June 26, 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the CN Tower’s erection in Toronto. Perhaps the city’s – and maybe even the country’s – most iconic and photographed building, the tower was originally built back in 1976 by the Canadian National Railways to serve as a telecommunications tower for radio, television, and cell phone providers. At the time – until the Burj Khalifa and Canton towers surpassed it in 2010 – it stood as the tallest freestanding tower in the world at 1815ft and 4 inches tall, attracting over 1.5 million tourists each year. In 1995 the American Society of Civil Engineers declared it one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.
Due to its height the CN Tower acts as a giant lighting rod, being struck on average 75-80 times a year, which has never caused damage to the building, and was even built to withstand 8.5 strong earthquakes and 260 mile per hour winds. Today the tower serves as an entertainment and event venue hub, putting on nightly light shows for the city thanks to the 1330 LEDs embedded across its surface, with custom colours being reserved for special events like the commemoration of federal NDP leader Jack Layton in orange or the attacks on Paris with the colours of the French flag. During the spring and autumn the lights are turned off to comply with the voluntary Fatal Light Awareness Program, which encourages buildings dim unnecessary exterior lighting in an effort to mitigate avian mortality during their annual spring and summer migrations.
Six glass-faced elevators take visitors up to the observation deck, which is home to a 360-degree rotating restaurant, and the world’s first glass floor that stands at a height of 1122ft. These days you can also opt for the EdgeWalk experience, which takes you for a walk around the circumference of the main pod’s roof at 1168ft – making it one of the highest full-circle hands-free walks.