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CN Tower Climb for Nature returns this weekend

People make their way towards the CN Tower in downtown Toronto on .
People make their way towards the CN Tower in downtown Toronto on . THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gregory Bull

The World Wildlife Fund’s CN Tower Climb for Nature returns this weekend for its 26th year.

The annual event is one of two fundraising stair climbs hosted by the CN Tower each year; one in the spring for the WWF–Canada supporting the fight against climate change and one in the fall for the United Way of Greater Toronto in support of its many community-based agencies.

Among the many climbers this weekend will be Global News weather specialist Mike Arsenault who says doing the stair climb has always been something he has wanted to check off his bucket list, and the chance to do so while raising awareness and funds for wildlife conservation efforts is a perfect opportunity.

“I am also very competitive and there are some bragging rights up for grabs on April 17 between myself, Crystal Goomansingh, and Ross Hull.”

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Over the years over 86,000 Canadians have climbed the 1,776 steps, in teams or individually, and this is WWF’s largest annual fundraiser. The public and youth climb takes place on April 16, with the team challenge taking place on April 17. Registration is required.

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Whether you’re checking it off of your bucket list, looking for a way to give back, or simply want to get out and do something physical this weekend, here are a few CN Tower facts to get you started.

How old is the CN Tower?

The CN Tower was built by Canadian National Railways. It was completed in 1976. It took 1,537 workers 40 months to build the tower. They worked five days a week in shifts worked five days a week and three separate shifts covered 24 hours a day. The  original cost was $63 million.

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How many steps are there to the top?

There are a total of 1,776 steps and 144 flights to the top. At 553.33 m (1,815ft, 5 inches) the CN Tower held the record as the tallest building, tower, freestanding structure for over three decades.

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“I am looking forward to race day, mostly because that means the weekly stair climbing sessions can come to an end. I am usually walking funny for at least two days after each stair climb because my calves are so sore,” Arsenault said.

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How long will it take me? Is it a race? 

The average climber takes 30 to 40 minutes to make it to the top and while the event is timed, it is not a race. If you’re curious, according to the WWF, the fastest climb time is seven minutes and 52 seconds.

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Do I need to train?

Arsenault told us his training regimen for the CN Tower climb has been a mixture of full-body workout sessions at the gym four or five times a week, plus a weekly stair-climbing session. “The only reason I am training so hard is that I don’t just want to complete the climb — I want a good time.”

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“The stair-climbing session usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes and then it is followed by 15 to 20 minutes of crying.”

Remember, climbing stairs works your calf muscles, give them a good stretch before and after the climb. If you aren’t ready to tackle the tower’s stairs this weekend, you have plenty of time to start training as the United Way also holds its annual stair climb in the fall.

You can donate to the World Wildlife Fund and find more information about the climb here.

SOUND OFF: Is climbing the CN Tower on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.