Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Difference Between Copyediting And Proofreading

Many people confuse these two distinct editorial skills, but it's important to recognize how they differ, and why. The most obvious distinction is the form the medium takes. Copyediting, once performed by making marks and writing revisions on a typewritten manuscript, is now generally carried out by entering changes in a word-processing program like Microsoft Word.

Proofreading, by contrast, is done on a facsimile of the finished product — a proof, hence the name. Proofreading is usually still completed on hard copy with a pen or pencil, but it's sometimes accomplished by electronically marking up a PDF (a file created with Adobe's Portable Document Format; that's where the initials come from).

But that's just the beginning. The copy editor's task is to finesse a writer's prose so that it observes all the conventions of good writing. A writer may be skilled at explaining a procedure or verbally depicting a scene, but the copy editor is the one who makes sure the manuscript's syntax is smooth, that the writing adheres to the conventions of grammar, and that wording is proper and precise and punctuation is appropriate and correctly placed.

The copy editor may also do or suggest some reorganizing, recommend changes to chapter titles and subheadings, and call out lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups. This attention is especially important when the content editor — the person who helps the writer shape their prose — has minimal time (or skill) or is absent altogether.

All the while, if the project is a book manuscript, an extensive report, or something else of significant length, the copy editor compiles a style sheet, a statement of overall editorial policy (serial comma, or no? numbers spelled out, or in numeral form?) and a record of idiosyncratic word usage. (Just how do you spell fuggedaboudit? According to the style sheet, just like that — every time.) Many style sheets also list all proper nouns to make sure names are always spelled and capitalized consistently, though search functions and spell-checking programs have rendered that usage somewhat superfluous.

The proofreader, by contrast, is assigned to check a reproduction of what the finished product will look like. And the task is not revision, but correction — making sure that no typographical errors remain from the manuscript or were introduced in the production stage.

New text, such as captions, for example, is often entered separately and may not have been edited. Alternatively, an element — anything from a letter to a paragraph or more — may have been inadvertently omitted or repeated, or misplaced. Because most text is copied and pasted directly from an electronic document, this mishap is unlikely but not unknown.

Then there are esthetic issues: too many end-of-line hyphens in a row, or a word broken in half at the end of a column or page, or a widow (a very short final line of a paragraph at the top of a column).

The proofreader is also the main beneficiary of the style sheet's compilation. Hey, it's fuggedaboutit on page 37, and fuggedaboudit on page 59. Which one's correct? The second spelling, according to the style sheet.

Proofreaders are also expected to check page numbers or recurring copy at the top or bottom of a page that identifies a section in a periodical or a chapter or book title. They make sure the font and type size and weight for one text element matches another element of that class. They double-check that photo captions match the content of the photographs or that when text refers to a table, a chart, or a figure, the graphic element consists of what the text says it does — and they proof that element, too.

Proofreaders may also catch grammatical errors or inconsistency of style, and they are often given some leeway to change or at least call out egregious errors, but they're generally constrained by not being permitted to revise the text in any way that adds or subtracts the number of lines on a page, because doing so may adversely affect the graphic design.

In summary, copyediting is a more qualitative skill and proofreading is more quantitative, though there's quite a bit of overlap, and someone who does well at one often succeeds at the other as well. Proofreading usually pays less and is a pathway to copyediting, but many editors (myself included) do both.

To save time or money or both, many print and online publishers alike have curtailed or abandoned either stage (or, worse, both stages) of the editing process — and it's almost invariably obvious. But there are still enough people out there who value rigorous attention to detail in written expression that the copyediting and proofreading professions aren't going anywhere, and adept practitioners will remain in demand.

Thanks to DailyWritngTips

Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875)

Hans Christian Andersen
Born April 2, 1805
Odense, Denmark
Died August 4, 1875 (aged 70)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, fairy tales writer
Nationality Danish
Genres Children's literature, travelogue


Hans Christian Andersen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhaˀns ˈkʁæsdjan ˈɑnɐsn̩], referred to using the initials H. C. Andersen in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia; April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Little Match Girl", and "The Ugly Duckling".

During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.[1]



Hans Christian Andersen was born in the town of Odense, Denmark, on Tuesday, April 2, 1805. "Hans" and "Christian" are traditional Danish names.

Andersen's father considered himself related to nobility. According to scholars at the Hans Christian Andersen Center,[citation needed] his paternal grandmother had told his father that their family had in the past belonged to a higher social class, but investigations prove these stories unfounded. The family apparently was affiliated with Danish royalty, but through employment or trade. Today, speculation persists that Andersen may have been an illegitimate son of the royal family. Whatever the reason, King Frederick VI took a personal interest in him as a youth and paid for a part of his education.[2] According to writer Rolf Dorset, Andersen's ancestry remains indeterminate. Hans Christian was forced to support himself. He worked as a weaver's apprentice and, later, for a tailor. At 14, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor. Having an excellent soprano voice, he was accepted into the Royal Danish Theatre, but his voice soon changed. A colleague at the theatre told him that he considered Andersen a poet. Taking the suggestion seriously, he began to focus on writing.

