• James Parry

Daredevil Emily Aird becomes oldest woman to do the Edge Walk atop the CN Tower


PHOTO COURTESY CN TOWER EDGE WALK

Following a sky-diving excursion last year and a series of bungee jumping adventures, 92-year-old Hudson resident Emily Aird continues to celebrate life with her latest personal challenge, a jaunt around the perimeter of Toronto’s famed CN Tower, over 350 metres above ground.

At 92 years young, what are you going to do to top four long-distance bungee jumps in New Zealand and Canada, and skydiving from a plane high above St. Jerome in Quebec last year, at an age when perhaps playing bridge or watching TV would be more recommended by your doctor?

Well, if you are Hudsonite Emily Aird, you take an elevator up to the summit of the CN Tower in Toronto, get yourself all suited and harnessed up and, leaning backwards, slowly walk 150 metres outside around the circumference of the observation deck – with no handrails whatsoever – along with five other much younger guys and gals some 356 metres above the city below. And, in doing so, solidify your legacy as a true Edge Walker.

Which is exactly what Aird, and with a certificate to prove it, did on September 29 in her latest adventure thus proving, in her own words, that age is just a number. And that if you think positive and seize the day, you will indeed live every day to the fullest.

That being said, Aird did have one major gripe about the walk when I met with her earlier this week for a nice cup of tea and biscuits in her home on Aird Street - obviously named after her family. “The weather was absolutely terrible. It was as if I was in the clouds. And I couldn’t see anything below!”

For anyone with a fear of heights, that would seem to be a bonus. But not for Aird, the oldest lady to have ever done the tower’s Edge Walk. “I also don’t like heights,” she laughed. “But then I don’t think about it and just do it. And you know what? It works.”

So why did she decide to participate in the Edge Walk? “Because I saw a woman of 85 doing it on TV and I thought to myself, ‘Hey I can do that. Should be fun’.”

And so she took a bus from Kirkland to Kingston where she met her niece, Nancy Raven, and then continued on to Toronto to join her other niece, Patty Hagerty. Both of whom watched Aird in awe from the observation deck.

“It was all over so fast,” said Aird. “As we made our way around the tower, we had to stop every once in a while and do some special movements. It was kind of like an aerobics class. And while not exactly frightened, I must admit I was a little uneasy. I mean it was a long way down. Not that I could see anything because of the fog which I found very disappointing.”

Would she ever do it again? I asked her. “I’m really glad I went but no, I wouldn’t do it again. It was kind of boring actually. I really think my next adventure will be bungee jumping again. Hopefully in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games next year. If they ever get it finished.”

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