Fun Facts with Daniel – The CN Tower and The Meaning Behind Leap Year

The CN Tower held the record for world’s tallest freestanding structure from 1975 until 2007, when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  At a mere 553.33 m (1,815.4 ft), the tower is now only in 6th place for this record, with Burj Khalifa still in first place (829.8 m/2,722 ft).  Technically the CN Tower has never held the record for world’s tallest building because it doesn’t have floors continuously from the ground and is therefore not considered a building according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) or Emporis. Instead it is categorized as a tower.


As I’m sure most people know, 2016 is a leap year.  But have you ever wondered why February has an additional 29th day every 4 years?  We tend to say that it takes 365 days for Earth to complete one revolution around the sun (a year), but it actually takes closer to 365.25 days.  To adjust for this irregularity and instead of having a quarter day each year, an extra day is added every 4 years to compensate.  This ensures that the calendar year stays in sync with Earth’s actual orbit.

To make things even more complicated, a scientific year (the Earth’s orbit around the sun) takes precisely 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds; not the rounded 365 days and 6 hours.  To reflect this fact, 3 leap days are excluded every 400 years.  Normally, leap years are years that are multiples of 4 (ex. 1964, 1988, 2016).  However, in order to follow the previously stated rule, the first year of a century — although always divisible by 4 — is not a leap year unless the first 2 digits are also a multiple of 4.  This means that the years 1600, 2000, and 2400 are/were leap years while 1700, 1800, 1900, and 2100 aren’t/weren’t.

Since February 29 is a special day which doesn’t occur most years, there are many folk traditions around the world that happen on that day.  For example, Leap Day is known in some countries as Bachelor’s Day.  On this day a woman is allowed to propose to a man and if the man refuses he has to give the woman money or buy her a dress.  In Ireland, this tradition supposedly originates from a deal that St. Bridget made with St. Patrick.  Then there’s the city of Aurora, Illinois, where single women have the authority to arrest single men and subject them to a $4 fine.  And in Greece, it’s considered bad luck to marry on a leap day.

I think we can all feel sorry for people who were born on a leap day since they only get to celebrate their actual birthday every 4 years.  Some famous figures with a February 29 birthday include Pope Paul III, Ann Lee (founder of the Christian movement known as the Shakers), Henri Richard (former Montreal Canadiens player and brother of hockey legend Maurice Richard), actor Dennis Farina, and rapper Ja Rule.


Daniel’s Biography:

 My name is Daniel Myers.  I’m 21 years old and live in Pickering, Ontario.  I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD and am a self-advocate.  Earlier this year I graduated with Honours from Tourism and Travel at Centennial College.  My major interests include geography, maps, politics, world issues, history, travel, and theatre arts.  I am currently enrolled in the Transition To Life program run by Integrated Autism Consulting.

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