Torontonians of a certain age may recall the bit that sketch-group the Frantics used to do in the ‘80s, in which the CN Tower’s designer tells an interviewer that his inspiration for the building was, “A big dick… A wang so big even Rochester could get off on it.”
The connection between the CN Tower and colossal baby-making will once again be on the city’s mind, thanks to the impending birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal baby. Sometime in the next week or so, when the wee critter emerges (in likely the last private act of his/her life), the tower will be lit up in either pink or blue to announce the kid’s gender. This will be helpful to those dozen or so Torontonians not already on the internet when the blessed event occurs; for the rest of us, it’ll be a slight improvement to the skyline — like all of the CN Tower’s lighting changes. Here are some of the most memorable…
Red and White (Canada Day, CN Tower’s birthday)
The fact is, aside from its magnificent shaft and bulbous, rotating head, the tower doesn’t actually look like a giant boner. What it does look like is an unearthly syringe, large enough to inoculate the population of southern Ontario (possibly against HPV?). For that reason, the medical white and sanguine red of the Tower’s patriotic celebrations make it really pretty alarming.
Rainbow (Gay Pride)
As much as Gay Pride week started out as a protest, for most people it’s a party, and for a lot of folks that party’s got a disco-theme. With its lights in rainbow regalia, the Tower does its share to impart a disco flair to the city.
All-night Light Show! (Nuit Blanche, 2009)
If you’re serious about turning the city into a disco, however, what you really need is to have the Tower constantly pulsing (video here) in time to music beamed out over the radio… all night. Which is precisely what the Tower did for Nuit Blanche, 2009. And that was pretty cool.
Orange (in memory of Jack Layton)
What the world knows about Toronto politics they know thanks to whatever was in that glass pipe Rob Ford was allegedly smoking. If there was any justice, Toronto politics would really be synonymous with Jack Layton. Whether you agreed with him or not, it was hard to argue that he wasn’t the type of guy you’d want as a neighbour or a guest at a backyard barbeque. (Even if he was caught on film wearing a Habs jersey; a true Torontonian respects a neighbour’s choice of hockey team, however insane.) In Quebec, they called him “Le Bon Jack” – the good Jack. That was true, and he was ours. Five days after Layton died in August 2011, the Tower was lit up orange in his memory.