‘Hugely important:’ CN Tower reopens for the first time in months as mayor heralds return of visitors downtown

TORONTO — The CN Tower is reopening today for the first time in months and Mayor John Tory says that it is a “hugely important” milestone when it comes to bringing vibrancy back to Toronto’s downtown core.

The iconic tourist attraction closed its doors on Oct. 3 amid a rise in COVID-19 cases but with Ontario now in Step 3 of the Ford government’s reopening plan it can welcome back visitors once again, albeit at a reduced capacity.

The reopening of the CN Tower comes one day ahead of the reopening of another major downtown tourist attraction that has been shuttered for months – the Ripley’s Aquarium.

The Toronto Blue Jays are also set to make their return to the city on July 30 when they will play before a crowd of 15,000 fans.

“All areas of the city have been hard hit by the pandemic obviously including a lot of small businesses on Main Streets but the downtown has probably been the hardest hit as people worked from home and we have hundreds of thousands of people who come to this part of the city every day and they haven’t been coming,” Tory said during an event to mark the reopening of the CN Tower on Friday morning.

“I think the return to Toronto of the Blue Jays and the opening of the CN Tower right in the heart of downtown is hugely important as a symbol but also hugely important in terms of animating this part of the city again and having people come back to the bars and the restaurants and the hotels and other businesses in the downtown because that is probably one of the biggest single economic challenges we have in front of us.”

The CN Tower typically welcomes 10,000 to 12,000 guests through its doors on a typical day in the summer but due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions it will only be selling 2,500 tickets per day and admission will be staggered.

Officials say that ticket sales have been robust so far and that the popular EdgeWalk attraction is already sold out for the tower’s first day back in business.

They say that there has also been a steady stream of reservations for the tower’s 360 Restaurant for once it resumes operations on July 29.

Meanwhile, as part of the reopening the federal government has announced that it will invest $21 million in renovating the tower’s outdoor terrace and various other changes to maximize indoor viewing capacity. The money will help improve accessibility while also paying for a new and uninterrupted glass floor 113 storeys above the city’s downtown.

“I would just like to say on a personal level that we held my daughter’s 12th birthday here and in fact her 13th as well since we had such a time the first time and I can only imagine that the enhancements that Canada Lands is putting into the CN tower will improve the experience for all Canadians and tourists who come to this incredible venue,” Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said during Friday’s ceremony.

“These enhancements will provide visitors a new experience to explore this symbol of our country and this national icon.”

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