The CN Tower, of Toronto Canada, was considered the "7th Engineering Wonder of the New World". Over 1537 workers toiled
around the clock for 5 years in the early 1970s to bring this engineering marvel to completion. There
were no precedents nor "rule books" about how to design & build the (then) tallest free-standing structure
in the world (1815 feet). Many ground breaking architectural engineering advancements
were made, primarily by Canadians. Yet, for the next 40 years, these people were generally ignored, forgotten and swept under the rug. The long term focus
of this historical project is to bring due recognition to all the people who built the tower and to
rebuild a proper "modern, high quality" visual & textual history of the tower's design & construction timeline.
Unlike today's large engineering or architectural projects which are documented openly to
the public via social media, newspapers, magazines and TV documentaries, the CN Tower was
generally built in isolation from the media and the Canadian public. This ongoing project will rewind
time to 1972 and present its history as if there were DSLR-quality colour cameras & weekly social
media coverage available in that era.
The final project, including the biographies and histories of each main CN Tower person, will be
released over time to coincide with the tower's 45th and 50th anniversaries. This WEB page only
serves as a spring board to existing, online aspects of this project.
As homage to another similar Canadian endeavour, please visit the historical archive of
Expo '67 curated by John Whelan. You may also be interested
in the similar historical project about the original World Trade Center
and its replacement WTC-1.
| The Philosophical Argument for this Historical Project|
The primary and overarching argument for this project is that every major country has its
own cherished engineering & architectural landmarks. For example, England has the Tower Bridge; France has the
Eiffel Tower; the USA has the Hoover Dam, the recently rebuilt WTC-1 (the "Freedom" tower) and the prior NYC Twin Towers. Over
time these have all been fully documented in books and TV shows. But not in Canada. That's just not
what Canadians do!
Coming on the heels of our British heritage, Canadians tend to be complacent, indifferent, self-effacing
and overly modest. It has been said that "Before Canadians will believe that something is great, they require
confirmation by other nations, especially Americans". And since the CN Tower was not built in
America, it never did gain that global public respect.
Thus, the mission statement for this historical project is to:
- Recreate the tower's design & construction history as if it were being done today.
- Bring due recognition to the people who came to work on the tower - many have felt 'cast
aside & ignored'.
- Capture a compendium of history for future generations of Canadians to look back upon (especially
considering that the CN Tower has an expected life span of 300 years).
| A Visual Construction Timeline|
The first of three phases of the project was to rebuild a visual timeline of the CN Tower's
construction process, from December 1972 through to completion in 1976. The 22 collages were
released upon each construction milestone, 40 years after the fact, to Toronto's social media
networks between 2013 and 2016.
You can view the full sequence of collages online by clicking
here. Please make sure to read the descriptive
text under each image, especially in the latter half of the sequence which has a number of interesting
anecdotes and stories from the original CN Tower people.
| CN Tower Historical Presentation & Reunion of June 15th 2016|
June 26th 2016 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the CN Tower's completion. The author and
curator of this project presented a fascinating 90 minute slideshow tour of the people who came to
design + construct the CN Tower and how they did it. The visual tour began in 1957, lead through to
the early years of Metro Centre and proceeded through all phases of the tower's construction from 1972
through to 1976. It was attended by the core, original CN Tower people about whom the presentation
Photo 1: Top row, left to right: Gerry Morrow (CANRON engineer), Albert Ting (CANRON engineer) and Tony Di Giovanni (worked on the CN Tower along with his labour foreman brother Danny). Bottom row, left to right: Dr. Eli Robinsky (91, UofT professor and civil engineer. He ventured 150ft down 30" pipes in 1971-72 to investigate the foundation and risk his life in the process), George Rumble (he and his company excavated the CN Tower's foundation, 1972-1974), Andre Jordan (Foundation Co., overall project manager for the CN Tower, 1971-1976), Bob Bronstein (CANRON, site supervisor of the SkyPod, antenna and other 1974-1976 steel erection work).
Photo 2: Gerry Morrow (CANRON) showing off a portion of the CN Tower's original slipform plywood which was used to form the tower's shaft (June 1973 to March 1974). The framed fragment provided by Andre Jordan. Left to right = Gerry Morrow, Bob Bronstein, Andre Jordan and Eli Robinsky's wife Marisha.
As this presentation and its imagery content is copyrighted, it is not entirely available for online viewing nor redistribution at this time
(the following are small snapshots of the images from the slideshow). Rather, 22 of the 100 slides have been selectively chosen
from that presentation and made available online. Please click on any image below or click
here. A short textual description is also provided
along with each of the slides. They will provide you a cursory and (very much) simplified overview of the primary people who came
to design, manage and build the CN Tower between 1971 and 1976. These 22 slides were chosen to primarily reference the
people and not so much the construction process, as the latter 78 slides will be reserved for public presentations
of this material and/or future published works.
If your local Professional Engineers of Ontario or professional architects group would like to sponsor a talk then
please contact CNTowerHistory@gmail.com.
| Please Make A Photo Contribution|
With over 1537 people working on the tower, many of the original CN Tower people created photo
albums of their experiences on the tower site and then handed off these albums to their sons
and daughters. Since this CN Tower historical project revolves around the people who built the tower,
we are always looking to acquire photos showing these construction workers on the tower site from
1972 through to 1976. In particular, we are always looking for:
- Photographs and movies of the public signing their names on the last antenna segment at Harbourfront (March 1975)
- The antenna's "Topping Off" party held in the observation lounge of the TD Centre (April 2nd 1975)
- Opening day photographs and movies (June 26 1976)
- Any stories, photographs or movies from people who either worked on the tower directly or were related to people who worked on the tower (1972-1976)