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About Edgewalk’s design P

lanning and design fi rm Forrec worked on the project. Marketing director Amanda Jopling

describes the design

What were the design challenges? The experience is dominated by safety standards, so it was a challenge for us to adhere to these, while ensuring the experience was still visually appealing. Our aim was for guests to spend time enjoying themselves without being overly conscious of the apparatus. To achieve this, the guests have their safety reviews on the ground. Once inside the elevator the fun starts – the only thing left to do is a hook-up inside the building (without a view out- side). Guests feel safe for a few minutes before seeing just how high up they are. Their anticipation is palpable. What are the safety issues? The guests’ safety is of course the primary goal, but during the course of the design we discovered that it’s the guides who are actually in the most danger. They’re more likely to become comfortable with their surround- ings and forget to hook up, so precautions were put in place to ensure this would never happen. How did you overcome these challenges? We worked with the best engineers and consultants in the fi eld to address these issues while ensuring the experience still fl owed nicely. The key was bringing the tracks inside the building, which required a custom slid- ing door design that was also capable of being an exit door if the electrical systems failed.

Which design elements are you most pleased with? The seamlessness of the experience and also that we have left the simplicity of the building intact by having the hook-up inside – a tricky solution to achieve. The crown (the track and support extensions) can now be seen from the ground, which makes the building even more attractive as it’s an elegant detail.

Robinson is looking at the possibility of an extreme climb within the tower’s hollow core

The team commissioned drawings,

talked to the teams at the Macau Tower and the Sky Tower, and began the chal- lenging approval process – the concept fi rst had to be presented to the tower’s board, followed by the Canadian govern- ment, which owns the tower. Then came the most diffi cult part,

Robinson says – getting the permits and licenses that would pass all the safety and security tests. Construction fi nally began in late 2010, with the attraction completed in time for an early August 2011 launch.

On the edge Hanging off the edge of the CN Tower at nearly 1,200ft is terrifying, Robinson testifi es – he’s been on EdgeWalk a few times himself – but the attraction has been designed with safety as the main focus. The experience starts with a breathalyzer test and training. Guests are then strapped


into an overhead rail system that’s inspected every morning and harnessed with two ropes that have been tested with thousands of pounds worth of weight. Belongings are checked and eyeglasses tethered to a locking system. The team’s even built a weather station on the tower to provide information on wind direction and storms, allowing for informed decisions on postponing walks in bad weather. Walks are led by guides who have been

trained extensively – staff were fi rst sent over to Auckland’s Sky Tower to “get trained by the best”, Robinson says, and Auckland staff were brought to Toronto in July to help with further staff training before EdgeWalk’s launch. EdgeWalk’s guides are now qualifi ed to train others, Robinson says – important because more guides will be needed after the tower reopens on 1st May next year with an expanded schedule due to frenzied

Read Attractions Management online

demand. EdgeWalk was booked up for the season almost as soon as tickets went on sale this summer. Robinson intends to add more walks in the early morning and late evening next year, and expects to attract 14,000 walkers during the 2012 season. EdgeWalk has succeeded in making

the CN Tower appeal to a new audience, attracting locals who’d never normally visit the tower. So what might be next? Robinson is investigating the possibility of another extreme attraction – this time mak- ing use of the tower’s hollow core. “There’s a huge space inside that I could possibly use to create some form of indoor walk or climb. I’ve got the paper on it and some- time over the winter my team will sit down and look at it. There’s a real opportunity to continue with extreme,” he says. His parting words of wisdom for keeping

a 35-year-old attraction relevant? “If you build cool things, they will come.” ●

AM 4 2010 ©cybertrek 2009

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