The 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower has indeed towered over the Toronto skyline since opening to the public on June 26, 1976. It was the world's tallest free-standing structure on land for the next 31 years, superseded in September 2007 by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and remains the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere.
Built as much to serve as an icon of Toronto and Canada as it functions as a TV and radio communications platform, the tower attracts two million visitors a year. Although the structure is still known as CN Tower, it is no longer owned by its builder, the Canadian National freight railway. Since 1995 it has been controlled by the Canadian government under a federal real estate corporation.
Once it was realized that the concept could make the tower the world's tallest structure, the original plan evolved from a shorter, more basic tripod design to a solid hexagonal tower with a main "Sky Pod" observation deck. The Sky Pod is the second-highest public observation deck in the world, topped only by the Shanghai World Financial Center. On a clear day it is possible to see 60-75 miles away, including the city of Rochester across Lake Ontario, and the Niagara Falls mist. Learn more about the CN Tower at its official website.