Living Life on the Edge – CN Tower’s EdgeWalk
The EdgeWalk guide called it “Toes Over Toronto”. I called it terrifying. So there my 10 little digits were, perched over the edge of a grate, 1168 feet over Bremner Avenue. Every time I looked down my head would swim and I felt like I was going to fall forward. My fingers tightened on the thick black cable that was keeping me from doing the world’s most epic swan dive. I chanced another glance down past my toes to the top of Rogers Centre. Nope, no good. I just stared out straight ahead across Lake Ontario instead and tried to calm the butterflies in my stomach. How did I end up tethered to the top of the CN Tower anyway?
I don’t remember when it was that I heard about Skywalk X in Macau but I thought the idea of walking around the outside of a tower sounded terribly exciting. I promptly put it on my bucket list but didn’t honestly think it was something I’d get to do because, before I started travelling, Macau seemed like a world away and out of reach. Enter the CN Tower Edgewalk.
When I heard that the CN Tower would be taking a page out of Macau’s book and doing their own outdoor walk I got excited. Not only was Toronto much more accessible to me but this walk would be even higher. The highest in the world actually. With TBEX happening in the Big Smoke, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity. I started telling everyone how I was going to do the Edgewalk. I figured the more people knew, the more awkward it would be if I chickened out. Periodically throughout the week I would be walking past the CN Tower and see those little red spots in the sky that were people leaning over the edge and wonder if I was really contemplating joining them.
On my last full day in Toronto I bit the bullet and signed the waiver form and paid my money. I Instagramed a picture of my ticket for the world to see. No backing out now. Our group of six gathered and were fitted for our red jumpsuits. Nerves started building as I took off all my jewellery and stepped into the harness. They were very strict with the rules: everything on us was either covered by a jumpsuit or tethered to it. Even something as seemingly harmless as a penny could be dangerous dropped from that height. Between that first fitting and stepping out onto the ledge my harness was checked at least five times. Safety is no joke here and staff are very thorough.
Going up in the elevator my ears popped as I saw the ground rush away from me through the glass panels in the floor. Inside the launch room they lined us up and I found out that the guy next to me was a priest. Somewhat comforting. Surely the Big Guy wouldn’t let me drop with one of his own next to me? The way the rail is set up, there’s only one way out and you move counter-clockwise around the tower until you come back to the launch room. Once you step out onto the grate you’re committed to seeing it through.
The first thing that struck me was how quiet it was. City noise doesn’t reach that far up. I assumed that it would always be crazy windy that high up but it was a really calm evening. It was beautiful looking out at the islands and all the way across the lake to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our guide told us that on a really clear day you can sometimes see the mist rising from Niagara Falls. It’s not every day that you’re high enough to see the curvature of the earth. It was stunning.
There are four different activities that you’ll get to do on the EdgeWalk. The first is “Toes Over Toronto” which is meant to get you warmed up. The second activity is the one you see here, where we back up until our heels are off edge and then lean back. My first time trying this I was ok and managed to let go of the cable for a split second until I looked down between my feet. My inner monologue was telling me that this was a stupid thing to do and you better hold on. For the third activity we pretended to be on a tightrope and walked right on the edge, arms outstretched. The last was my favourite, leaning out face first. You can almost pretend you’re Superman flying over the city. By the time our half hour on the tower was done I would’ve been happy to hang out there all afternoon. The brain can acclimate to bizarre situations pretty fast it seems.
I couldn’t take a camera out there with me but Trey Ratcliff was able to get special permission and shot the video below with Google Glass. If you want to see what I saw, albeit he had a much windier day, check it out.
Is the Edgewalk something you would ever consider doing?
- What: CN Tower EdgeWalk
- Where: CN Tower off Bremner Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada… just look up.
- Cost: $175 + tax
- Gear required: non-slip lace up flat shoes (sneakers are best)
- Includes: EdgeWalk experience, keepsake video, printed photos, certificate of achievement, and a Tower Experience Ticket which includes access to LookOut, Glass Floor, SkyPod, Movie and Motion Theatre Ride.
Be sure not to do the CN Tower EdgeWalk without travel insurance. In case an injury means you need to cancel all or part of your trip, travel insurance will help you when you need it most. I recommend World Nomads as travel insurance for the EdgeWalk in Toronto.