CN Tower celebrates 30 years

The CN Tower, the world's tallest freestanding structure, celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The CN Tower in Toronto celebrates its 30th anniversary as the world's tallest freestanding structure Monday.

To commemorate the 1976 completion of the tower, a giant orange air-crane helicopter re-enacted the moment when the final piece was lifted into place.

Named one of the modern wonders of the world by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the CN Tower draws about two million visitors every year from around the world.

While some Canadians look down on the 553-metre structure as just a tourist attraction, others regard it highly for its other attributes.

"It is quintessentially Canadian first and foremost as a telecommunications success," said Mark Kingwell, a University of Toronto philosophy professor.

Kingwell, who writes about the importance of buildings in society, argues that the CN Tower, built at a cost of $63 million, has succeeded in helping bringCanadians together.

"This implausible geographical area is a country not because of its ability to defend itself at its borders, or even to occupy fully the territory within its borders," he added. "It's a country because of our ability to talk to each other across great distances."

The 30-year-old tower is still a critical telecommunications link used to transmit signals for TV and FM radio stations.