Toronto Edgewalk review: Living on the edge

I know that, in theory, it is perfectly safe to do Edgewalk Toronto.  I am attached by a harness to an elaborate system of incredibly strong cables and specially installed safety rails. Quite simply, I wouldn't be allowed out here if there was any reasonable chance of it ending in tragic disaster.

It should be such a simple process. Put one foot out halfway over the edge, then follow it with the other foot. But I can't do it. The left behaves as ordered but the right feels rigidly welded to the spot. There is absolutely no way my brain is going to be OK with it taking me another step towards doom.

The problem is that the edge I'm being asked to inch towards is on top of the restaurant at Toronto's CN Tower. The restaurant is there because it has phenomenally good views of the city and surrounding countryside – on a good day, you can see the spray from Niagara Falls. And the platform on top of it is 356 metres above the ground.

The precautions for the Edgewalk are rigorous. Everyone is breathalysed and the harness is checked four times by three different people. This is supposed to be reassuring, but it has the opposite effect. If they need to go to this much effort, it just reconfirms how incredibly dangerous it is.

After failing with the first challenge, there are plenty more to come. The group shuffles around to view the western side of the city, and it's at this point we notice the shark painted on the roof of the aquarium below. Excellent – not only could I fall 356 metres, but I'll land in a tank full of sharks if I do.

The next task is to creep to the edge and lean backwards over. Oddly, this is easier, quite possibly because I don't have to look where I'm going. I still grab on to the cable for dear life, though, and keep my knees bent to assure myself I can spring back up. The others in the group are considerably less pitiful. Straight legs, leaning back as far as they can go, with arms spread-eagled in the air – it's poster boy heroism compared to my snivelling, worm-like cowardice.

Next up, it's Superman poses. The others throw themselves at it, leaning over the edge as if about to take flight. I'm left half-heartedly waving an arm around and standing bolt upright.

Just before we go back into the tower, however, my sense of shame turns into steely resolve. I'm not going to be beaten by fear of heights. I mentally return to the first task, and step towards the edge. My left foot goes halfway over, and the metaphysical glue keeping my right foot rooted appears to have worn off. The leg is unnaturally heavy, but I move it – and there's a sense of palpable achievement as I stand with both feet partly off the edge.

I turn round to show the group I've finally done it, yet none of them are watching. Heartless fiends.

Never mind – my revenge comes inside when the photos are revealed. The callous swines who ignored my brave struggle have all their posy shots ruined by a quaking coward doing everything wrong…

  The writer was a guest of the Toronto Convention and Visitors Association ( and Edgewalk (