Journey to the Top of the CN Tower: Tale of a (Recovering) Acrophobe

Posted by Marisa on March 15, 2013

The cool part about working in video production is that you never know where it will take you. I love this part of my job! A few weeks ago, I flew to Toronto, an enormous city with over 2.5 million people. I had a long list of things I wanted to do, but only a few hours of free time between shoots. After deliberating a while, I decided I’d like to visit one incredibly epic attraction: The CN Tower.

Known as “Canada’s Wonder of the World,” it soars a whopping 1,800 feet (or 113 floors) over the heart of the city. I knew it would be a cool journey to the top, but there was one pretty big problem: I’m absolutely terrified of heights. It’s really hard to be reasonable about a phobia, since it’s irrational by nature. But the more I thought about it, the more it became a personal challenge—a chance to step outside my comfort zone. I may be afraid of heights, but I love a challenge.

Driving into downtown Toronto felt like driving into a scene from Blade Runner (minus the flying cars). I could see the tower extending above the rest of the skyline like a purple and red giant, and the closer I got, the faster my heart began to race. It was so tall. A few feet away from the entrance, I noticed that my hands were clammy and shaking.

“No way,” I thought, and ducked into the bar next door. But, a shot of whiskey later, I was back on the street with new resolve. I refused to look up as I bought the ticket. There, I learned a portion of the elevator was made of glass, so you can see the city on your way up. My stomach plummeted.

Then came the good news: It only takes 58 seconds to get to the top. I could endure anything for 58 seconds, I figured, so I handed over my ticket and went through security. My hands were shaking so badly that I couldn’t even work my camera. Luckily, the elevator operator felt bad for me, and kindly offered to take me again so I could get some shots. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen! For 34 years (until 2007), the CN tower held the record for tallest free-standing structure in the world—and now, I can proudly say, I’ve been to the top!