Enlarge picture
Andersen's modest childhood home in Odense

Andersen had a half-sister, Karen Marie, with whom he managed to speak on only a few occasions before her death.[citation needed]

Jonas Collin, who, following a chance encounter with Andersen, immediately felt a great affection for him, sent him to a grammar school in Slagelse, covering all his expenses.[3] Andersen had already published his first story, The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave, in 1822. Though not a keen student, he also attended school at Elsinore until 1827.[4]

He later said his years in school were the darkest and most bitter of his life. At one school, he lived at his schoolmaster's home. There he was abused in order "to improve his character", he was told. He felt alienated from his classmates, being older than most of them. Considered unattractive, he also may have suffered from dyslexia.[citation needed] He later said the faculty had discouraged him from writing in general, causing him to enter a state of depression.

Early works

In 1829, Andersen enjoyed considerable success with a short story titled "A Journey on Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of Amager". He also published a comedy and a collection of poems that season. Though he made little progress writing and publishing immediately thereafter, in 1833 he received a small traveling grant from the King, enabling him to set out on the first of his many journeys through Europe. At Jura, near Le Locle, Switzerland, he wrote the story, "Agnete and the Merman". He spent an evening in the Italian seaside village of Sestri Levante the same year, inspiring the name, The Bay of Fables. (See — an annual festival celebrates it). In October, 1834, he arrived in Rome. Andersen's first novel, "The Improvisatore", was published at the beginning of 1835, becoming an instant success. During these traveling years, Hans Christian Andersen lived in an apartment at number 20, Nyhavn, Copenhagen. There, a memorial plaque was unveiled on May 8, 1835, a gift by Peter Schannong.[5]

Fairy tales

Enlarge picture
Paper chimney sweep cut by Andersen

It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels: O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler.

Jeg er en Skandinav

After a visit to Sweden in 1837, Andersen became inspired by Scandinavism and committed himself to writing a poem to convey his feeling of relatedness between the Swedes, the Danes and the Norwegians.[6] It was in July 1839 during a visit to the island of Funen that Andersen first wrote the text of his poem Jeg er en Skandinav (I am a Scandinavian).[6] Andersen designed the poem to capture "the beauty of the Nordic spirit, the way the three sister nations have gradually grown together" as part of a Scandinavian national anthem.[6] Composer Otto Lindblad set the poem to music and the composition was published in January 1840. Its popularity peaked in 1845, after which it was seldom sung.[6]


In 1851, he published to wide acclaim In Sweden, a volume of travel sketches. A keen traveler, Andersen published several other long travelogues: Shadow Pictures of a Journey to the Harz, Swiss Saxony, etc. etc. in the Summer of 1831 (A Poet's Bazaar (560), In Spain , and A Visit to Portugal in 1866 (The latter describes his visit with his Portuguese friends Jorge and Jose O'Neill, who were his fellows in the mid 1820s while living in Copenhagen.) In his travelogues, Andersen took heed of some of the contemporary conventions about travel writing; but always developed the genre to suit his own purposes. Each of his travelogues combines documentary and descriptive accounts of the sights he saw with more philosophical excurses on topics such as being an author, immortality, and the nature of fiction in the literary travel report. Some of the travelogues, such as In Sweden, even contain fairy-tales.

Enlarge picture
Painting of Andersen, 1836, by Christian Albrecht Jensen

In the 1840s Andersen's attention returned to the stage, however with no great success at all. His true genius was however proved in the miscellany the Picture-Book without Pictures (1840). The fame of his Fairy Tales had grown steadily; a second series began in 1838 and a third in 1845. Andersen was now celebrated throughout Europe, although his native Denmark still showed some resistance to his pretensions. Between 1845 and 1864, H. C. Andersen lived in 67, Nyhavn, Copenhagen, where a memorial plaque is placed.[5]

Meetings with Dickens

In June 1847, Andersen paid his first visit to England and enjoyed a triumphal social success during the summer. The Countess of Blessington invited him to her parties where intellectual and famous people could meet, and it was at one party that he met Charles Dickens for the first time. They shook hands and walked to the veranda which was of much joy to Andersen. He wrote in his diary, "We had come to the veranda, I was so happy to see and speak to England's now living writer, whom I love the most."[7]

Ten years later, Andersen visited England again, primarily to visit Dickens. He stayed at Dickens' home for five weeks.[7] Shortly after Andersen left, Dickens published David Copperfield, featuring the obsequious Uriah Heep, who is said to have been modeled on Andersen.

Love life

Andersen often fell in love with unattainable women and many of his stories are interpreted as references to his sexual grief.[8] The most famous of these was the opera soprano Jenny Lind. One of his stories, "The Nightingale", was a written expression of his passion for Lind, and became the inspiration for her nickname, the "Swedish Nightingale". Andersen was often shy around women and had extreme difficulty in proposing to Lind. When Lind was boarding a train to take her to an opera concert, Andersen gave Lind a letter of proposal. Her feelings towards him were not the same; she saw him as a brother, writing to him in 1844 "farewell... God bless and protect my brother is the sincere wish of his affectionate sister, Jenny."[9] A girl named Riborg Voigt was the unrequited love of Andersen's youth. A small pouch containing a long letter from Riborg was found on Andersen's chest when he died. At one point he wrote in his diary: "Almighty God, thee only have I; thou steerest my fate, I must give myself up to thee! Give me a livelihood! Give me a bride! My blood wants love, as my heart does!"[10] Other disappointments in love included Sophie Ørsted, the daughter of the physicist Hans Christian Ørsted, and Louise Collin, the youngest daughter of his benefactor Jonas Collin.

