Guest Author - Janet Collins
No trip to Calgary, Alberta, would be complete without a trip to the top of the Calgary Tower. Built in 1968, the Tower is the best to get a view of city and the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
The Tower soars to a height of 627 feet. At the time of construction, it was the tallest structure in Canada, although it was surpassed that same year (prior to the completion of the Calgary Tower) by the Toronto-Dominion Centre in Toronto. Even so, the Calgary Tower holds an interesting record – for the longest continuous concrete pour. Prior to the Tower’s construction, the record pour of concrete in a 24-hour period was 39 feet. Construction on the Tower project started in February 1967, with the continuous pour of concrete commencing on May 5 of that year. The pour was finally completed a phenomenal 24 days later!
In 1988, when Calgary welcomed the world to the Olympic Winter Games, the Calgary Tower resembled an Olympic torch, thanks to the installation of a natural gas-fired cauldron at the top of the tower. A gas line, installed at the time of construction for the use in the restaurant and for heating the observation deck, restaurant, bar and grill, was used to fuel the flame. In preparation for the Olympics, the gas line was extended through the roof and a burner was added to create the cauldron. The flame continued to burn 24-hours a day throughout the 16-day event, consuming gas at a rate of 850 cubic metres per hour. The cauldron is still lit for special occasions such as Canada Day, New Year’s Day and other special city events. At night, the flame is visible from as far away 25 kilometres.
But it is the view from the Tower that creates the greatest impression – with the best vistas being toward the Rocky Mountains in the west. Closer in, local landmarks like the Pengrowth Saddledome, home of the NHL Calgary Flames hockey team, and Stampede Park, site of the annual Calgary Stampede, are easy to spot.
Unlike most towers of its type, the Calgary Tower boasts great views across and OVER the city, thanks to the installation of a glass floor on the Observation Terrace. Four panes of special glass inserted into the floor – an area measuring 36 feet long and 4 feet wide – affords visitors a safe (fully enclosed) true bird’s-eye view over 9th Avenue SW and Centre Street North.
Those who work up an appetite while taking in the view can find refreshment at the Tower’s revolving restaurant, The Panorama Dining Room, or for a more relaxed atmosphere check out Tops Grill.
Ask about special seniors rates when purchasing tickets.