Bold Statements

5 08 2008

My father took this photo when the CN Tower was under construction in 1974. The Burj Dubai recently surpassed the CN Tower as the world’s tallest structure, beating it out by some several hundred meters. Too bad for Toronto.

The CN Tower under construction in 1974 - photo by Robert Young

The CN Tower under construction in 1974 - photo by Robert Young

But it makes me wonder what it must have felt like in Toronto in the ’70s to see something like this go up. What must it have done for civic pride? How did it change the identity of Toronto?

I suppose some people inevitably don’t like this sort of thing. Many Parisians apparently hated the Eiffel Tower when it first went up, before it became the unimpeachable symbol of the city.

But it seems like a tremendous statement about a city and its attitude, to me. Bold cities make statements like these.

Of course, I suppose foolish cities might also make these sorts of statements.

A city like Edmonton would need to change a lot before it could ever convincingly pull off a statement such as the CN Tower. But it could certainly use an injection of that daring and inventive spirit.

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