COVID-19 closed the CN Tower, but WWF supporters still plan to “virtually climb” for nature

CN Tower Climb

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of WWF-Canada’s CN Tower Climb for Nature. For the first time ever, the beloved event will transition into a virtual climb for nature.

On Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5, our climbers will step up for nature by engaging in their own personal fitness challenges from home. Climbers are encouraged to share their workouts via social media by using the hashtag #VirtualCNTowerClimb.

The health and well-being of our climbers and supporters remains our top priority, so in light of COVID-19, we encourage all participants to follow local and national social distancing guidelines at all times, including during the challenge. That means staying at least two metres — or the length of a giant panda — away from others. Consult the Government of Canada for more physical distancing recommendations.

The rules of the Virtual Climb are simple: participants pledge to get moving for nature and complete their activity on one of the two days. Some ways to get moving include taking 17,760 steps (the equivalent of about 13 kilometres and the same number of steps up the tower), going up and down stairs 144 times (the same number of flights in the tower) and participating in an online fitness class at home — about 30 minutes should do the trick!

To make the challenge even more fun, WWF-Canada has teamed up with Dan Jackson and Rebecca Franklin, co-owners of Junction Fitness Hub, to take registered climbers through a virtual workout session. Jackson and Franklin will offer six classes over the two-day challenge so participants can sign up for the session that works best for them. Registered participants will receive login datils for online classes.

Online classes will run on:
Saturday, April 4 at 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.

Megan Leslie, President and CEO of WWF-Canada, is available for interviews to discuss the Virtual Climb as well as how WWF-Canada is working to protect wildlife and nature across Canada.

Meet some of our climbers:

Dee Simpson
Dee,  a 77-year-old avid cyclist, began her virtual climb training by tackling a 22-storey staircase. Each day, she would add a further 20 floors to her climb, taking the elevator back down as fast as she could, in an effort to match the CN Tower’s 144 flights.

“I started my training on March 1st in a condo stairwell which is 22 floors high. Almost every day since, I have [added a further] 20 floors to my climb, taking the elevator down each time and then climbing up again as fast as I could! And last night, after learning that the Climb wasn’t going to happen in reality, I decided to climb [the same number of flights that are in the CN Tower] anyway. One-hundred and 44  floors equals 1,776 steps in 23.47 minutes,” Simpson told WWF-Canada in early March 2020.*

*As COVID-19 continues to evolve, WWF-Canada encourages all virtual climbers to follow public health and safety recommendations to ensure their activity falls within acceptable social distancing practices.

Melissa Grelo
Along with being a host on CTV’s The Social, Melissa is a WWF-Canada board member and a passionate advocate for wildlife and nature. Melissa has pledged to complete the #VirtualCNTowerClimb challenge by using her elliptical machine at home while watching Netflix’s Our Planet, a series made in collaboration between Netflix, Silverback Films and WWF.

Megan Leslie
WWF-Canada’s president and CEO, Megan Leslie, is taking on her own virtual fitness challenge and is joining WWF staff, friends and family as a key member of WWF-Canada’s climbing team, Panda Pack. Panda Pack is historically one of the Climb’s highest fundraising teams.
The donations collected through this milestone event will support our vital conservation work, from protecting caribou calving grounds in the Arctic and preventing ship collisions with orcas in the Pacific to using nature itself to fight the ever-growing climate crisis across our country.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit

To set up interviews, contact:

Laura Eley, communications specialist
[email protected]