Ryerson engineering students light CN tower purple

The CN tower cast a purple hue over Toronto on Wednesday night.

The Toronto landmark was lit by Ryerson Engineering Students as a part of National Engineering Month.

The students, though, didn’t light the tower using traditional means.

Instead, they used a Rube Goldberg machine, a chain reaction device, to hit a button representing the CN tower lighting switch.

Ryerson was one of ten schools from across Ontario that built similar machines. The devices were activated by calls to a cell phone. A video with footage from each machine will be produced. The video will make it seem like the ten devices work as one big machine.

The Rube Goldberg project, now in its fifth year, is organized by the Engineering Student Societies Council of Ontario. The event rounds out the end of engineering month.

“We all love to show off our skills,” said Connor Olsen, a Conestoga College engineering student and ESSCO’s vice president services. “This is a great way of doing it.”

The official demonstration of Ryerson’s machine took place at the CN tower. Students from other engineering schools and industry professionals were present for the unveiling.

Rube Goldberg machines “complete a simple task in quite possibly the most difficult way possible,” said Mark Dietrich, the CEO of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

Dietrich seemed impressed by Ryerson’s machine, but he wished he had more time to look at each element. “It went by too fast,” he said.

After all the problems the students had building their machine, they were pleased when the machine worked during the demonstration.

“I’m ecstatic the whole machine went off without a hitch,” said project lead and third-year engineering student Derek Stanley. He said he felt “amazing.”

Before the unveiling, the Ryerson students were taken on a behind the scenes tour of the CN tower by Andre Saker, the tower’s director of facilities and engineering.

He was impressed by the students.

“They’re very curious. They asked a lot of questions,” he said. “They were engaged. They were very impressive.”

The CN tower’s marketing and communications director said during her speech that Saker told her that Ryerson’s students are “one of the most intelligent groups he’s met.”

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