February 11, 2010
The CN Tower mississauga
Dar Jumping off the CN Tower, Dar Robinson, 1980 (source)


Everything I know, I learned from the CN Tower:


As a child, the CN Tower taught me about math. How many towers are there in the skyline? One. If a penny and a dime fall from the tower at the same time, which will hit the ground first? Theoretically they should hit at the same time, but I never tested this out for fear that the coins would hurt someone below.


As an awkward teenager, the CN tower taught me that it’s okay to be tall and skinny, and that skin blemishes happen to the best of us. After branding the tower with their logo, Pepsi failed to properly remove all of the adhesive leaving a pimply stain on the underside of the tower’s radome for over a decade.


As a young adult, leaving the country for graduate school, the CN Tower taught me to pay no attention to the tall poppy syndrome that would have me lower my ambitions in order to fit in with the local status quo. While a shorter version was initially planned, the taller tower anticipated the rapid growth of Toronto’s downtown skyscraper cluster and makes it a viable communications tower to this day.


The CN Tower taught me about space and time, as I recalibrated my location relative to its epicenter during my jaunts around town. It taught me about the value of money as I shelled over my last twenty dollars for a ride to the top. It taught me about reproduction through its phallic silhouette. It taught me about aging, through its patched concrete surface. More recently it taught me about birth, as it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa for the title of the tallest freestanding structure in the world.


E. Sean Bailey


The Absolute Towers, MAD, 2006 (source)


MAD are building what are arguably Mississauga’s second and third iconic buildings: The Absolute Towers (locally as ‘The Marilyn’, despite being a pair). They are located only a few seconds drive down the street from the city’s first iconic building: Jones and Kirkland’s postmodern Mississauga Civic Center. Since my last visit to the UAE, I can’t help but think of the parallels between Mississauga and Dubai. They are cities that rose from nothing to become major centers in under forty years. Both have abrupt high-rises that defy any logic related to density when considered in their sprawling contexts, ethnically diverse populations that love nothing more than to shop, and an abundance of Fortune 500 companies. Is Burnhamthorpe Road undergoing a slow transformation towards becoming the Sheikh Zayed Road of the Great White North?


Erandi de Silva




3 Responses to “CANADIAN”

  • E. Sean Bailey says:


    I only think this reasoning works if you consider Mississauga its own city, which it is not. Dubai is hyper density (visually) next to a dead landscape (the desert). Mississauga is moving towards a hyper dense aesthetic, but gets swallowed up by the even greater density of its neighbors. Is this not more-so just a shift in the way we conceive of towers?

  • don says:


    I remember when they’d had just finished building the civic centre in Mississauga and I went on a tour of it with the Beavers or Cub scouts or something, and I wondered why they hadn’t completed the sides on the clock tower. I think that thing has been a boon for the city through in that it seems to get used a lot in TV shows or movies set in the near future. I believe the shortlived Robocop TV show used it as a location. Sort of like how Toronto City Hall was used to represent an alien civilization on the original Star Trek.

  • Arnold Vandesande says:


    I enjoyed reading your post. Write more on this topic please!



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