Just as with his interest in women, Andersen would become attracted to nonreciprocating men. For example, Andersen wrote to Edvard Collin:[11] "I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian wench... my sentiments for you are those of a woman. The femininity of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery." Collin, who did not prefer men, wrote in his own memoir: "I found myself unable to respond to this love, and this caused the author much suffering." Likewise, the infatuations of the author for the Danish dancer Harald Scharff[12] and Carl Alexander, the young hereditary duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach,[13] did not result in any relationships.

Enlarge picture
The Hanfstaengl portrait of Andersen dated July 1860

In recent times some literary studies have speculated about the homoerotic camouflage in Andersen's works.[14]

In Andersen's early life, his private journal records his refusal to have sexual relations.[15][16]


In the spring of 1872, Andersen fell out of bed and was severely hurt. He never fully recovered, but he lived until August 4, 1875, dying of insidious causes in a house called Rolighed (literally: calmness), near Copenhagen, the home of his close friends Moritz Melchior, a banker, and his wife.[17] Shortly before his death, he had consulted a composer about the music for his funeral, saying: "Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps."[17] His body was interred in the Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen.

At the time of his death, he was an internationally renowned and treasured artist. He received a stipend from the Danish Government as a "national treasure". Before his death, steps were already underway to erect the large statue in his honor, which was completed and is prominently placed at the town hall square in Copenhagen.[1]


Enlarge picture
Postage stamp, Denmark, 1935

In the English-speaking world, stories such as "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Match Girl", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", and "The Princess and the Pea" remain popular and are widely read. "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling" have both passed into the English language as well-known expressions.

In the Copenhagen harbor there is a statue of The Little Mermaid, placed in honor of Hans Christian Andersen. April 2, Andersen's birthday, is celebrated as International Children's Book Day. The year 2005 was the bicentenary of Andersen's birth and his life and work was celebrated around the world.

Enlarge picture
Hans Christian Andersen and "The Ugly Duckling" in Central Park, New York

In the United States, statues of Hans Christian Andersen may be found in Central Park, New York, and in Solvang, California. The Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds a unique collection of Andersen materials bequeathed by the Danish-American actor Jean Hersholt.[18] Of particular note is an original scrapbook Andersen prepared for the young Jonas Drewsen.[19]

The city of Bratislava, Slovakia features a statue of Hans Christian Andersen in memory of his visit in 1841.[20]

In the city of Lublin, Poland is the Puppet & Actor Theatre of Hans Christian Andersen.[21]

A $13-million theme park based on Andersen's tales and life opened in Shanghai at the end of 2006. Multi-media games as well as all kinds of cultural contests related to the fairy tales are available to visitors. He was chosen as the star of the park because he is a "nice, hardworking person who was not afraid of poverty", Shanghai Gujin Investment general manager Zhai Shiqiang was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.[22]

Famous fairy tales

Some of his most famous fairy tales include:

  • The Angel (1843) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Bell (1845) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Emperor's New Clothes (1837) University of Southern Denmark
  • The Galoshes of Fortune (1838) "Lykkens Kalosker"
  • The Fir Tree (1844) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Happy Family (1847)
  • The Ice Maiden (1861) "Iisjomfruen"
  • It's Quite True! (1852) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Little Match Girl (1848) University of Southern Denmark
  • The Little Mermaid (1836) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • Little Tuck (1847) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Nightingale (1844) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Old House (1847) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • Sandman (1841) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Princess and the Pea (1835; also known as The Real Princess) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • Several Things (1837) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Red Shoes (1845) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Shadow (1847) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep (1845)
  • The Snow Queen (1844) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1838) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Story of a Mother (1847) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Swineherd (1841) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • Thumbelina (1835) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Tinderbox (1835) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Ugly Duckling (1844) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)
  • The Wild Swans (1838) University of Southern Denmark (Danish)


    Contemporary literary and artistic works inspired by Andersen's stories include:

