This is our tower, the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, lit here with a bit of help from the elements. We have enjoyed it for thirty-six years now, and it remains one of the main attractions in this marvellous city. I live in Hamilton, 80 kilometers and an hour’s drive away. When the sun is in the right direction and the sky is clear, I can see it from the brow in front of my house! In Hamilton, the waterfront is to the north; in Toronto it is to the south. I used to get directions muddled, but not any more. You can see exactly where you are in Toronto, just by looking up. There are lots of things to do there… six glass fronted elevators, a glass floored observation deck at the very top, even the opportunity (for $175) to secure yourself in a harness and lean way out from the very top deck! Not for the faint of heart, including me!
Now another amazing tower has just been opened in Tokyo! The construction design is very interesting… not concrete like the CN Tower, but white-painted steel around a blue core… a triangular base that gradually becomes a circular tower, rising well above the record held by Toronto tower for so long as the highest in the world. The designs for both towers take into consideration high winds, snow and sleet, and the possibility of earthquakes. The Japanese have completed the Sky Tree despite their concern over reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami damage last year. This is a credit to their determination to follow through, to show the world their national character, their talent for persistence and organization.
I am confident that both Tokyo and Toronto have a great deal to offer visitors in addition to these man-made wonders. They are expensive and ostentatious, looming over everything else in the environment. But their usefulness as communication towers makes them valuable and necessary. They are architectural and engineering marvels, and the construction challenges defy imagination. Unlike the tunnel under the Niagara River near the massive power generating plants at the Falls (blog, March 13 2012), we can see these modern wonders of the world and be awed by their majesty!