In early October 2007 Megan asked me if we could climb the CN Tower. I didn’t know, but told her I would look into it. I found out that The Toronto United Way holds a climb for fundraising every October. Alun expressed an interest in going, too. I researched how many stairs had to be climbed – 1776 – and told them I would take them if they climbed up and down our stairs at home, without stopping, for an equivalent number of steps. They did and that began, for me, and at least one of my children, the annual CN Tower climb.
Since then we have become more formal in our preparation and climb the stairs at the parking garage of Brampton Civic Hospital to practice.
This year, Trystan and Owen, and my nephews, Jason and Ryan, joined me. Jason and Ryan slept over so we could get an early start. Those arriving before 7am get a buy one, get one free pass to come back to the tower to use the elevator. Up until 2012, it was a free pass for each climber.
The alarm was set for 5:30am. I hadn’t slept well, so I was awake before it went off and was able to turn it off and not disturb Michael. I woke the kids, fed them breakfast and we were off by 6:15. The drive to Toronto doesn’t take long at that time on a Saturday morning. We pulled into a parking spot under the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre by 6:55 and were entering Hall C in time to get the BOGO passes.
Jason and Ryan did not have their pledges in the system by October 8, as required to join the “fully registered” line to hand in waivers and receive timing chips, so we lined up in the “partially registered” line which was a little longer. It turned out their chips were set up and we could have joined the shorter line.
We agreed that Trystan and Jason could go ahead as quickly as they could manage, separately if they wished, but that Ryan, Owen and I would climb together.
Jason had the best time for our little group and a personal best of 16:54. He was hoping to beat Alun’s record of 16:42 set in 2011, but missed it by 12 seconds. He stumbled and fell a few floors from the top otherwise he might have knocked Alun from his perch.
Owen came in second with 24:05 surging ahead of me after about 80 floors compared to 22:48 last year which was his personal best.
We caught up to Trystan at about the 50th floor. He was very thirsty and started to feel a bit nauseated, so he and Ryan and I climbed together the rest of the way. Trystan had a personal best of 27:15. It was Ryan’s first climb with a respectable 27:20. I finished with the same time as Ryan. One of these years, they’ll all be faster than me and I will be able to find out just how fast I can actually climb the tower. My personal best is the same as Owen’s, 22:48. My goal is to do it under 20 minutes some day.
It was Ryan’s first time up the tower so we looked around for a while before heading down. The view was better than I had expected as the forecast rain didn’t happen. Once we returned to Hall C we picked up our t-shirts and had this picture taken. Then we headed to McDonalds (the kids’ choice) for second breakfast.
We got home in time to change and head to skating lessons, dropping Jason and Ryan off on the way. With the quick turn-around, Owen forgot his skate bag and had to watch Trystan from the stands.
Once we returned home, I spent a lazy afternoon in bed.