  • "The Naked King" ("Голый Король (Goliy Korol)" 1937), "The Shadow" ("Тень (Ten)" 1940), and "The Snow Queen" ("Снежная Королева (Sniezhenaya Koroleva)" 1948) by Eugene Schwartz: reworked and adapted to the contemporary reality plays by one of Russia's most famous playwrights. Schwartz's versions of "The Shadow" and "The Snow Queen" were later made into movies (1971 and 1966, respectively).
  • Sam the Lovesick Snowman at the Center for Puppetry Arts: a contemporary puppet show by Jon Ludwig inspired by The Snow Man.[23]
  • The Ugly Duckling ("Гадкий утенок") (Children's opera) - Opera-Parable By Hans Christian Andersen. For Mezzo-Soprano (Soprano), Three-part Children's Choir And the Piano. 1 Act: 2 Epigraphs, 38 Theatrical Pictures. Length: Approximately 28 minutes. The opera version (Free transcription) Written by Lev Konov (Лев Конов) (1996). On music of Sergei Prokofiev: The Ugly Duckling, op. 18 (1914) And Visions Fugitives, op. 22 (1915–1917). (Vocal score language: Russian, English, German, French). The first representation in Moscow in 1997.
  • The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis: a contemporary novel about fairy tales and opera
  • The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge: an award-winning novel that reworks the Snow Queen's themes into epic science fiction
  • The Nightingale by Kara Dalkey: a lyrical adult fantasy novel set in the courts of old Japan
  • The Wild Swans by Peg Kerr: a novel that brings Andersen's fairy tale to colonial and modern America
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: a romantic fantasy novel, set in early Ireland, thematically linked to "The Wild Swans"
  • Birdwing by Rafe Martin, a young adult novel that continues the tale of "The Wild Swans" with the story of Ardwin, the brother whose arm remained a wing
  • The Snow Queen by Eileen Kernaghan: a gentle Young Adult fantasy novel that brings out the tale's subtle pagan and shamanic elements
  • "The Snow Queen", a short story by Patricia A. McKillip (published in Snow White, Blood Red)
  • "You, Little Match Girl", a short story by Joyce Carol Oates (published in Black Heart, Ivory Bones)
  • "Sparks", a short story by Gregory Frost (based on The Tinder Box, published in Black Swan, White Raven)
  • "Steadfast", a short story by Nancy Kress (based on The Steadfast Tin Soldier, published in Black Swan, White Raven)
  • "The Sea Hag", a short story by Melissa Lee Shaw (based on The Little Mermaid, published in Silver Birch, Blood Moon)
  • "The Real Princess", a short story by Susan Palwick (based on The Princess and the Pea, published in Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears)
  • "Match Girl", a short story by Anne Bishop (published in Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears)
  • Le Petit Claus et le Grand Claus, (film, 1964), ((Lille Claus og store Claus) by Jacques Prévert, and his brother Pierre Prévert, French TV 1964.
  • "The Pangs of Love", a short story by Jane Gardam (based on The Little Mermaid, published in Close Company: Stories of Mothers and Daughters)
  • "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep", (film, 1980), French, by Paul Grimault and Jacques Prévert, French title : Le Roi et l'Oiseau (the king and the bird).
  • "The Chrysanthemum Robe", a short story by Kara Dalkey (based on The Emperor's New Clothes, published in The Armless Maiden)
  • "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", a short story by Joan Vinge (published in Women of Wonder)
  • "In the Witch's Garden", a short story by Naomi Kritzer (based on The Snow Queen, published in Realms of Fantasy magazine, October 2002 issue)
  • "I Hear the Mermaids Singing", a short story by Nancy Holder (based on The Little Mermaid)
  • "The Last Poems About the Snow Queen", a poem cycle by Sandra Gilbert (published in Blood Pressure)
  • The Little Mermaid (2005) for children's chorus, narrator, orchestra by Richard Mills
  • "La petite marchande d'allumettes", film by Jean Renoir (1928)[24]
  • "The Andersen Project" by Robert Lepage: Freely inspired from two stories by Andersen (The Dryad and The Shadow).
  • "The Little Mermaid (1989 movie) (Walt Disney Pictures) Based on the original story.
  • The Little Match Girl (2006 short) With the DVD Release of The Little Mermaid (Walt Disney Pictures)Based on the original story.
  • The Little Mermaid for actress, two pianos and chamber ensemble/orchestra.[25]
  • Ponyo got its inspiration from the Little Mermaid.
  • The Little Match Girl Passion - a choral work composed in 2007 by David Lang. It won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
  • The Ghost, an episode in the third series of the British TV show Hustle is based on the theft of an Andersen manuscript from an old English manor house.
  • A Designer's Paradise, an episode in the fourth series of the British TV show Hustle bases a confidence trick around the story of The Emperor's New Clothes
  • Broken Angels (Merciless in the U.S.), a novel by Richard Montanari focuses on a serial killer who murders people in accordance with Hans Christian Andersen stories. Stories included are The Nightingale, Thumbelina, The Red Shoes, The Little Match Girl, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Tinderbox, What The Moon Saw, Anne Lisbeth, Little Claus and Big Claus, The Snow Man, and Little Ida's Flowers.
  • "Striking Twelve", a Staged Concert/Musical by the New York band, Groove Lily, about a grumpy guy reading "The Little Match Girl" on New Year's Eve.
  • "Until My Dancing Days are Done", a short story by Angela D. Mitchell that gave a modern gothic twist to "The Red Shoes." The story was published in Fables Magazine in October 2003, and in April 2004 was voted the 2003 Reader's Choice Award by the magazine's readers.
  • "The Song Is A Fairy-tale", 20 songs composed by Frederik Magle based on fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen (1994).
  • "Prisoners" by Regina Spektor references Hans Christian Anderson.
    This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the Wikipedia® encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.
  • William Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)

    Maugham, William Somerset (môm), 1874–1965, English writer, b. Paris. He was noted as an expert storyteller and a master of fiction technique. An introverted child afflicted with a stammer, Maugham was orphaned at 10 and sent to live with his uncle, a vicar. Although he later studied medicine and completed his internship, he never practiced, having decided at an early age to devote himself to literature. He lived in grand style, spending much of his life on the French Riviera and traveling widely, particularly to East Asia and the South Pacific. Maugham wrote with wit and irony, frequently expressing an aloofly cynical attitude toward life. Famous as a dramatist before he became known for his novels and short stories, he achieved his first success with the sardonically humorous play Lady Frederick (1907). This was followed by a series of commercial successes, the best being The Circle (1921), Our Betters (1923), and The Constant Wife (1927).

