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7 Modern Wonders of the World

CN Tower
The CN Tower was the world's tallest free-standing structure on land from 1975 until 2007.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Modern Wonders of the World
Dated Started: 2/06/1973
Date Finished: 6/26/1976
Height: Antenna-553.33 m (1,815.4 ft)
Height: Roof-457.2 m (1,500.0 ft)
 
7 Modern Wonders of the World
Toronto's CN Tower [1]

 

The CN Tower, located in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a communications and observation tower standing 553.33 metres (1,815.4 ft) tall. It surpassed the height of the Ostankino Tower while still under construction in 1975, becoming the tallest free-standing structure on land in the world. On September 12, 2007, after holding the record for 31 years, the CN Tower was surpassed in height by the still-under-construction Burj Dubai. It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas, the signature icon of Toronto's skyline, and a symbol of Canada, attracting more than two million international visitors annually.

CN originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. Following the railway's decision to divest non-core freight railway assets, prior to the company's privatization in 1995 it transferred the tower to the Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation responsible for real estate development. Since local residents wished to retain the name CN Tower, the abbreviation is now said to expand to Canada's National Tower rather than the original Canadian National Tower; however, neither of these names is commonly used.

In 1995, the CN Tower was declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers.


Construction

View of Downtown Toronto from the CN TowerConstruction on the CN Tower began on February 6, 1973 with massive excavations at the tower base for the foundation. By the time the foundation was complete, 56,000 t (61,729 ST; 55,116 LT) of dirt and shale were removed to a depth of 15 metres (49.2 ft) in the centre, and a base incorporating 7,000 cubic metres (9,156 cu yd) of concrete with 450 tonnes (496 ST; 443 LT) of rebar and 36 tonnes (40 ST; 35 LT) of steel cable had been built to a thickness of 6.7 metres (22.0 ft). This portion of the construction was fairly rapid, with only four months needed between the start and the foundation being ready for construction on top.

To build the main support pillar, a hydraulically-raised slipform was built at the base. This was a fairly impressive engineering feat on its own, consisting of a large metal platform that raised itself on jacks at about 6 metres (19.7 ft) per day as the concrete below set. Concrete was poured continuously by a team of 1,532 people until February 22, 1974, during which it had already become the tallest structure in Canada, surpassing the recently built Inco Superstack, which was built using similar methods. In total, the tower contains 40,500 cubic metres (52,972 cu yd) of concrete, all of which was mixed on-site in order to ensure batch consistency. Through the pour, the vertical accuracy of the tower was maintained by comparing the slip form's location to massive plumb-bobs hanging from it, observed by small telescopes from the ground. Over the height of the tower, it varies from true vertical accuracy by only 29 millimetres (1.1 in).


Brackets being raised, August 1974
The CN Tower as seen from its baseIn August 1974, construction of the main level commenced. Using 45 hydraulic jacks attached to cables strung from a temporary steel crown anchored to the top of the tower, twelve giant steel and wooden bracket forms were slowly raised, ultimately taking about a week to crawl up to their final position. These forms were used to create the brackets that support the main level, as well as a base for the construction of the main level itself. The Sky Pod was built of concrete poured into a wooden frame attached to rebar at the lower level deck, and then reinforced with a large steel compression band around the outside.

The antenna was originally to be raised by crane as well, but during construction the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter became available when the United States Army sold off theirs to civilian operators. The helicopter, named "Olga", was first used to remove the crane, and then flew the antenna up in 36 sections. The flights of the antenna pieces were a minor tourist attraction of their own, and the schedule was printed in the local newspapers. Use of the helicopter saved months of construction time, with this phase taking only three and a half weeks instead of the planned six months. The tower was topped off on April 2, 1975 after 26 months of construction, officially capturing the height record from Moscow's Ostankino Tower, and bringing the total mass to 118,000 tonnes (130,073 ST; 116,136 LT).

Two years into the construction, plans for Metro Centre were scrapped, leaving the tower isolated on the Railway Lands in what was then a largely abandoned light-industrial space. This caused serious problems for tourists to access the tower. Ned Baldwin, project architect with John Andrews, wrote at the time that "All of the logic which dictated the design of the lower accommodation has been upset," and that "Under such ludicrous circumstances Canadian National would hardly have chosen this location to build."


