BY LINDA MONDOUX
Described as the CN Tower’s “most thrilling attraction” in its 35-year-history, EdgeWalk
offers incredible views of Toronto and Lake Ontario for those brave enough to stand on a ledge 116 storeys high above the ground.
The first of its kind in North America, EdgeWalk at the CN Tower opened to the public to rave reviews on Aug. 1. Seems people just couldn’t wait to plunk down $175 for a chance to say “look Ma, no hands!” as they walk around a 1.5-metre-wide ledge encircling the tower’s main pod. Demand for reservations has been brisk since tickets for Toronto’s newest tourist attraction went on sale June 1.
“We’re extremely excited this day is finally here,” said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Canada Lands Company, owner and operator of the CN Tower. “The public has shown that they are ready and eager to push their limits by taking part in Toronto’s most exciting attraction in decades.”
Hailed as the world’s highest full-circle hands-free walk on a ledge 356 metres in the air, EdgeWalk has been attracting plenty of attention, with extreme urban adventure-seekers from around the world eager to cross another one off the “must do” list.
Led by trained guides, visitors walk in groups of six and are encouraged to tip-toe to the edge and hang over with their arms spread wide and nothing but air beneath them, before trying the same thing leaning backwards. While you’ll no doubt get butterflies in your stomach while soaking up all those breathtaking views, you can relax because you’re safe. All walkers are attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system.
As one EdgeWalk participant put it after his outing: “It was really fun ... and not nearly as daredevilish as it looks.”
'I would do it again any day'
Perhaps the most famous walker so far is Bill Ward, a 90-year-old veteran of the Second World War. Ward, who saw people walking on the edge on the TV news, figured he might as well try it himself.
“I feel like I’m 60,” Ward told a CTV reporter after his walk. “I would do it again any day. I would do it again today if I went up there.”
Designed with the highest international safety and security standards in mind, each EdgeWalk experience runs for 90 minutes, with about 30 minutes of that spent walking on the ledge outside. The walk itself starts and ends on the south side of the main tower pod, above the 360 Restaurant. Before the walk, you’ll be outfitted with a coverall-type suit to wear over your clothing. Depending on the weather, you might also be provided with a hat, gloves and jacket.
If you think a shot of liquor will calm your nerves before your walk, forget it — participants must take a breath test for alcohol and drugs. You’ll also be given a patdown and go through a metal detector so any “fall hazards” can be removed. The only thing other than your clothes that you’re allowed on your person while participating in the EdgeWalk are eyeglasses (you’ll be supplied with a lanyard to keep them secure).
Walkers must be at least 13 years of age, weigh more than 75 pounds (and less than 310) and be at least 42 inches tall. You also need to be in good physical health and be able to walk independently. You won’t be allowed to participate if: you’re pregnant; have broken bones; have undergone surgery in the last six months; have lost your driver’s licence because you’ve had a seizure in the last six months; have chest pains or shortness of breath; or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Besides your walk on ledge of the CN Tower, your $175 ticket also includes a keepsake video and photos (you are not allowed to bring your own camera or recorder), along with a certificate of achievement. Participants also receive a Total Tower Experience Ticket that will get you access to Look Out, Glass Floor, Sky Pod, Movie and Motion Theatre Ride.
EdgeWalk will operate seasonally from May to October in all weather except for thunderstorms and high winds. Reservations are required for a specific date and time, and tickets are non-refundable.
Next awesome attraction — Ripley's Aquarium
With EdgeWalk off to a successful start, Canada Lands, the owner of the CN Tower, is already thinking to the next big tourist attraction in Toronto — a $130-million aquarium to be opened by Ripley Entertainment Inc. in 2013. Canada Lands, which owns the land at the base of the CN Tower on which Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is being built, is to spend $10 million to redevelop the John Street corridor with new signage and other improvements that will increase and improve the flow of pedestrian traffic from Front Street to the site. “This is an important entryway to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, as well as the CN Tower and Rogers Centre,” said Laroche, of Canada Lands, a federal Crown corporation.
The aquarium will be one of the largest in North America with a capacity of 5.7 million litres of water. It will be home to 13,500 water creatures and 450 species.
MyNewWaterfrontHome.com — August 2011