    Maugham had written eight novels before his breakthrough masterpiece, the partly autobiographical Of Human Bondage (1915), appeared. It is the story of the painful growth to self-realization of a lonely, sensitive young physician with a clubfoot. His experiences as a World War I spy in Russia are reflected in Ashenden: Or, the British Agent (1928), a work that strongly influenced such later writers as Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, and John le Carré. Maugham's other famous novels include The Moon and Sixpence (1919), based on the life of the French painter Paul Gauguin; Cakes and Ale (1930), satirizing Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole; and The Razor's Edge (1944), dealing with a young American's search for spiritual fulfillment. Frequently his writings, notably the short stories "Rain" and "The Letter," use as background the exotic places he had visited. In his later work Maugham limited himself primarily to essays; The Art of Fiction: An Introduction to Ten Novels and Their Authors (1955) is representative.


    See biographies by T. Morgan (1980), A. Loss (1988), R. Calder (1989), and J. Meyers (2004).

    CN Tower - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    CN Tower
    Toronto's CN Tower.
    Toronto's CN Tower.

    The CN Tower was the world's tallest free-standing structure on land from 1975 until 2007.

    Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Coordinates 43°38′33″N 79°23′14″W / 43.6426, -79.3871Coordinates: 43°38′33″N 79°23′14″W / 43.6426, -79.3871
    Status Complete
    Constructed 1973 – 1976
    Use mixed use
    Antenna/Spire 553.33 m (1,815.4 ft)
    Roof 457.2 m (1,500.0 ft)
    Top floor 446.5 m (1,464.9 ft)
    Technical details
    Floor count 147 (equivalent)
    Elevator count 6
    Architect John Andrews Architects in association with WZMH Architects

    The CN Tower, located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a communications and tourist tower standing 553.33 metres (1,815.39 ft) tall.[1] It surpassed the height of the Ostankino Tower while still under construction in 1975, becoming the tallest free-standing structure on land in the world. On September 12, 2007, after holding the record for 31 years, the CN tower was surpassed in height by the still-under-construction Burj Dubai.[2] It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas and the signature icon of Toronto's skyline, attracting more than two million international visitors annually.[3]

    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. Since local residents wished to retain the name CN Tower, the abbreviation is now said to expand to Canada's National Tower rather than the original Canadian National Tower; however, neither of these are commonly used.[4]

    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.


    The concept of the CN Tower originated from a 1968 Canadian National Railway desire 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 tower would have been part of Metro Centre (see CityPlace), a large development south of Front Street on the Railway Lands, a large railway switching yard that was being made redundant by newer yards outside the city. Key project team members were NCK Engineering as structural engineer; John Andrews Architects; Webb, Zerafa, Menkes, Housden Architects; Foundation Building Construction; and Canron (Eastern Structural Division).

    At the time, Toronto was a boom town, and the late 1960s and early 1970s had seen the construction of numerous large skyscrapers in the downtown core. This made broadcasting into the downtown area very difficult due to reflections off the buildings. The only solution would be to raise the antennas above the buildings, demanding a tower over 300 metres (984 ft) tall. Additionally, at the time, most data communications took place over point-to-point microwave links, whose dish antennae covered the roofs of large buildings. As each new skyscraper was added to the downtown, former line-of-sight links were no longer possible. CN intended to rent "hub" space for microwave links, visible from almost any building in the Toronto area. The CN Tower can be seen from at least as far away as Gamble Street in Richmond Hill, Ontario, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the north, and from several points on the south shore of Lake Ontario, 48 kilometres (30 mi) to the south.

    The original plan for the tower envisioned a tripod consisting of three independent cylindrical "pillars" linked at various heights by structural bridges. Had it been built, this design would have been considerably shorter, with the metal antenna located roughly where the concrete section between the main level and the Sky Pod lies today. As the design effort continued, it evolved into the current design with a single continuous hexagonal core to the Sky Pod, with three support legs blended into the hexagon below the main level, forming a large Y-shape structure at the ground level.

    The idea for the main level in its current form evolved around this time, but the Sky Pod was not part of the plans until some time later. One engineer in particular felt that visitors would feel the higher observation deck would be worth paying extra for, and the costs in terms of construction were not prohibitive. It was also some time around this point that it was realized that the tower could become the world's tallest structure, and plans were changed to incorporate subtle modifications throughout the structure to this end.


    View of downtown Toronto from the CN TowerEnlarge picture
    View of downtown Toronto from the CN Tower

    Construction on the CN Tower began on February 6, 1973 with massive excavations at the tower base for the foundation. By the time the foundation was complete, 56,000 tonnes (61,729 ST) of dirt and shale were removed to a depth of 15 metres (49.2 ft) in the centre, and a base incorporating 7,000 cubic metres (9,156 cu yd) of concrete with 450 tonnes (496 ST) of rebar and 36 tonnes (40 ST) of steel cable had been built to a thickness of 6.7 metres (22 ft). This portion of the construction was fairly rapid, with only four months needed between the start and the foundation being ready for construction on top.

