The Tallest Building in the World – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I woke up and puttered around taking my sweet time getting ready before setting out. Armed with a map and some snacks, I ventured out to conquer downtown Toronto. I walked down through Chinatown inhaling the unique pungent flavors that define their culture so well. I crunched on an apple as I tried to take in all the wares in every shape and color and some I had never heard of. I have decided that if I want something ethnic, I should just go to that country to get it. It`s just more special that way. So I guess there will be a trip to Chinacountry rather than Chinatown if I really want that special silk or handmade fan. The prices were cheap cheap but even so, I curbed any desire to “acquire.” Not quite yet. If only for the fact that I am in a space deficit situation critical when it comes to stuff. I have for the first time in my life, popped the seams on a suitcase. I ambled my way past the coffee shops and splashy storefronts, all the while keeping the oh-so tall CN Tower in my viewpoint.

One day, when I was 12 my mom came home from work and asked me if I would like to go on a plane (my first time) to Toronto all by myself. Her boss had given her a ticket but it had one catch. I had to leave that night. After about 30 seconds, I got past the initial freak out and began looking forward to my first big trip. As kids logic goes, even if the whole thing went terribly wrong, I would still get a week off school. And THAT is the primary goal of anyone under 15 no matter what they tell you. I guess it has and always will be the pleasure-pain principle. In fact, the plane could be crashing down, and I would still be thinking with a smug smile “Hey, at least I got out of going to school!”

I would be picked up by an aunt that I didn`t know and hang out for a week in my mothers` birthplace. I can recall only a few tidbits from that visit but I know I watched the Weather Channel a lot, heard the song Don`t Worry Be Happy constantly, and went to the CN Tower. I remember being absolutely crushed when I couldn`t see Edmonton from the top because it was “too hazy”. Somewhere inside me I must have known my aunt was putting me on with the whole idea but when you want to believe something bad enough, well…I am a pretty optimistic person. It took me a while to come to terms with the truth of the situation but now, I was remembering this time like it was yesterday.

In the same place, a lifetime later, I looked up begging the impending clouds to stay away for just a little while longer…just in case… I caught a glimpse of myself in a window recognising those big brown eyes filled with wishes and heard a little voice whisper with a chuckle “Oh Carmella, you`re eternally hopeful.” I love that about me. I will always have hope. I will never stop believing. And that is something NO one can take away. It is the strongest, most powerful thing I have.

The CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the world at 533 meters. Before passing through, I had to go through a very strange security check. I stood apprehensively in a star trek like passageway getting blasts of air shot at high speeds up and down the length of my body. I guess I didn`t need to waste time blow-drying my hair this morning after all. I zoomed up in the glass elevator, which takes under a minute to get to the main observation deck. I watched the city get smaller and bigger at the same time. It wasn`t very busy with tourists so there was no queue and minimal bumpage. I listened to the different languages being spoken around me and tried to guess where they were from. There was a baseball game going on below in the skydome with a surprisingly good turnout considering it was a weekday afternoon. I visited glass floor and looked down. Yup, I am pretty high up…just as I suspected. I thought how funny it would be if they painted a big bullseye down there, just for the benefit of those terrified of heights.

Next, I prepared myself for the moment of truth. I planted myself squarely and turned on my concentration to overdrive. A little kid stopped to observe me curiously as I strained and squinted with all that I had. Well…the verdict is in. All the hope in the world cannot make me able to see West Edmonton Mall from the CN Tower. Not even with the binoculars. Not even my SAVEM (Superhero Advanced Visual Enhancement Mechanisms) could save the day. No, I realize that nothing can move those clouds if they don`t want to. Darn it. Maybe next time the weather will co-operate. 😉

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