The CN Tower might be one of our country's top tourist attractions, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors a year, but that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement. As any local will tell you, ascending what was once the world's tallest freestanding structure can be exhilarating but it can also test your patience.
Here are the worst things about visiting the CN Tower in Toronto.
The ticket prices
Visiting the CN Tower doesn't come cheap with adult prices clocking in at $35 and kids costing $25. What's worse is there are no discounts for families meaning a family of four will have to pony up more than $125. And this doesn't even include access to the SkyPod which will set you back an additional $12 person.
The online ticketing process
The CN Tower's web site will sell you tickets but only at a meager discount - and it won't really save you time. While you can avoid the ticket lines (which generally move rather quickly) you'll instead need to line up at Guest Services which might actually take longer. Also, online tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance but you can now buy same-day tickets on your phone on-site.
On busy weekend afternoons waiting times to enter the CN Tower can take well in excess of an hour, and this doesn't even include the separate security lineup where you get scanned for explosives. Lineups are admittedly a fact of life but what would be helpful is if the CN Tower found a way to display current waiting times at the entrance and on their web site.
The obnoxious photo up-sells
If the lineups aren't frustrating enough, staff make you pass through a green screen on your way to the elevators where you're forced to decline getting your photo taken because who really wants to buy a photoshopped portrait of themselves hanging off the CN Tower?
The missing glass floors in the elevators
The CN Tower has six amazing high speed elevators that take you to the LookOut Level in 58 seconds. But did you know only some of these have glass floors? You're likely to be a bit miffed after your long wait if you get one that doesn't provide half the view.
Once you've braved the lineup and ascended the tower you'll need to fight for a spot on the always popular glass floor or gently wedge yourself in to get a prime view.
The lack of a clear view
Safety is paramount when it comes to the CN Tower so the fact that the views out the windows are slightly obstructed should come with the territory. But how about those days when it's foggy out or visibility is limited? Discounted tickets for bad weather days don't seem like such a bad idea.
The viewing machines
It's nice that the CN Tower has a handful of hi-spy viewing machines but it would be even better if they worked well or didn't require a toonie to use. Updating them to more modern technology including a way to tap and pay with a credit card should be on the to-do list.
Even though the CN Tower opens at 9 a.m. the restaurant doesn't open until two hours later. In this brunch-crazed city they're missing out on what could be the world's best breakfast with a view. Also, what's with the uninspired offerings at their cafe?
There's not that much to do
Assuming you don't pony up for the SkyPod, eat at the 360 Restaurant or risk your life on the EdgeWalk, you're going to wonder how you can possibly spend more time in the tower than you spent waiting in line to go up it. It also doesn't help that they got rid of the screening rooms that used to be on the ground floor.
What's missing from the list? Add more suggested improvements to the comments.
Photo by Gregory Thiel in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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