    To build the main support pillar, a hydraulically-raised slipform was built at the base. This was a fairly impressive engineering feat on its own, consisting of a large metal platform that raised itself on jacks at about 6 metres (19.7 ft) per day as the concrete below set. Concrete was poured continuously by a team of 1,532 people until February 22, 1974, during which it had already become the tallest structure in Canada, surpassing the recently built Inco Superstack, which was built using similar methods. In total, the tower contains 40,500 cubic metres (52,972 cu yd) of concrete, all of which was mixed on-site in order to ensure batch consistency. Through the pour, the vertical accuracy of the tower was maintained by comparing the slip form's location to massive plumb-bobs hanging from it, observed by small telescopes from the ground. Over the height of the tower, it varies from true vertical accuracy by only 29 millimetres (1.1 in).

    The CN Tower as seen from its baseEnlarge picture
    The CN Tower as seen from its base

    In August 1974, construction of the main level commenced. Using 45 hydraulic jacks attached to cables strung from a temporary steel crown anchored to the top of the tower, twelve giant steel and wooden bracket forms were slowly raised, ultimately taking about a week to crawl up to their final position. These forms were used to create the brackets that support the main level, as well as a base for the construction of the main level itself. The Sky Pod was built of concrete poured into a wooden frame attached to rebar at the lower level deck, and then reinforced with a large steel compression band around the outside.

    The antenna was originally to be raised by crane as well, but during construction the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter became available when the United States Army sold off theirs to civilian operators. The helicopter, named "Olga", was first used to remove the crane, and then flew the antenna up in 36 sections. The flights of the antenna pieces were a minor tourist attraction of their own, and the schedule was printed in the local newspapers. Use of the helicopter saved months of construction time, with this phase taking only three and a half weeks instead of the planned six months. The tower was topped off on April 2, 1975 after 26 months of construction, officially capturing the height record from Moscow's Ostankino Tower, and bringing the total mass to 118,000 tonnes (130,073 tons).

    Two years into the construction, plans for Metro Centre were scrapped, leaving the tower isolated on the Railway Lands in what was then a largely abandoned light-industrial space. This caused serious problems for tourists to access the tower. Ned Baldwin, project architect with John Andrews, wrote at the time that "All of the logic which dictated the design of the lower accommodation has been upset," and that "Under such ludicrous circumstances Canadian National would hardly have chosen this location to build."


    The CN Tower opened to the public on June 26, 1976, although the official opening date was October 1. The construction costs of approximately CDN$63 million ($330 million in 2005) were repaid in fifteen years. Canadian National Railway sold the tower prior to taking the company public in 1995, when they decided to divest themselves of all operations not directly related to their core freight shipping businesses.

    As the area around the tower was developed, particularly with the introduction of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre (known as the SkyDome before 2005), the former railway "wasteland" disappeared and the tower became the centre of a newly developing entertainment area. Access was greatly improved with the construction of the SkyWalk in 1989, which connected the tower and SkyDome to the nearby railway and subway station, Union Station. By the mid-1990s, it was the centre of a thriving tourist district. The entire area continues to be an area of intense building, notably a boom in condominium construction in the 2000s.

    From 1997 to January 2004, TrizecHahn Corporation managed the building and instituted several expansion projects including a $26 million entertainment expansion and revitalization that included the addition of two new elevators (to a total of six) and the relocation of the staircase from the north side leg to inside the core of the building, a conversion that also added nine stairs to the climb.


    A bolt of lightning strikes the CN Tower. The CN Tower is struck by lightning at least 40 to 50 times annually compared to other places in Toronto which are struck, on average, 2 times per square kilometre (5 times per sq mi) every year.Enlarge picture
    A bolt of lightning strikes the CN Tower. The CN Tower is struck by lightning at least 40 to 50 times annually compared to other places in Toronto which are struck, on average, 2 times per square kilometre (5 times per sq mi) every year.[5]

    The CN Tower consists of several substructures. The main portion of the tower is a hollow concrete hexagonal pillar containing the six elevators, stairwells, and power and plumbing connections. On top of this is a 102 metres (334.6 ft) metal broadcast antenna, carrying TV and radio signals. There are two visitor areas: the main deck level (formerly known as SkyPod) located at 346 metres (1,135 ft), and the higher Sky Pod (formerly known as "Space Deck) at 446.5 metres (1,465 ft),[6] just below the metal antenna. The hexagonal shape can be seen between the two areas; however, below the main deck, three large supporting legs give the tower the appearance of a large tripod.

    The main level is seven stories, some of which are open to the public. Below the public areas — at 338 metres (1,108.9 ft) — is a large white donut-shaped radome containing the structure's microwave receivers. The glass floor and outdoor observation deck are at 342 metres (1,122.0 ft). The glass floor has an area of 24 square metres (258 sq ft) and can withstand a pressure of 4,100 kilopascals (595 psi). The floor's thermal glass units are 64 millimetres (2.5 in) thick, consisting of a pane of 25-millimetre (1.0 in) laminated glass, 25 millimetres (1.0 in) airspace and a pane of 13-millimetre (0.5 in) laminated glass. Some people experience acrophobia when standing on the glass floor and looking down at the ground 342 metres (1,122.0 ft) below. In 2008, one elevator was upgraded to add a glass floor panel, believed to have the highest vertical rise of any elevator so equipped.[7] The Horizons Cafe and the lookout level are at 346 metres (1,135.2 ft). The 360 Restaurant, a revolving restaurant that completes a full rotation once every 72 minutes, is at 351 metres (1,151.6 ft). When the tower first opened, it also featured a disco named Sparkles, billed as the highest disco and dance floor in the world.

