Top Toronto Attractions Re-Open

July 22, 2020 Jim Byers

One of the most recognized landmarks in Canada has re-opened to the public along with a wonderful shrine to hockey and a snappy museum for shoes.

Folks are once again able to ride an elevator into the sky high above Toronto and enjoy a visit to the renowned CN Tower.

I was lucky enough to have a tour on to see how they’re prepared to welcome visitors in this new world of ours. And I came away impressed with the health and safety measures they’ve prepared.

“We’ve done everything possible to make sure the experience is still a positive one,” said Jennifer Paige, who handles media relations for the tower. “The comfort and safety of our guests, and our employees, is our first priority.”

A normal summer’s day might bring 12,000 people to the tower, but Paige said they’ll likely be at about 30% capacity today, which would mean around 4,000 visitors.

All tickets have been sold on a timed basis, so guests will have prescribed times to visit. That keeps crowding to a minimum and gives guests a good deal more space to enjoy the sights and views, which impress me every time I manage a trip up the tower.

There also are limits on the number of people in an elevator, and there are prescribed pathways to avoid crowding.

Hand sanitizers are present all over, and they even have built-in temperature gauges in the check-in area so they know if there are potential problems. They don’t know guests’ names, Paige said, and the information on temperatures is not kept on file.

Guests are asked to sign a form so they know who’s come and gone for tracing purposes.

All staff will be wearing masks, and guests are supposed to have one, too.

The main observation area sits at 346 meters (1,136 feet), while the Sky Pod (extra charge) is way up at 447 meters (1,465 feet).

“We’re still the highest observation deck in the western hemisphere,” Paige said.

The Edge Walk, where folks are secured with strong chains and lean out over the city, isn’t open just yet but could be operating by Aug. 1.

The gift shop, which has been given a jazzy new, bright feel and sells tons of nice-looking merchandise, will be open today. Shoppers also can make their purchases online.

One great addition a little while ago was the 114 stories program, which features great stories about Toronto’s history. I spotted displays on Union Station, the Toronto Islands, The Royal York Hotel, and other spots. Why 114? That’s the height of the tower in storeys.

Another cool feature is a CN Tower app that allows visitors to check their phones and see exactly what they’re looking at, so they know that the fun building with the coloured pencil stilts is the Ontario College of Art and Design or that the tall, gold tower downtown is the Royal Bank of Canada building (with real gold on the windows, in case you didn’t know).

Paige said staff, many of which have been with the tower for several decades, have done a series of tests to make sure everything works smoothly today.

“We’ve gone over the place bottom to top to eliminate bottlenecks.”

Food and beverage operations at the tower aren’t running yet, but they’re preparing the 360 restaurant (amazing views) for when they can bring in diners. Paige said there’s a new menu in place and that the head chef is firmly committed to farm-to-table cuisine.

“Almost everything we serve comes from within 100 km,” she said.

Paige said it’s a great time for folks to visit.

“We want Torontonians to come and fall in love with their city again. We want them to see the tower as an iconic feature of the country and the city.”

The Hockey Hall of Fame (tremendous) and the Bata Shoe Museum (highly engaging), The Riverdale Park farm and the High Park Zoo are all now open. That’s great news for Toronto residents and families looking to entertain the kids.

Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (PHOTO: Jim Byers)

Ripley’s Aquarium, which sits at the base of the CN Tower, has been open for a while now and is also a terrific place to check out.

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