… and there’s Chinatown in the middle of that soccer field.

Posted on September 11th, 2009 8 great comments. Room for one more!

I just had to visit the CN Tower eventually, and with the coupon graciously donated by a fellow stargazer at Thursday’s TIFF event, the decision to go tonight came easily.

I hadn’t been there since … jeez, I can’t even remember. I have vivid memories of going on the Tour of the Universe ride with my family so it’s probably close to twenty years now. God I’m getting old.

The tower obviously hasn’t changed much structurally, but they did add some bells and whistles to get people’s attention.

The most visible change is the one on the outside — the light show that the tower puts on at night. Surprisingly, this isn’t achieved through spotlights or involve any gerbils; it’s done using hundreds of small panels (about the width, height, and depth of a pad of legal paper), of ultra-bright LEDs.

The inside isn’t terribly different (from memory), but fun bits like the glass floor have been kept intact:

oh look ... a crackThree-hundred and fifty meters (eleven-hundred feet) straight down to a squishy, high-velocity death. Depending on wind conditions, you might even plummet through the open dome of the Rogers Centre (the blue building), taking out a couple of Jays players in the process. You’d be doing them a favour — and I don’t even follow baseball!

But if you ask me, the glass floor is a cheap gimmick compared to the view on the observation deck:

yup .... riiiiight there. that's my place.This is north-east. City Hall is nestled in behind the Sheraton Centre (building at far left with red neon); Yonge Dundas Square is the bright white piece (slightly up and to the right of the Sheraton Centre); the Royal York on Front Street is in everybody’s face just like the queen likes it (building at right with red neon); and I keep my clothes, food,  Oliver, and a toilet somewhere in behind the BMO building (center, tallest building).

You try and you try but you just can’t seem to escape those with too few brain cells and too many mouths. One mouth, in many cases, is too many, but in my case it was two — a Philippino couple — and they were incorrectly identifying every street they pointed at. The girl went on and on about how Calgary, the city of lights, was better than Toronto, and how neither compared to Paris.  My brain hemorrhaged a little.

Thank the darkened heavens above I had something to distract me:

just like simcity; except i'm not allowed to bulldoze anything "(This is the corner of King and Simcoe. The brightly lit building at the bottom is the north end of Roy Thomson Hall where TIFF opened on Thursday; the green rooftop is the as-yet incomplete Ritz-Carlton; and the building facing us at left is the Elephant & Castle pub for people with fat wallets.

The Philipinno girl mentioned how this section of Bathurst seemed a lot different from this height. No no, retorted the boyfriend, this was was Front; Bathurst was further south. Now I had a full-on bleeder.

The lake side of the tower is not so thrilling at night. The sky’s black, the water’s black, and if it doesn’t have a lamp post sticking out of it, it might as well not exist:

the *perfect* place to dump a bodyYou know, for a city this size it’s shocking how few pervs hang around parks at night. That’s HTO Park and hardly a trench coat in sight. The “urban beach” concept here is a bit weird (especially in winter), but I suppose it beats sunbathing on concrete. And I’m sure all the neighbourhood cats love their giant litter box.

Unfortunately the tinted, smudged glass of the observation deck wasn’t ideal for all viewing. Do people really need to wipe their greasy hands all over the windows? Don’t you have a napkin or your girlfriend’s hair? Yeah, I’m talking to you, mister Bathurst-Street-is-in-the-lake.

I’ll have to visit again when they don’t allow special people into the tower. But even at night and with dopey conversation the place has a cool, aloof,  planning-a-bank-heist feel to it.

Of course, for that I’m going to have to enlist the help of George Clooney. I know he’s down there somewhere!

8 Comments on “ … and there’s Chinatown in the middle of that soccer field. ”

  • Dianne
    September 14th, 2009 5:55 pm

    Stunning pics :)) It's been about 8 years since I was last up the CN Tower, with my 4 y/o daughter. Since 9/11, my hubby has refused to go back, but I definitely think my son needs to experience it soon :)

    Read more from Dianne at: http://www.wahm-cafe.com
  • Patrick
    September 15th, 2009 6:04 am

    Thanks, Dianne.

    I actually went on 9/11 (this year) and not a single plane hit me, so I think it'll be fine. Besides, if your husband limits the way he lives his life based on fear then the terrorists have already won. I would go so far as to say that it's his patriotic duty to visit the CN Tower!

    He's not a commie, is he?!

  • Grace
    September 15th, 2009 6:11 am

    I love cities, especially at night. Those are simply smashing photos.

    Read more from Grace at:
  • Patrick
    September 15th, 2009 6:19 am

    Well thanks, Grace. I like cities at night too. The whole place is man-made anyway, so artificial illumination suits them. They also take on a new character since the lighting now comes mostly from street level rather than above. And, of course, it's easier to find a place to pee when alleys are dark and hidden.

  • jj-momscashblog
    September 15th, 2009 9:26 am

    Hey Patrick, Glad I came over to check out your blog love it!! You have a mean sense of humor there and I love that also. Two for two so far. Now the pictures of your gorgeous city is just fantastic, although I think I got a little height sickness even sitting here in my chair. But overall I think you have a great site here and I'll definitely be back. jj

    Read more from jj-momscashblog at: http://momscashblog.com
  • Patrick
    September 16th, 2009 5:19 pm

    Thanks, jj. Pleasure to have your company.

  • Jakill
    September 15th, 2009 10:24 am

    Hi Patrick. This post takes me back a few years. I went up the tower when I visited Toronto way back. My daughter got her first nanny job in Unionville and the family invited me over for a visit. How about that? Then they went on holiday and left us the house to ourselves, their car, as well. Is everyone from Toronto as generous?

    Read more from Jakill at: http://jakill-jeansmusings.blogspot.com
  • Patrick
    September 16th, 2009 5:29 pm

    Wow. Well, Jakill, those poor Unionville people wouldn't do well in Toronto. It's just the law of averages; you cram more people together and you get a larger concentration of both good and bad people. Odds are that the house, the car, and/or the invite would be absconded with or used in unsavoury ways.

    Goes the other way too, though. I've seen people endanger their own lives to run onto a road and help a fallen cyclist. That seemed pretty civic. Strangers do help each other out and communities look out for one another.

    Torontonians just seem more skeptical.

What's on your mind?