Kids Corner


Hanging Out in Toronto



Walking on the edge!

While it is a term heard used many times figuratively, what does it mean when one experiences it literally?

Well, I found out the answer in, let me be honest, a  the scary way!

In our great city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada - or 'T dot O', as it is referred to by many hip youngsters - many people from around the world flock to visit one of the modern man-made wonders of the world, the CN Tower. For us so-called locals, when we have out-of-town guests, it is time when we too get to actually visit it.

Defining the Toronto skyline at 533.33m (1,1815 ft., 5 in.), the CN tower is Canada's most recognizable and celebrated icon. For the brave, the CN tower has many fascinating attractions, including the glass elevator ride up the tower - it is just the start. Then there is the look-out level at 1,136 feet, the glass floor at 1,222 feet (dare to walk on air!) and the highest observation level, the sky pod at 1,465 ft. Not to mention the The 360 Restaurant at 1000 ft, where patrons enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the comfort of their table, as the '360' revolves once every 72 minutes.

Believe it or not, the CN tower also annually hosts a Stair Climb where participants climb the stairs of the CN Tower for charity. I have had the pleasure, or should I say exhaustion, of doing this several times!

One would imagine this would be enough adventure for anyone when it comes to heights, but only recently the CN Tower went one step further and introduced the Edge Walk. It is the world's highest full circle, hands-free walk on a 1.5 meter wide ledge encircling the top of the CN Tower's main pod at 356m/ 1168 ft - that is, 116 storeys above the ground we were created to stay on.

Since I had already experienced the other features, I thought it only fitting to give this extreme attraction a try.

I am usually good at corralling family and friends to join me on my various missions, including the notorious Polar Bear Dip on New Year's Day, but when I put the call out for this one, volunteers were a little "edgy", to say the least.

So I had to venture out on this one on my own.

The opening day for the Edge Walk was on Aug 1, 2011. I took up the challenge on the first day.

After checking in, we went through a series of safety and security checks including a breathalyzer (we were assured  that people with mere bad breath did not disqualify). We were also asked to visit the facilities and relieve ourselves if needed, because once we were strapped into our gear, it would not be possible for 1 1/2 hours (unless, of course, it happened naturally, during the walk itself - with terror as the catalyst!) 

After getting our gear on, I felt a bit like an astronaut heading into space. Again, there was safety-check after safety-check, including how tight our shoes were on our feet.

Finally, up the elevator we went. I knew I was hiding my true fear under the excitement of the moment.

Once we reached the loading deck, we were clipped into our safety harness and checked thoroughly, one final time.

The doors opened and off we went, walking outside.

I could never imagine walking would be this intimidating. Right off the bat, you quickly realized that the width of the open metal-ledge was only 5 feet, and although I am short, I am still taller than the width. All of a sudden, I realized that at anytime I was only 5 feet away from the edge and at most times, just walking near the middle; that is, I was really less than 2 feet from the edge.

Believe it or not, this turned out to be least scariest part of the adventure! Within minutes, as we walked, we were asked to turn our backs to the edge and crouch down, then we had to keep stepping backwards until we got to the actual edge and then we had to let go of our harness.

I was, all of a sudden, leaning back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of ocean-like Lake Ontario beneath me. Again, this turned out to be the second least scariest part of the adventure. After a few more minutes of walking and 'sightseeing',  we were asked to lean forward and walk forward to the edge and put our toes to the edge and then stand on our tippee toes and again let go of the harness.

If you thought walking backwards was a little scary, when one could avoid looking down, going forward did not give you that option ... unless you wanted to go venture forward with your eyes closed. Not a good idea to begin with.

Let's just say, my heart started to pump faster. Wind speeds vary on each side of the tower and as we got around to the north (city) side, the winds picked up and unlike the calm side of the south, where I had marveled at the beautiful conditions up there, reality struck in. As if the walk itself was not terrifying in itself.

The winds at only 15-20 km/hr (I say 'only' because I believe high winds for the attraction are touted at above 35 km/hr) were almost enough not to keep my undies clean. They say varying weather conditions will make the Edge Walk experience more 'interesting'.

I can now confirm that they are not kidding.


August 3, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), August 03, 2011, 8:30 AM.

That, Pardeep, is really living on the edge. But, then, knowing you, I would expect no differently.

2: Sukhbir Sahota (Singapore), August 05, 2011, 3:17 AM.

Only you, Pardeep, can live on the edge. Wouldn't expect anything less from you.

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