the distinction as the World’s #1 elevator ride.
– 2010- A state-of-the-art high definition 3D theatre is the newest addition to the line-up of thrilling experiences at the CN Tower. The upgraded Maple Leaf Cinema is now one of the most technically advanced venues in the country for public and private screenings or presentations. This state-of-the-art theatre is fully equipped with leading edge high definition digital cinema technology projection and sound systems including the latest in high definition 3D.
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