I had just arrived in Toronto by train and had five hours to kill before my flight back to Alberta so I decided to head downtown to see what adventures I could find. It had been seven years since my last visit to Toronto and my first visit as a solo traveler, so I did what any tourist does when in the capital city of Toronto: I hit up the CN Tower.
The landmark isn’t hard to find, standing over 1815 feet high. It was built in 1976 and became the world’s tallest tower, holding it’s record until 2010. It is now listed as the third tallest tower in the world and continues to hold the record for the tallest freestanding structure in the western hemisphere.
Many tourists head up the CN Tower to the observation deck where through a glass floor they can spy on those going about their daily business below. I had done this once before so I opted to take things one step further, literally. I signed up for a little something called the EdgeWalk.
The CN Tower glass floor (2008)
The CN Tower glass floor (2008)
Listed as the “World’s highest full circle hands-free walk”, I had to add this to my bucket list just to check it off right away. There were many people in line ahead of me but most were signing up as groups of two or three. With only six people per EdgeWalk group I was able to sneak into the last spot on the next group to leave as the couples ahead of me had to sign up hours in advance to be able to walk together. There are pros solo travel!
I signed my forms and was let into the briefing room where the rest of the group was already suiting up. I was handed a bright red jumpsuit and a harness as soon as I entered, dressed quickly, and got in line with my five fellow walkers. We were then taken in a private elevator up to the roof of the restaurant, 1168 feet in the air.
In the little room atop the restaurant we were clipped into the safety line above us before being led outdoors. The wind wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Despite being a beautiful summer day, the air was cool so high up however the jumpsuits provided enough warmth for the half hour we were outside.
We began by toeing our way to the edge of the walkway. Our guide nonchalantly then pushed himself over the edge, relying only on his harness to keep him in place. He walked at an angle in front of us, displaying his trust in the equipment and hoping to give confidence to the few whose nerves were shown blatantly on their faces.
As we each gained the courage our guide had us each dangle our toes over the edge. Then turn around and balance only on our toes. The brave ones leaned back in their harness, balancing the arches of their feet on the edge of the walk, as if reclining in a lounge chair. That part wasn’t so bad.
We walked around part of the tower as our guide pointed out different landmarks and areas of Toronto. We were given permission to walk as close or as farm from the edge of the ramp as we felt comfortable. Only one stayed near the inside, keeping close to the security of the wall as the rest of us ventured a little closer to the wild side. I was probably a little closer tan I should have been when my balance and grace is taken into consideration. I only tripped once and my harness was secure enough that I wasn’t going to go anywhere if I did fall. This was very reassuring.
We played around again on the edge, leaning back, reaching out, then we leaned forward. With the guideline pressed up against my shoulder, I slowly rolled towards my toes which were dangling high above Toronto. I looked down at the cars which appeared the size of ants. It was a long way down and my adrenaline was a long way up.
The experience was a lot of fun and I never felt my safety was at risk. The edgewalk wasn’t as terrifying as a bungy jump but would still be rattling for someone scared of heights. The great thing about this adventure is that you can choose your comfort level. If you would rather stick close to the inside walkway and have the security of the wall , no one will hold it against you. As you gain confidence and are feeling like taking a risk you can go as far as you are comfortable whether it’t having a look over the edge or dangling your body off the side.
After the EdgeWalk we were each given a photo and video DVD which was included in the $195 cost. This was a bonus as many of these types of activities love to charge and extra $20-$30 for these. The EdgeWalk ticket also gave me a fast pass to the observation deck so I didn’t have to wait in the long and winding trail of visitors. I was surprised by that fact as I had just been told I had a pass to the observation deck, I had no idea it meant I would get to skip on the long wait time. This was a great bonus!
If you’re looking for a way to get out of your comfort zone but aren’t ready to jump off a bridge or out of a plane just yet, the EdgeWalk is a great place to start if you find yourself in Toronto. Despite having done three Bungy jumps and a Skydive prior to my visit I still had a great time at the CN Tower. If you visit on a clear day you can sometimes see the skylines of New York State and Niagara Falls 160 kms in the distance.