Seeing Metro Vancouver from 614 feet is scary and breathtaking

A reporter gets a view from the top floor of a half-built skyscraper

I once wrote an entire chapter in a long-forgotten book about Maple Ridge on what it was like to see the town while circling it in an airplane.

The point of the piece was that you could live in a place for a long time, but seeing it from a different perspective will reveal interesting things to you.

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That thought came back to me on Friday when I was taken up to the top of Burnaby’s tallest building at the Amazing Brentwood development that’s transforming Brentwood Town Centre.

Project developer Shape and residential builder Axiom were celebrating what they called the “topping off” of the tower, which reaches 614 feet up into the sky.

I’m sure plenty of you have been to the top floor of a skyscraper, but this was a decidedly different experience.

The building isn’t finished, just the frame of it has reached the top floor. So instead of taking a nice, comfy elevator inside the building, a group of us crowded into large metal enclosure that serves as an elevator for the construction crews.

There are no windows, just metal mesh. It rumbled as it slowly made its way up along the side of the building.

I remember thinking to myself that I was glad I only had a power bar for breakfast – and I’m not even afraid of heights.

Once the door opened on the top floor – where the penthouse will be – I stepped off and my jaw dropped.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been that high up and got a 360-degree view of anything.

It really is a staggering experience. It felt like you could see forever.

Downtown Vancouver looked spectacular, as did Burrard Inlet, Burnaby Lake, Metrotown and Capitol Hill.

But the best part was looking east and seeing the house I grew up in, just off of Holdom. I grew up just a few blocks from Brentwood mall after we sadly moved away from the Heights.

For my teen years, this was my main hangout. Now I was over top of it and seeing every inch of Burnaby. It really does give you a different feeling about your city when you look at it from a different perspective.

Seeing Burnaby all in one shot, I was reminded just how big our city is and how, despite its many urban amenities, there is still so many natural areas.

That reminder led me to stop by Burnaby Lake on the way back to the office. I wandered down to where the ducks and the beaver hang out and took a few minutes to enjoy the quiet.

That is what a different perspective gives you.

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