A Mother’s Day surprise at CN Tower

Story by Rod Charles Deputy Editor


Andrea Ruiz Guajardo was surprised at the CN Tower by her mother (Rosa Carmen Guajardo, centre, and sister, Valeria Ruiz, right). They made the trip from Mexico after winning a contest. (Rod Charles/

TORONTO, ONTARIO — The CN Tower may be a landmark with several sensational attractions, including a revolving restaurant and glass floor, but Andrea Ruiz Guajardo discovered another phenomenal — and deeply personal — reason to feel like she was on top of the world while at Toronto’s most famous building. Soon after she entered the tower, Guajardo found her emotions going sky high, thanks to an unexpected family reunion. It was a surprise gathering that took place just days before Mother’s Day.

A university student from Mexico who is studying in Toronto, Guajardo was told she had won a chance to participate in EdgeWalk at the CN Tower. EdgeWalk allows participants to walk on the roof of the restaurant, a heart-stopping 356 metres (168 feet) above ground. Completed in 1976, the CN Tower held the record as the world’s tallest free-standing structure until 2010 (at 553 metres overall; 1,814 feet). In 1995, it was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Each year, over 1.5 million people visit the landmark.

Guajardo knew she would be having fun at the tower, but what she didn’t know was that her mother, Rosa Carmen Guajardo, and sister, Valeria Ruiz, had been secretly flown to the city for a surprise reunion with Andrea. The pair had won a contest sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). Jorge Morfin, managing director of the CTC’s Mexico office, says that the idea of the promotion is to motivate Mexicans to travel to Canada, and to show them the great experiences Canada can bring.

“The story goes way beyond what happened at the CN Tower. In Mexico, we selected two couples — a mother and daughter in both cases. We asked them what they would consider the best gift for Mother’s Day, and they answered several things such as dinner, travel to Acapulco, etc. But to those who answered ‘a trip to Canada,’ we invited them to come to Canada,” says Morfin, adding that approximately 145,000 Mexicans visit Canada each year. “One couple (Guajardo’s mom and sister) went to Toronto, and the other couple went to Vancouver. We just produced a video about two-and-a-half minutes long showing not only how we selected these couples, but how much fun they had during their visit to Canada. We are showing the people of Mexico the great experiences people have visiting Canada. We are saying, ‘Look how Mexican mothers can celebrate Mother’s Day in Canada.’ And so far, we already have so many shares and likes, so we’re quite excited.”

[box_info]Click here to view the video[/box_info]

Mother’s Day Surprise at CN Tower

In Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated every May 10 and is even more revered as a holiday than in the rest of North America. It was at the CN Tower where Mark Melnyk of Mark My Words Productions was able to interview Guajardo about her home in Mexico, and her experiences in Canada, for a video that was produced for a Mexican camera crew. What she didn’t realize was that her mother and sister were waiting just around the corner near the CN Tower Glass Floor to surprise her.

Mom and sister snuck up behind Andrea while she was being interviewed on camera. They tapped her on the back, Andrea spun around and instantly screamed, then fell into a deep embrace. As the screams ebbed, the tears flowed.

“You got me. You got me good,” Andrea Ruiz Guajardo said after composing herself. While beaming with joy, she admitted she had been thoroughly fooled. “This is one of the nicest surprises I’ve ever had.”

Speaking through a translator, her mom expressed her gratitude and emotions.

“I’m so excited to see her again, I can’t contain myself,” Rosa Carmen Guajardo said. “Thank you, CN Tower. Thank you, Canadian Tourism Commission. Thank you, Toronto. Thank you, Canada. Thank you, everybody!”

Melnyk said it was an inspirational moment for him to witness. “I think what surprised me the most was how emotional it was,” said the long-time television and documentary host and producer. “It was something that literally moved me. I didn’t anticipate how much it would have affected me to see them reunited.”

Afterwards, the three women went out and celebrated their reunion by taking part in EdgeWalk. They may be the only ones ever to have enjoyed that stupendous jaunt outside the tower and think it was only the second-biggest thrill of their day.



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Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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