Of all of the wonderful towers in the world, this one definitely provides one of the most amazing views.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting facts about the Skylon Tower.
1. The tower is located in Niagara Falls in Canada
The Skylon Tower is an observation tower located in Niagara Falls, a city in the Canadian province of Ontario. The city and tower are located on the western bank of one of the biggest rivers in North America, the Niagara River.
The Canadian city is located in the Golden Horseshoe region in the south of Ontario. Remarkably, on the other side of the river, there’s another city with the same name, Niagara Falls, located in the U.S. state of New York.
2. It overlooks some of the most wonderful waterfalls in the world
Both cities are located near some of the most famous waterfalls in the world, the Niagara Falls, a group of 3 separate waterfalls on the Canada-United States border.
The Skylon Tower is located in a perfect location as it overlooks the two biggest of the 3 waterfalls, the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls.
3. The tower was built in just 15 months in the 1960s
The construction of the tower was initiated by several partners who started an organization called the “Niagara International Centre.” The management of the tower and its facilities was in the hands of “Canadian Pacific Hotels.”
Some of these partners included:
- W.P. Piggott of Piggott’s Construction of Hamilton, Ontario.
- Charles Richard Reese of Hershey, Pennsylvania.
- William Young of the Hamilton Cotton Company, of Hamilton, Ontario.
The construction of the tower started in May of the year 1964 and was completed just 15 months later in October of 1965. The tower was officially opened on October 6, 1965, by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Ontario Premier John Robarts.
4. The design was inspired by a similar tower in the United States
One of the most interesting facts about the Skylon Tower is that it not just formed the inspiration for another fascinating tower in Canada, the Calgary Tower, but was itself inspired by another famous tower in the United States.
The Space Needle in Seattle was completed in 1962 and was one of the first futuristic towers in the world. It was one of the main inspirations for both the design of the Skylon Tower and its name, which was described as a “space-aged version of a skyscraper.”
5. It’s far from being the tallest tower in the world
The Space Needle has a total height of 604 feet (184 meters) and the Skylon Tower is even shorter than that with a height of just 160 meters (520 feet). This means that it never intended to become the tallest tower in the world, something that the developers of the Calgary Tower aspired to a few years later.
The reason is most probably because the location of the Skylon Tower is so unique that no attempt was made to surpass the height of the Space Needle. After all, it stands 236 meters (775 feet) above the bottom of the falls!
The top floor of the tower, which houses the observation deck, is located at a height of 143 meters (469 feet) and its roof is situated at a height of 149 meters (489 feet).
6. Building the tower had a huge price tag
The construction of this massive concrete tower had a huge price tag as it’s estimated that it cost about $7,000,000 to build. That’s also one of the main reasons why the developers decided not to build it any higher.
The tower was built with a strong foundation and can easily sustain severe storms with winds of 160 kilometers per hour (110 miles per hour).
7. It was sold a couple of times for even more money
The huge price tag to build the tower didn’t result in a big loss for the developers. In the year 1975, Tne hotel company managing the tower actually bought the shares from the organization that built it for $11 million, a profit of $4 million.
Canadian Pacific Hotels in return sold the tower for an even higher amount as the tower was sold for $18 million in 1986 to two local hotel operators named John Gruyich of Michael’s Inn and George Yerich of the Holiday Inn By The Falls Motel.
The latter bought most of the shares for $13 million in 1988 and still owns and operates the prominent landmark in Niagara Falls today!
8. It was built the same way as another famous tower in Canada
One of the most fascinating facts about the Skylon Tower is that it was only the second time in history that the slipform method was used to build the tower. This method involves a huge crane that continuously pours concrete in a form, gradually moving upward in the process.
The crane used was a 35-tonnes Linden Crane which cost $45,000 and which was able to lift about 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilos) of concrete every time. Once the crane reached the top, it was removed with a helicopter.
The same method was used during the construction of the CN Tower in Toronto, another famous tower in Canada that stands 553.3 meters (1,815.3 feet) tall and is considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World according to the American Society of Civil Engineers!
9. The elevators are located on the outside of the tower
One of the most amazing facts about the Skylon Tower is that the elevators, which are referred to as “Yellow Bug” elevators, are located on the outside of the tower.
These 3 elevators, which were installed by the Otis Elevator Company from Hamilton, Ontario, are attached to the tower with a rail on their back and allow visitors to travel to the top of the tower in just 52 seconds!
10. The base of the tower houses multiple entertainment facilities
The moment that the tower was completed, there was already a 3-story entertainment facility at its base with numerous restaurants and shops. This building still stands today and was expanded to include a 3D/4D Theater and multiple additional franchises.
A bridge was also built between the tower and the 200,000 square feet (19,000 square meters) “Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort” in the early 2000s.
11. The restaurant at the top of the tower revolves once an hour
The top of the tower houses two restaurants, one called the “Revolving Dining Room” and the other is called the “Summit Suite Buffet.”
The revolving restaurant rotates 360 degrees once every hour and can seat 276 people, while the Summit Suite Buffet has a seating capacity of 180 diners.
12. The observation deck at the top of the tower provides amazing views
The tower arguably provides one of the most amazing views in the world. Located right next to some of the most wonderful waterfalls in the world, the observation deck offers stunning views of the area.
Is there a better way to take a look at the American and Canadian Falls? Probably not!