Back in 1976 when the CN Tower opened, as a tween I looked up in amazement, and decided that I lived in a pretty cool city. I was already a kid of Ontario Place, The Ex, the ROM, Nathan Phillips Square, and the front seat on the subway, but it was the CN Tower that cemented in my mind that Toronto was special. Despite a few municipal missteps since, and the CN Tower recently giving up its world's-tallest crown to a crazy-big thing in some far-away land that seems only to be concerned with excess, I've never lost my love for the city nor disconnected it from the Tower. I still like every cliched postcard shot of the Big TO with The Tower featuring prominently in it.

What I never did in 1976, nor up until a month or so ago really, was look up at The Tower and think "I'm going to walk around that someday". It never even occurred to me of course, but my lack of imagination did not keep those at the CN Tower from a little delirious dreaming, and today Toronto is just that much cooler for it.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower is a $3 Million addition to our spiky friend, and a significant new attraction for this city. For $175 - not cheap, but then this is no everyday stroll - anyone who is fit enough (and at least 13, 18 without a parent or guardian) can now step out 116 storeys above ground, overcome any fears and embrace some solid engineering, and take in some incredible views all at the same time. And, when it's all over, you can tell everyone what a great time you had, and what a rush it was.

I was lucky enough to get to walk with Toronto's online media community - UrbanToronto was there with Blog TO, with Torontoist, with Yahoo.ca, and with Sympatico.ca. First steps for all of us were a bit tentative, and with a 1.5 metre wide steel grid to walk on, our first instincts were to stay a little closer to the inside edge, but our affable guides Brian and Tom soon had us testing our limits and getting us comfortable with our lofty perch.

The walk was preceeded by a half hour of suiting up, a safety briefing, and what must have been half a dozen checks to make sure that every knot was tied and every buckle in place.

Suiting up for Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto, image by Craig White

So, suited up, safety checked, and ready to go, it's a quick one minute ride up the elevators to the Edgewalk level, where your harness is atteched to a couple of ropes and a trolley, and then it's out this door we go!

Door to Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

Our group lines up below waiting to take our first steps.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

And we're off…

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

Wow: that's a view! 1168 feet up, or 356 metres.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

It's after the photo above, and before the one below, that the question of comfort level was was put to me in the video segment above. Tom and Jordan had already leant back over the edge, and I did let go of the rope not long after the video ends. I did not manage to let go with quite the abandon the others did, but neither did I ever feel unsafe. The fun of gettng up there though is best exemplified by this moment from Carly's turn to let go:

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

After Carly, Zebunissa does the same, and we give a wave to people wacthing us from above in the SkyPod.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

All of these shots from exiting the door onward are from a camera mounted on the helmut of our guide. From it each participant receives a DVD with about 12 minutes of footage from the half hour walk, along with photos of the experience. 

After the hanging-over intro to the walk, it was on to the leaning-out part. Jordan displays the proper form here.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

I thought at the time that I was doing okay, but the camera doesnt lie: what's up with not getting all angular?

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

Despite me looking awkward on camera, I had great fun. The moment is amongst our last outside, and we all would rather have stayed a little longer.

Edgewalk at the CN Tower Toronto

Walks don't happen when it's too windy to communicate easiy, nor when it's driving rain, nor if there's an electrical storm taking place. Some walks earlier in the day were fog shrouded, if that's what you can call it this high up. While we couldn't exactly see across all of the GTA or the lake, I don't believe the "variable" cloudiness during our time detracted from our walk. The experience won't quickly be forgotten, and I should be able to dine out on it for a couple of weeks. I just hope they'll let me up again so I can learn to lean out a little bit more! 

I took a number of other photos during my visit. As you cannot take a camera on the walk itself, the photos are all from before and after, and I have posted the best of them here. They include many shots of the following group of walkers as we looked 100 metres down on them from the SkyPod above.

As of when we walked yesterday, Edgewalk was fully booked for its first two days on August 1st and 2nd, and there are already over 2000 bookings in place for the rest of the season. There are lots of openings left though, so you should not have any trouble securing a reservation at a time that suits you. All the information you could want on the walk can be found at www.edgewalkcntower.ca, including all the fine print you might be wondering about.

Cheers to our little group of walkers and our guides!

If you are intersted in reading more, permit us to suggest the following:

Carly Maga's take at Torontoist.

Tom Ryaboi's take at BlogTO.

Lisa Yeung's take at AOL. It's Lisa's group that you can see edgewalking in my Flickr set linked above.