MGCI’s team poses after the climb. Image: Evan Woo

Fourteen MGCI students caught the sunrise on the top of Canada’s tallest building, the CN Tower, after climbing up its 1776 steps in the early morning of 24 November 2018.

“It was so rewarding to be at the top after a hard climb. The view was worth every single step,” said Grade 9 student Kelly Wang.

The CN Tower Climb, officially called UP2018 this year, is a charity event hosted by United Way Greater Toronto, an organization that supports social services, invests in communities, and fights local poverty in the GTA. Raising over 1.5 million dollars, about four-thousand people across Toronto participated in the climb this year. The event aims to promote school spirit, provide an opportunity for different grades to bond, and give students the chance to make an impact in their community. MGCI has taken part in this annual event for many years; this year, the school’s team captain for a second year was Grade 11 student Laura Lu.

Earlier this year in October, an information session was held for students interested in the climb. However, many of those students did not end up participating in the event, likely due to the minimum fifty dollars that needed to be fundraised. Nonetheless, the school team raised one-thousand dollars through door-to-door donations, online pledges, and in-person donations, meeting its goal. It was also aided by several students who helped fundraise, but did not take part in the climb.

Students gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) at 7 am and travelled to the CN Tower for the climb shortly after. Although schools could decide when to climb between 6 am and 10 am, MGCI climbed early to beat the crowd that would gather later in the morning.

Climbing up the CN Tower was not an easy featGrade 10 student Sigil Wen described his experience climbing, “It was tiring, I had climbed the tower last year, so I thought I knew what I was going to expect, but I was wrong. But people encouraged one another and it motivated all of us to keep going.” Although participants could climb at whatever pace they wished, they were timed using electronic wristbands and were encouraged to climb as fast as they could. Some took on the challenge and had impressive results. MGCI’s Austin Lin climbed to the top in an incredible thirteen minutes and came in seventeenth place, while Jeffrey Qiu climbed up in thirteen minutes and twenty-two seconds, coming in twenty-seventh place.

The top of the tower was filled with excitement and joy, as climbers were given an opportunity to enjoy the view and cool down before taking the elevator back down. When returning to the MTCC, participants were able to take photos, get a t-shirt, and celebrate their accomplishments. Grade 11 student Eric Zhao, who participated in the climb, said, “Climbing the CN Tower isn’t something that you get a chance to do very often, and I thought it was a good way to experience something fun and unique while supporting a great cause. I’ve been to the CN Tower Climb almost every year since Grade 5, and it’s almost become a tradition to attend every year. I’m sure I’ll be going again in future years.”

The next United Way climb will be held on 2 November 2019. Laura said, “All of this couldn’t have been done without Mr. Laughlin and his easy going spirit. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of strong willed individuals to climb alongside and I hope everyone gives it a shot at least once in their high school life.”

The Reckoner would like to recognize the following students for their efforts in participating and fundraising for this event:

  • Laura Lu
  • Gabriel Cassidy
  • Josephine Davey-Young
  • Anirudh Goel
  • Jessica Guo
  • Jacqueline Huo
  • Evelyn Jiang
  • Aimee Li
  • Larissa Long
  • Max Lu
  • Jeffrey Qiu
  • Kelly Wang
  • Sigil Wen
  • Evan Woo
  • Justin Ye
  • Wendi Zhang
  • Eric Zhao