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I did what? Toes over Toronto

By Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter
Friday, June 21, 2013, 8:29 AM

This certificate is to declare that you

Andrea Bagley

have experienced the thrill of a lifetime by completing the EdgeWalk at the CN Tower, and are welcomed into an exclusive group. You walked 150 metres outside around the circumference of the observation desk at a height of 356 metres above the ground with no handrails, solidifying your legacy as a true EdgeWalker.

I did WHAT? For someone with an extreme fear of heights, I'd say I definitely climbed to a new level at the CN Tower Edgewalk on June 12.

Going back to the beginning of the month, there were talks about shooting a Weather Network segment at the CN Tower. After confirming that a few on air personalities (@jwhittalTWN, @chris_m_twn, @Michelle_TWN) would brave the EdgeWalk, the next question was, "Andrea, how about you?" Trying to keep my composure while completely shuttering inside, my response at the time was, "let me think about that one." I fully admit there was absolutely no pressure to do it, but deep down inside I thought, how can I not? It's all about being a team player, but was I really willing to risk my life?

Dramatic? YES! But the thought of falling over that edge crossed my mind many, many times.

Knowing I had until June 21 to decide, I felt better knowing an immediate answer wasn't necessary at the time...
Or so I thought.

June 10, plans have changed, and the segment will be shot at the CN Tower Wednesday. Wednesday?!!! My time is up, a decision has to be made, what do I do?

Okay I'm in! Quick. sign me up before I end up changing my mind.

Getting closer

After a fairly restless Tuesday night, the morning of Wednesday, June 12 came pretty quick. It was the day I'd face my fears and stand 1,168 feet above ground.

Jaclyn and I stand at the base, realizing the true scale and size of the building

Jaclyn and I stand at the base, realizing the true scale and size of the building

Thankful to be driving alongside morning show host Jaclyn Whittal, we were able to keep our minds (and nerves) occupied by talking about everything except for the looming EdgeWalk. Still, the view of the CN Tower continued to get closer and closer.

Before we knew it we were standing at the base of the monster building we were about to climb.

It really is an amazing view, especially with your feet firmly and safely planted on the ground.

Trying to keep myself distracted, I gathered some interesting weather facts about the CN Tower.

  • It gets hit by lightning approximately 75 times a year.
  • The temperature at 356 metres up is two to three degrees colder than what it is at ground level.
  • Winds are three to four times gustier at the EdgeWalk level than on the ground.

I know what you're thinking-- quit trying to avoid the inevitable.

It's time. Time to experience one of the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 1.5 metre wide ledge encircling the top of the tower’s main pod.

Sweaty palms and a racing heart, the good news is I wasn't alone.

Joined by five other members of The Weather Network team, the feeling was mutual, we were nervous.
Some however, a lot less than others.

Although Chris Murphy thought he was just there for a nice lunch, we were all able to support each other and keep spirits high.

Safety check after safety check, the EdgeWalk staff certainly makes you feel secure.

My harness was tightened and inspected at least 10 times, but for some reason I couldn't help but think, what if? What if something loosens or unfastens somehow?

Stepping out on the edge

There's no more time for second guessing or backing out, we're in the elevator quickly climbing to the top.

With nothing more than a strong safety line attached to my harness, the slow and painful walk to the platform began.

To say my knees were trembling would be a complete understatement. There were actually times during that initial walk out where I really didn't think my legs would move.

Another startling moment was watching a plane take off from Toronto's Pearson Airport. Have you ever stood ABOVE a plane? A pretty weird feeling to say the least.

I thought to myself that if I could even just make it out on the ledge that would be a big enough accomplishment.

But, the next thing I knew, I'm hanging backwards off the CN Tower.

Looking back at this, I can't help but think...am I NUTS?

Looking back at this, I can't help but think...am I NUTS?

Leaning forward was a bit of a different story and although every one else in our group did it, my own attempt was rather wimpy.

"Great job Andrea, you're at the edge, now how about letting go of your rope?" 

I thought to myself, is our tour guide crazy? She wants me to tempt fate and let go of the only rope holding me in? After a few deep breaths and what I thought could be a final look at the city beneath my toes, I let go (although it was only for a few brief seconds).

Following a series of dare devil activities, the rest of the time was spent admiring the view.

At that point I felt free, peaceful and almost at ease and I knew this was an experience like no other. It was a chance to face one of my greatest fears and experience the world on a whole new level. Flooded with emotion and feeling physically drained, I realized life really is too short not to enjoy exceptional moments like these.

"So you guys made it all the way around the top of the CN Tower, but now we're going to have to head back in."

What? It's over? 30 minutes of my life that I thought I would dread, turned into a short time I never wanted to end.

Take it from me-- Face your fears and find your dare devil within. It's something you'll be grateful to relive over and over again.

WE SURVIVED! Experience of a lifetime

WE SURVIVED! Experience of a lifetime

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