on November 24, 2010
Calgary Tower is a popular lookout and a landmark in Calgary, Alberta. The tower is 191 meters tall (to the top of the spire), and the observation deck – which is what matters – is at 160 meters; so not particularly high in the rankings of towers or buildings, but still reasonable for a lookout over what is pretty spread out but mostly low-rise outside the downtown very core. The tower stands in the middle of downtown Calgary and is normally accessed by a lift (though they have a race up the 700+ steps and during the Calgary Stampede, a horse is led up those steps!). There are two ways to pay for the view from Calgary Tower: you can buy an admission ticket for 14 CAD (at the time of writing in 2010) per adult, 6 CAD per child under 12 years old or 40 CAD per family. Or you can book a table and eat a meal in the Sky 360 revolving restaurant. Each person needs to buy a main course, and it's possible to spend only a few dollars more than the admission ticket price if you are disciplined. The food is not great, but perfectly edible and if you were going to both "do the tower" and eat out in town, you will save money this way.The views from the observation deck are very good. The city spreads out below the tower in its wide sprawl (Calgary takes up the area of New York while having less than a tenth of New York's population), the Bow river can be traced in its course, and on a fine day you will be able to see all the way to the mountains. This is the Holy Grail of this part of Canada, and our first glimpse of the snowy, craggy, out-of-this-world tops of the Rockies, raising tantalisingly in a long line at the very horizon west of us.Apart from the views towards the Rockies, the biggest attraction of the Calgary Tower is the glass floor. This is included in the entry ticket price, and is excellent. Unlike the glass floor in Toronto's CN Tower, Calgary one is not just floor, extending out of the tower's side, but also glass wall from the floor up. This gives a very strong impression of walking in the air and, especially as the glass is much clearer than the CN Tower glass floor, the whole experience is much more scary to walk on initially – and much more fun after you conquer the initial fear. As far as lookout towers go, Calgary Tower was pretty good, and probably one of the two best ones we visited during our travels in Canada and Australia.
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