Tales from the Anti-Adventurist: Vanessa Takes on the World’s Tallest Inclined Tower (and wins!)
The Montreal Tower Observatory is a world record holder...
Move over, Leaning Tower of Pisa. Step aside, Towers of Bologna. I tackled the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the tallest inclined tower – and I won!
At 165 meters high, and angled at 45 degrees, the Montreal Tower Observatory is indeed a world record holder, and by quite a bit. Its more famous cousin, in Pisa, is only a paltry 3.99 degrees. Designed as part of the 1967 Olympic Park, the Tower is now at the center of a large recreation and tourism complex whose neighbours include the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Insectarium, the Biodome, and the Plantarium.
The Tower boasts panoramic views of up to 80 kilometers on a clear day – but to get there I first had to brave the funicular. The glassed-in funicular takes two minutes to rise to the top of the Tower’s enclosed observation deck and I have to admit to feeling a bit apprehensive at first. I am not the kind of girl who seeks out things with “world’s steepest” in the description. To my surprise, I was fine! Perhaps these anti-adventure experiences are toughening me up! If anything, I felt that rising on an incline was much less scary than doing so straight up and down. It didn’t feel we were as high as we were and I didn’t have the sensation of being launched far up into the sky – which is perhaps a detriment to others but a definite plus for me! If anything, the assent was rather subdued affair, with very little adrenaline required on my part.
Now, time has not necessarily been kind to the Montreal Olympic complex. The classic 1960s architecture has aged into a dry, dull, grey expanse, favoring neither sports glory nor the beauty of Montreal. Fortunately, the incredible panoramic view offers appealing prospects once you look beyond the Olympic compound and we could see the entirety of the city, the rivers, and even the mountains in the far distance. It was great to take in the splendor of the Montreal and get a good sense for its layout and development over time.
The greatest deterrent to visiting the Montreal Tower Observatory isn’t its height or the funicular ride, but rather the cost. The price of $22.50 per adult is sky high – if you’ll pardon the pun. While the ride and views are pleasant and interesting, they certainly don’t warrant this price point (nor, in fact, their mysterious 3 Michelin stars, the highest rating of any tourist attraction). Those who are interested in visiting should only do so on a very clear day so they get the best value for their dollar. Several tourism brochures and magazines contain $5 coupons and discount prices are offered when the Tower visit is combined with other nearby attractions such as the worthy Botanical Garden or Insectarium.
Those interested in photography, city planning, urban development, engineering, or sports history are likely to find the price point more palatable as compared to the average visitor who is just interested in exploring the city.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Are you attracted to world record holders? Would you pay more to visit these kinds of sites?
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My tour was free as part of a visit with Montreal Tourism. This did not affect my review and all opinions remain my own.
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