    The Sky Pod is the highest public observation deck in the world. On a clear day, it is possible to see 100 to 120 kilometres (62–75 mi) away, to the city of Rochester across Lake Ontario in the United States, the mist rising from Niagara Falls, or the shores of Lake Simcoe.

    A metal staircase reaches the main deck level after 1,776 steps,[8] and the Sky Pod 100 metres above after 2,579 steps; it is the tallest metal staircase on Earth. These stairs are intended for emergency use only and are not open to the public, except for three times per year for charity stair-climb events.[9][10] The average climber takes approximately 30 minutes to climb to the base of the radome, but the fastest climb on record is 7 minutes and 52 seconds in 1989 by Brendan Keenoy, an Ontario Provincial Police Officer.[10] In 2002, Canadian Olympian and Paralympic champion Jeff Adams climbed the stairs of the tower in a specially designed wheelchair.[8]

    Falling Ice Danger

    A freezing rain storm on March 2, 2007 resulted in a layer of ice several centimetres thick forming on the side of the tower and other downtown buildings. The sun thawed the ice, and winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph) blew some of it away from the structure. There were fears that cars and windows of nearby buildings would be smashed by large chunks of ice. In response, police closed some streets surrounding the tower. During morning rush hour on March 5, police expanded the area of closed streets to include the Gardiner Expressway 310 metres (1,017 ft) away from the tower, as increased winds blew the ice farther away, as far north as King Street, 490 metres (1,608 ft) away, where a taxicab window was shattered.

    On March 6, the Gardiner Expressway was reopened after winds died down.[11] It was the first time such an event had posed a threat to public safety.

    Safety features

    Inside the 360 Restaurant in the CN TowerEnlarge picture
    Inside the 360 Restaurant in the CN Tower

    In August 2000, a fire broke out at the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, killing several people and causing extensive damage. The fire was blamed on poor maintenance and outdated equipment. The failure of the fire-suppression systems and the lack of proper equipment for firefighters allowed the fire to destroy most of the interior and spark fears the tower might even collapse.

    The Ostankino Tower was built 9 years before the CN Tower and is only 13 metres shorter. However, Canadian officials subsequently stated that it is "highly unlikely" that a similar disaster could occur at the CN Tower as it has safeguards that were not present in the Ostankino Tower. Specifically, officials cited:

    • the fireproof building materials used in the tower's construction,
    • frequent and stringent safety inspections,
    • an extensive sprinkler system,
    • a 24-hour emergency monitoring operation,
    • two 15,000-imperial gallon water reservoirs at the top which are automatically replenished,
    • a fire hose at the base of the structure capable of sending 600 imperial gallons a minute to any location in the tower,
    • a ban on gas appliances anywhere in the tower,
    • an elevator that can be used during a fire as it runs up the outside of the building and can be powered by three emergency generators at the base of the structure (unlike the elevator at the Ostankino tower, which seriously malfunctioned).[12]

    Officials also noted that the CN Tower has an excellent safety record and that there has never been accidental fire in the tower since it was opened in 1976.[12] Moreover, other tall structures built between 1967–1976, such as the Sears Tower, the World Trade Center (excluding the terrorist attacks), the John Hancock Center, and the Aon Center also have excellent safety records, which suggests that the Ostankino Tower fire was a rare safety failure.


    The CN Tower illuminated, as seen from downtown TorontoEnlarge picture
    The CN Tower illuminated, as seen from downtown Toronto

    The CN Tower was once lit at night with incandescent lights, but they were removed in 1997 because they were expensive and inefficient to repair. In June 2007, the tower was outfitted with 1,330 super-bright LED lights inside the elevator shafts, shooting up over the "bubble" and upward to the top of the tower's mast to light the tower from dusk until 2 a.m. The official opening ceremony took place on June 28 before the Canada Day holiday weekend. After the 95th Grey Cup in Toronto, the tower was lit up in green and white to represent the colours of the Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders.[13]

    Programmed from a desktop computer with a wireless network interface card, the LEDs use less energy to light than the previously used incandescent lights (10% less energy than the dimly lit version and 60% less than the brightly lit version). The estimated cost to use the LEDs is $1,000 per month.

    During the spring and autumn bird migration seasons, the lights will be turned off to comply with the voluntary Fatal Light Awareness Program, which "encourages buildings to dim unnecessary exterior lighting to mitigate bird mortality during spring and summer migration."[14]

    Size comparisons

    For more details on analysis of the tallest man-made structures, see World's tallest structures.

