16 Fun Facts About The Calgary Tower

The Calgary Tower

  1. The Husky Tower opened to the public on June 30th, 1968 and cost $3.5 million to complete. It was not just the tallest structure in Calgary, but towered over the downtown core being twice as tall as the next tallest building.
  2. The Tower is made of 11,000 tons of steel reinforced concrete. There are no seems in the concrete. One unprecedented feature of construction was the continual pour of concrete, using a revolutionary new technique. Pouring began on May 15th, 1967 and continued non-stop for 24 days.
  3. At 191 metres it was briefly the tallest structure in Canada and the tallest observation tower in the western hemisphere.
  4. The stairwell has 802 steps.
  5. The journey up the first few stairs brings you to what we at the Calgary Tower affectionately refer to as the “bat cave,” which is actually nothing more than the hollow interior of the Tower’s concrete shaft.
  6. The Calgary Tower has two high speed elevators which can bring 15 people to the superstructure atop the Calgary Tower in 62 seconds, at a speed of 2.5 metres per second
  7. The central column of the Tower is very flexible and was designed to sway up to 16.5 cm in the wind.
  8. The superstructure at the top of the Calgary Tower contains 260 tons of structural steel and took more than a year to build, by far the majority of the time taken to construct the whole tower. The pod as it is sometimes called has three floors and a mezzanine level.
  9. The restaurant level was only the second revolving restaurant in Canada when it opened in 1968. The floor rotates 360 degrees once every 45 minutes at Lunch and once every hour for Dinner. It is powered by a two and a half horse power motor.
  10. The Husky Tower was renamed the Calgary Tower in 1971 to demonstrate that the structure belonged to all Calgarians and it was in that year that CPR took over full control of the Tower through its Marathon Realty branch.
  11. The carillon situated in the Calgary Tower was donated to the citizens of Calgary and placed at the Calgary Tower in 1975 by the Dutch-Canadian Society to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Calgary. Even as early as the 1970’s the Calgary Tower had become an integral part of the celebrations of Calgary and Calgarians.
  12. The first Calgary building to surpass the Tower was the Suncor Building (Petro Canada) which opened in 1983.
  13. For the 1988 Winter Olympics event sponsors Western Canadian Natural Gas (ATCO) proposed adding a gas-burning cauldron to the roof of the Calgary Tower to burn during the games as an Olympic Flame. The Olympic Cauldron may not seem very big from the ground but it is actually 4 metres in diameter and weighs 4000 kilograms. The Olympic Flame converted the Calgary Tower from the second tallest structure in Calgary to the tallest Olympic Flame in the world.
  14. The glass and steel structure was added to the Calgary Tower to accommodate the increasingly larger number of visitors who were visiting the Calgary Tower especially in the aftermath of the 1988 Olympic Games. It is supported by the shaft of the Tower and a large steel collar attached to the central column.
  15. The glass floored viewing deck of the Observation Deck was added in 2005 to celebrate Alberta’s centennial. The glass viewing deck consists of 18 glass panels which each weigh from 200-225 kilograms. The glass panels are 57 millimetres (2 ¼ inches) thick and each floor panel will support the weight of two hippos.
  16. A window cleaning cage that runs on a track around the outside of the Observation Deck and the restaurant below was included in the original plans for the Calgary Tower. The cage holds 2 people, one to wash the windows and one to dry them, and the cage itself is housed on the mechanical level.

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