Opening
The CN Tower opened to the public on June 26, 1976, although the official opening date was October 1. The construction costs of approximately CDN$63 million ($330 million in 2005) were repaid in fifteen years. Canadian National Railway sold the tower prior to taking the company public in 1995, when they decided to divest themselves of all operations not directly related to their core freight shipping businesses.

As the area around the tower was developed, particularly with the introduction of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre (known as the SkyDome before 2005), the former railway "wasteland" disappeared and the tower became the centre of a newly developing entertainment area. Access was greatly improved with the construction of the SkyWalk in 1989, which connected the tower and SkyDome to the nearby railway and subway station, Union Station. By the mid-1990s, it was the centre of a thriving tourist district. The entire area continues to be an area of intense building, notably a boom in condominium construction in the 2000s.

From 1997 to January 2004, TrizecHahn Corporation managed the building and instituted several expansion projects including a $26 million entertainment expansion and revitalization that included the addition of two new elevators (to a total of six) and the relocation of the staircase from the north side leg to inside the core of the building, a conversion that also added nine stairs to the climb.


Structure

A bolt of lightning strikes the CN Tower. The CN Tower is struck by lightning at least 40 to 50 times annually compared to other places in Toronto which are struck, on average, 2 times per km2 (5 times per sq mi) every year.The CN Tower consists of several substructures. The main portion of the tower is a hollow concrete hexagonal pillar containing the six elevators, stairwells, and power and plumbing connections. On top of this is a 102-metre (334.6 ft) tall metal broadcast antenna, carrying TV and radio signals. There are two visitor areas: the main deck level (formerly known as SkyPod) located at 346 metres (1,135 ft), and the higher Sky Pod (formerly known as "Space Deck") at 446.5 metres (1,465 ft),[9] just below the metal antenna. The hexagonal shape can be seen between the two areas; however, below the main deck, three large supporting legs give the tower the appearance of a large tripod.

The main level is seven stories, some of which are open to the public. Below the public areas — at 338 metres (1,108.9 ft) — is a large white donut-shaped radome containing the structure's microwave receivers. The glass floor and outdoor observation deck are at 342 metres (1,122.0 ft). The glass floor has an area of 24 square metres (258 sq ft) and can withstand a pressure of 4,100 kilopascals (595 psi). The floor's thermal glass units are 64 millimetres (2.5 in) thick, consisting of a pane of 25-millimetre (1.0 in) laminated glass, 25 millimetres (1.0 in) airspace and a pane of 13-millimetre (0.5 in) laminated glass. Some people experience acrophobia when standing on the glass floor and looking down at the ground 342 metres (1,122.0 ft) below. In 2008, one elevator was upgraded to add a glass floor panel, believed to have the highest vertical rise of any elevator equipped with this feature. The Horizons Cafe and the lookout level are at 346 metres (1,135.2 ft). The 360 Restaurant, a revolving restaurant that completes a full rotation once every 72 minutes, is at 351 metres (1,151.6 ft). When the tower first opened, it also featured a disco named Sparkles, billed as the highest disco and dance floor in the world.

The Sky Pod is the second-highest public observation deck in the world, surpassed only by the Shanghai World Financial Center. On a clear day, it is possible to see 100 to 120 kilometres (62–75 mi) away, to the city of Rochester across Lake Ontario in the United States, the mist rising from Niagara Falls, or the shores of Lake Simcoe.

A metal staircase reaches the main deck level after 1,776 steps, and the Sky Pod 100 metres above after 2,579 steps; it is the tallest metal staircase on Earth. These stairs are intended for emergency use only and are not open to the public, except for three times per year for charity stair-climb events. The average climber takes approximately 30 minutes to climb to the base of the radome, but the fastest climb on record is 7 minutes and 52 seconds in 1989 by Brendan Keenoy, an Ontario Provincial Police Officer. In 2002, Canadian Olympian and Paralympic champion Jeff Adams climbed the stairs of the tower in a specially designed wheelchair. [2]

A trip up and view from the CN Tower in Toronto Canada from July 2002.

  IrishFlukey
February 17, 2007

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References
 
1.Flickr-CN Tower-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/20/2009
2. Wikipedia-CN Tower-retrieved 7/20/2009 
 
 
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