Skip Canada’s #1 Tourist Site

View from CN Tower

Toronto is Canada’s biggest city and number 1 tourist destination. In Toronto, the CN Tower is the number 1 tourist site. Atop is a revolving restaurant, the 360. CN Tower is a tall needle that towers above many of the skyscrapers of Toronto. Atop the needle are 3 levels of viewing platforms and, also, the rotating restaurant. The highest observation point is called the Sky Pod, and it is served by a separate elevator that has high demand and must be reserved.

To get the observation platform views at CN Tower, you pay a hefty admission price, about $28, and have to wait on lengthy lines to get on the limited number of elevators. So, I was given a tip: make a reservation at the restaurant and get admission to the observation decks included with dinner. I thought this was a brilliant alternative. Dinner is a price fixed menu, around $50, or you can order a-la-carte.

My reservation for was 9 p.m., specifically chosen so that I could watch the sunset from the observation platform at 9 p.m. I arrived at the restaurant around 8:15 p.m., thinking I would be able to take in the sunset, only to face a long line at check in at the restaurant for those with reservations. Once I got to the front of the line, the maitre’d told me that all tables were taken, to come back at 9 p.m. Meantime, I was told to get my name on the list to access the elevator to the Sky Pod because there is usually an one and one half hour wait for that elevator.

Following directions, I got on the elevator list for 9:30 p.m., after waiting on a short line for that, too. Then I proceeded to take in the view, and sunset, from the other two observation decks. At 9 p.m., I returned to the restaurant only to find the line to get to the maitre’d was out the door. Fortunately, the maitre’d recognized my party as having checked in earlier and pulled us from the line, told us to wait on the side, and got us a table. But by the time we got the table, it was already 9:15 p.m. … no way we would make the elevator reservation. The maitre’d told us not to bother, as it wasn’t a substantially different view than on the other two platforms we had already visited. Good thing, because restaurant service was excruciatingly slow; it took until 10:30 p.m. to get served!

The elevators to the Sky Pod stop working at 10 p.m, so it was too late to go up there by the time we finished dinner. The food at 360 restaurant was worse than mediocre. My companion had undercooked duck, and my chicken was good, but stuffed with a fois gras that was so rich it overwhelmed the fowl.

All in all, this was not a pleasant experience. It would be better to pay for the observation deck and wait on the lines than to try to eliminate the lines with a restaurant reservation because you still have to wait an interminably long time, either for food or the elevator to the top platform. Whoever is in charge needs to come up with a much better way to systematize handling the enormous number of visitors to this mega-tourist site.

My tip: skip the CN Tower altogether and see the city of Toronto from a rooftop. The view is about the same. The restaurant food is disappointing. The time commitment to do this activity is obnoxious. Use the time saved to take in Toronto’s other main attraction … Niagara Falls, well worth whatever cost and time commitment.

2 Comments

  1. We didn’t have as long a wait as you did to go to the CN observation tower – maybe half hour – during the day.
    We didn’t try the restaurant. I don’t know what it is about these Needle restaurants – none of them seem to be very good. They are for the view only.

    1. I also don’t understand the allure of these revolving restaurants. The view is the same as going atop a high building and walking from one side to the other. If I were super lazy, I’d want a motorized system to move me from one side to the other. Otherwise, these attractions seem rather lame.

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