    Comparisons to other notable structures

    The CN Tower's height compared to that of the Burj Dubai in September 2007Enlarge picture
    The CN Tower's height compared to that of the Burj Dubai in September 2007

    The CN Tower is approximately:

    There are currently six proposals for towers whose final heights are to exceed the CN Tower's,[15] four of which are currently under construction. At the forefront is the Burj Dubai which surpassed the CN Tower in height in September 2007. The developers of Burj Dubai have kept the final planned height and number of stories a secret, but they have announced that it would stop somewhere above 2,684 feet (818.1 m). In North America, the Chicago Spire's height is currently planned to exceed CN Tower's height, currently planned at 2,000 feet (609.6 m).[16] The Freedom Tower, which is under construction in New York City, is expected to be 12 m (39 ft) shorter in order to make the tower 1776 feet tall (1776 being the year that the United States declared independence).

    Two other structures, the Russia Tower being built in Moscow, Russia, and the Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower, being built in Guangzhou, China, are also expected to be taller that the CN Tower when completed, with the structures having expected final heights of 612 m (2,008 ft) and 610 m (2,001 ft), respectively.

    Controversy over the "world's tallest" title

    Guinness World Records has called the CN Tower "the world's tallest self-supporting tower" and "the world's tallest free-standing tower".[17][18] Although Guinness did list this description of the CN Tower under the heading "tallest building" at least once,[18] it has also listed it under "tallest tower", omitting it from its list of "tallest buildings."[17] In 1996, Guinness officially changed the tower's classification to "World's Tallest Building and Freestanding Structure". Today, Guinness state that the CN Tower is the "Tallest Freestanding Tower," because the Petronius Platform oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico is taller at 2,001 feet (609.9 m), yet most of the rig is underwater, earning it the title of tallest free-standing structure in the world. Emporis and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat both list the CN Tower as the world's tallest free-standing structure on land, and specifically state that the CN Tower is not a true building, thereby awarding the title of world's tallest building to Taipei 101, which is 44 metres (144 ft) shorter than the CN Tower.[19][20] The tower's official web site, however, unequivocally claims it is the "world's tallest building".[21]

    Although the CN Tower contains a restaurant, a gift shop, and multiple observation levels, it does not have floors continuously from the ground, and therefore it is not considered a building by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Emporis, or any other architectural authorities. CTBUH defines a building as "a structure that is designed for residential, business, or manufacturing purposes. An essential characteristic of a building is that it has floors."[20] The CN Tower and other similar structures, such as the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia, the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France are categorized as "towers", which are free-standing structures that may have observation decks and a few other habitable levels, but do not have floors from the ground up. The CN Tower is the tallest tower by this definition.[19]

    Taller than the CN Tower are numerous radio masts and towers which are held in place by guy-wires, the tallest being the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota at 628 metres (2,060 ft) tall, leading to a distinction between these and "free-standing" structures. Additionally, the Petronius Platform stands 610 metres (2,001 ft) above its base on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, but only the top 75 metres (246 ft) of this oil and natural gas platform are above water, and the structure is thus partially supported by its buoyancy. Like the CN Tower, none of these taller structures are commonly considered buildings.

    On September 12, 2007, the Burj Dubai, a hotel, residential and commercial building being built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, passed the CN Tower's 553.33 metre[1] height. The CN Tower held the record of tallest free-standing structure on land for over 30 years.[2] The tower now stands as the second-tallest free-standing structure on land in the world, and as the tallest completed structure.


    The CN Tower as seen from the interior of the Rogers Centre stadiumEnlarge picture
    The CN Tower as seen from the interior of the Rogers Centre stadium

    The CN Tower has been and continues to be used as a communications tower for a number of different media, and by numerous companies.

    Television broadcasters

    Callsign Analog Channel Digital Channel Affiliation Branding
    CBLT 5 20 CBC CBC Television
    CFTO-TV 9 40 CTV CTV Toronto
    CICA 19 51 TVOntario TVOntario
    CBLFT 25 24 Radio-Canada Radio-Canada
    CIII-TV 41 65 (assigned) Global Global
    CFMT-TV 47 64 (from alternate site) Rogers Communications Omni.1
    CKXT-TV 52 66 Independent Sun TV
    CITY-TV 57 53 Citytv Citytv


    There is no AM broadcasting on the CN Tower.[22] The FM antennas are situated 421 metres (1,381 ft) above ground.

    Callsign[23] Frequency ERP Branding Notes
    Master FM Consortium of Toronto broadcasters for Digital Audio Broadcasting
    CJRT 91.1 MHz 40 kW JAZZ.FM91  
    CJAQ 92.5 MHz 40 kW 92.5 Jack FM  
    CBL 94.1 MHz 38 kW CBC Radio 2  
    CFMZ 96.3 MHz 38 kW Classical 96  
    CJEZ 97.3 MHz 4 kW EZ Rock 97.3  
    CHFI 98.1 MHz 44 kW 98.1 CHFI  
    CKFM 99.9 MHz 40 kW 99.9 Mix FM  
    CHIN 100.7 MHz 4 kW CHIN Radio Primarily in Italian and Portuguese
    CFNY 102.1 MHz 35 kW actual (100 kW ERP) 102.1 the Edge
    CHUM 104.5 MHz 40 kW 104.5 CHUM FM  
    CILQ 107.1 MHz 40 kW Classic Rock Q 107  

    Cellular and paging providers


    Media placement

    The CN Tower, as seen from Trinity Bellwoods Park in the west end of TorontoEnlarge picture
    The CN Tower, as seen from Trinity Bellwoods Park in the west end of Toronto

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