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Imagine if the Eiffel Tower was in Canada!

7 mins. read

Published in the Sunday Mumbai Samachar on 31 March, 2024

Where is the Eiffel Tower? We all know the answer to that, it’s in Paris, France. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris and every day, thousands of travellers (Veena World included) from all around the world stand in line to visit the iconic 2nd and 3rd levels of the Eiffel Tower every single day. And why not? It’s such an extraordinary piece of engineering and architecture. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, whose engineering company specialised in metal frameworks. It took 22 months to complete between 1887 and 1889, which is an incredible feat for a time, when workers had far fewer of the machines and tools we rely on today. And what’s even more astonishing is that given how high workers had to climb, no one was killed or hurt during the tower’s construction. Today it stands tall in Paris, as one of the most iconic monuments of the city of love.

So with this background, let’s get to today’s super interesting story about the mighty Eiffel Tower. What if I told you, that there was a strong strong chance that the Eiffel Tower, as it stands today, would not have been in Paris, but all the way west in Montreal, Canada! Imagine... It’s true. So today, let’s dive into this story.

Now, we all know and have heard of the EXPO that takes place all around the world every 4 years, with the last one being Dubai 2020 (which, thanks to the pandemic extended well into 2021). So in 1967, the Expo was schedule to be held in the Canadian city of Montreal. And as the story goes, Montreal actually wanted to borrow the Eiffel Tower from France for Expo 67. Borrow such a huge monument, that’s crazy right!

Montreal originally wanted to build a large concrete tower in time for Expo 67. However, when the project’s expenditures became too exorbitant, it was shelved. When it became clear that the “Montreal Tower” would not be ready in time for Expo 67, a member of the mayor’s cabinet proposed borrowing the Eiffel Tower from France, jokingly of course. But John Drapeau, who was Montreal’s Mayor at the time, in fact took this suggestion very seriously indeed. Doing this would ensure that Montreal would still have a monument to show off in time for the fair if this were to happen.

So Drapeau, started carefully considering the difficulties of transporting the tower from Paris, despite the notion being presented just as a joke. Studies were established to check the feasibility of dismantling and relocating the steel tower. The then president of France, Charles De Gaulle, who happened to be a close friend of the Montreal mayor was also seriously considering the transfer. There were even plans to put up a sign on its old site announcing its return once the Expo ended in October of that year. Both Drapeau and Charles De Gaulle had their teams working round the clock seriously considering this to happen and all plans were drawn out.

But we can say fortunately, the plan was blocked by the company operating the tower and many citizens and citizen groups in Canada. There were a couple of reasons for the blocking. Firstly, because as amazing as the Eiffel tower is, it did have it’s critics in Canada who opposed this move, and secondly, the plan was blocked by the company operating the tower just out of fear that the French government could refuse permission for the tower to be restored in its original location again because of bureaucracy and red tape in the French Government at the time. And so, the Eiffel Tower stayed in it’s original place as it stands even today! So that’s the story. Imagine, not being able to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I can’t, can you?

And now that we are talking about the Eiffel Tower, let me leave you with 3 super interesting facts that a Veena World tour manager recently told me:

  1. Tallest Man-Made Structure: When it was completed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower held the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world. It retained this distinction until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York City surpassed its height. Today, it tames in comparison to the Burj Khalifa, but back in 1889, it was indeed a remarkable piece of engineering.
  2. Repainting the Tower: The Eiffel Tower is painted every seven years to protect it from rust and corrosion. It's painted in three different shades of brown, with the darkest shade at the bottom and the lightest at the top to create an illusion of uniform color when viewed from a distance. It takes approximately 60 tons of paint to cover the entire structure, and this painting process is a continuous task, involving a team of skilled painters working year-round.
  3. And finally, did you know that initially, it was actually constructed only as a temporary structure? Yes, the Tower was originally constructed as a temporary structure for the 1889 Expo held in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Gustave Eiffel's design was meant to stand for just 20 years, but it was so popular and useful (especially for telecommunication purposes) that it was allowed to remain and stands strong even today!

That’s all from me today. If you liked reading this, why not check out our podcast Travel Explore Celebrate Life on Spotify, JioSaavn, Amazon Prime Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you like listening to your podcasts. We have even done a deep dive into the Eiffel Tower in one of the 100+ episodes that we have released till date! So that’s it from me today, if you liked reading this, I would love to hear what you thought of the story, so do write to me at Have a super week ahead and as we always say at Veena World, keep Celebrating Life!

March 30, 2024


Neil Patil
Neil Patil

Founder & Director, Veena World

More Blogs by Neil Patil

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