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:
Three-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:
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:
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:
You 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!