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The CN Tower is located in Toronto, Canada.  Like other world class cities, this tower was built for several key functions – tourism, skyline landmark, and telecommunications hub.

The CN Tower is a 553.3 m-high (1,815.3 ft) concrete communications and observation tower.

Toronto from Space

Built on the former Railway Lands, it was completed in 1976.  Its name “CN” originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower.  Following the railway’s decision to divest non-core freight railway assets prior to the company’s privatization in 1995, it transferred the tower to the Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation responsible for real estate development.

The CN Tower held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa and was the world’s tallest tower until 2009 when it was surpassed by the Canton Tower.   It is now the ninth tallest free-standing structure in the world and remains the tallest free-standing structure on land in the Western Hemisphere.  In 1995, the CN Tower was declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.  It also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers.

Steerable Antennas

It is a signature icon of Toronto’s skyline and attracts more than two million international visitors annually.

The original concept of the CN Tower originated in 1968 when the Canadian National Railway wanted to build a large TV and radio communication platform to serve the Toronto area, as well as demonstrate the strength of Canadian industry and CN in particular.  These plans evolved over the next few years, and the project became official in 1972.

The CN Tower has been and continues to be used as a communications tower for a number of different media and by numerous telecom companies.  A wide variety of radio frequencies emanate from the CN Tower 24 hours a day.  There are AM. FM, and high definition digital television signals, all to fuel the consumption of Toronto’s rich media environment.  In fact, there are more signals available over the air in Toronto than any place else in the world.  Yet, expensive cable television services are still immensely popular here.  I often wonder why consumers buy cable TV when they can capture these exact same channels over-the-air for free.  Its a puzzle.

Beyond classic TV and Radio signals, there are a multitude of other signals used for transit, police, EMS, Fire, data transfer, microwave, live cameras, traffic aircraft, and SCADA.  The variety and volume of telecommunication signals transmitted and received from the CN Tower is impressive.  All sorts of carrier bands and frequencies are used here.  Yet, the signal levels for RF radiation are still well within the government’s safety codes.  Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 Standards are respected around the world as the de facto gold standard for RF safety.

Television broadcasters

VHF UHF Virtual Callsign Affiliation Branding
9 9.1 CFTO-DT CTV CTV Toronto
19 19.1 CICA-DT TVOntario TVO
20 5.1 CBLT-DT CBC Television CBC Toronto
25 25.1 CBLFT-DT Ici Radio-Canada Télé ICI Toronto
40 40.1 CJMT-DT Omni Television Omni.2
41 41.1 CIII-DT-41 Global Global Toronto
44 57.1 CITY-DT Citytv City Toronto
47 47.1 CFMT-DT Omni Television Omni.1



There is no AM broadcasting on the CN Tower. The FM antennas are situated 421 metres (1,381 ft) above ground.

Frequency kW Callsign Branding Notes
91.1 MHz 40 CJRT JAZZ.FM91
94.1 MHz 38 CBL CBC Music
97.3 MHz 28.9 CHBM boom 97.3
98.1 MHz 44 CHFI 98.1 CHFI
99.9 MHz 40 CKFM Virgin Radio 99.9FM
100.7 MHz 4 CHIN CHIN Radio Primarily in Italian and Portuguese
102.1 MHz 35 CFNY 102.1 the Edge
104.5 MHz 40 CHUM 104.5 CHUM FM
107.1 MHz 40 CILQ Classic Rock Q 107

CFTO Coverage Map by Kerry Pelser


  • Bell Canada
  • Toronto Transit Commission
  • Amateur radio repeaters “2-Tango” (VHF) and “4-Tango” (440/70 cm UHF) — owned and operated by the Toronto FM Communications Society, under callsign VE3TWR.

Rooftop Meeting

Defining the Toronto skyline the CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon.  The CN Tower is an internationally renowned architectural triumph, an engineering Wonder of the Modern World, world-class entertainment and dining destination and a must see for anyone visiting Toronto.  Spectacular views include floor-to-ceiling panoramic Window Walls, world-famous Glass Floor, SkyPod and glass fronted elevators with glass floor panels.  Dining options include the award-winning 360 Restaurant (elevation complimentary with prix fixe).  Plus EdgeWalk, the world’s highest ‘hands-free’ external walk, 356m/1168ft (116 stories) above the ground.


But to me, it is a telecommunications tower.  Its value in the world of telecom is priceless.

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.

He is a business and technology consultant. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.