Recently we have been experiencing a Tourist Influx to my home (not sure if it is to see me or the city that I have adopted). While a wonderful thing in itself to have friends from distant places stop by Toronto, I am surprised at some of the things that I end up doing.
For instance, the Edgewalk at the CN Tower.
Two of my guests came from Rochester, NY, and mentioned, innocently enough when the idea of the visit was first broached, that they wanted to risk their lives in this foolhardy way for no good reason that I could understand.
Of course I said that I was not interested.
Then the date for their visit was set and, again, I refused.
When they finally arrived, I still said no.
And then – just before the actual event – something shut down my brain and took charge of my mouth. I agreed.
And found myself at the base of the tower, looking up. Way, way up. Trying to think of excuses to extricate myself from the situation.
A bit of vertigo blanked my mind.
We were introduced on the ground to various members of the staff who supervised our transformation from our everyday garb into red-suited daredevils. They checked us for alcohol and explosives, although perhaps a cursory search for sanity would have been more appropriate. It didn’t seem to be a requirement.
Then we were buckled and strapped tightly into safety harnesses that I am sure the BDSM crowd would enjoy.
My first moment of trepidation occurred when the guide – called the Walk Master but known more familiarly as Pepper – tried to comfort us by saying that we were under constant supervision through video cameras. It occurred to me that, should anything untoward happen, the supervisor would only say, “whoops!” but would not have time to do much else.
Through most of it, I was not nervous but there was a moment when I thought I was incredibly stupid for having forsaken terra firma.
That moment came when the Walk Master had each of us slide our toes over the edge of the grating at 356 metres above the ground (about 355.5 metres too high).
Then, taking a deep breath and saying a quick prayer, we had to fling ourselves over, all the while depending on the strength of our ropes, to keep us attached.
I must say those ropes – which appeared quite sturdy when inside the tower – looked remarkably frail when tested in this way. Unbelievably, the Walk Master also wanted us to let go of our ropes – our new best friends – and wave our arms to show our delight at being hare-brained enough to listen to her instructions.
There were more ‘activities’ to perform, each one requiring a denial of intuition and good sense, while depending on some esoteric knowledge of physics and strength of materials, which – even if you had ever been privy to it – would have disappeared from your mind when looking straight down 115 stories below your feet.
We walked around the tower on the sidewalk-sized grating, with the wind in our faces and the airplanes landing on Toronto Island below us. At the end of the round, when re-entering the tower, we were asked which was our favourite moment.
Mine had just happened. The re-entry.
But all this was just to say that I couldn’t quite believe that I had done this, that I had enjoyed it tremendously and that I had been incredibly impressed by the beauty and majesty of Toronto and its environs. And those itsy-bitsy airplanes landing at Billy Bishop airport.
Would I return?
But I would recommend it highly.
– Anya Orzechowska
Photo by Master Walker Pepper, Elizabeth Cinello and Wikipedia creative commons
I will do the edgewalk right after all members of council come wearing bikinis, hell freezes over and world peace.
Miroslav Glavić, Toronto
Loved the article. Funny and informative and the photo of the tower in reflection is stunning.
Cheryl Kryzaniwsky, Port Elgin ON