Bell Aliant Tower
|Bell Aliant Tower|
The Bell Aliant Tower as seen from ground level
|Antenna spire||127 m (417 ft)
(Equiv. to approx. 32 floors)
The Bell Aliant Tower, formerly known as the Aliant Tower and older still, the NBTel Tower, is a 127 metre high tower of reinforced concrete located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. It is used to provide directional radio services. It is the tallest freestanding structure in all four Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador).
The NBTel Tower was the subject of litigation in John Maryon Int Ltd v. NB Telephone Co  N.B.J. No. 387 (N.B. C.A.). In his decision on the case, Justice LaForest provided substantial background on the early history of the tower:
- In early 1970 the New Brunswick Telephone Company, Limited (N.B.Tel) learned that plans had been approved by the City of Moncton for the construction of the Place L'Assomption development, a new high-rise business complex in the heart of the city. This development would block the transmission of microwave messages to and from N.B.Tel's 135 feet steel tower located in downtown Moncton. As a result, N.B.Tel decided to build a new and higher tower, and in June 1970 it invited several consulting engineers to submit proposals for the construction of the new tower.
- John Maryon International Ltd. (Maryon International) was selected as consultant to design and arrange for its construction.
- Construction work had in fact already started on September 21, 1970, when excavation for the foundation was begun. The slip form method of construction, whereby concrete is poured into forms continuously moving upwards, was recommended and used in constructing the tower shaft. The slip form began on November 4, 1970, and was finished on November 20, 1970. Other aspects of the work proceeded with similar celerity, and the tower was completed and fully operational by the following summer. It was officially opened at the beginning of June 1971.
During the construction phase of the tower, only two people ever stood on top of the red beacon at the top of the tower, Bob Sweet and John Brophi, both were engineers on the project.
At the time of its construction, Aliant Tower was the tallest microwave communications tower of its kind in North America. It remains the tallest structure in Moncton, dwarfing the neighbouring Place L’Assomption, one of the tallest office buildings in the Province, by 46 metres. Aliant Tower is also recognized for its importance as a symbol of economical and technological growth in Moncton’s history. In choosing Moncton as the location for this innovative tower, NBTel claimed to be predicting where the growth of the Province as a whole would take place. The tower’s placement at the corner of Botsford Street and Queen Street is also significant. The tower sits on the site of Moncton’s first telephone exchange, which was started in 1883 by George C. Peters with five subscribers.
The tower has become an icon of the city since its construction because of unique design. In most print media that involves the depiction of the City of Moncton almost always features some depiction of the tower. To many, it is also the first thing that is noticed when approaching the city from the ground or air because of its height and lack of competition on the skyline. In the past, it was easily noticed by city residents because the satellites and openings that surround the top of the tower would be lit up after dark, but because of recent budget cuts and lack of use, Bell Aliant no longer lights the tower up to save on electricity and maintenance costs.
The tower is not used as much today as it was through the '70s, '80s and early '90s because of the dwindling popularity of microwave transmission equipment but is still used for modern cell phone communications, 4G internet devices and emergency radio services such as those used by the RCMP and fire departments. As of late 2010 and early 2011 the tower has been undergoing structural reinforcement through the use of Fibrwrap, a durable yet thin fiberglass coating designed to protect and seal the concrete structure to help lengthen the life of the structure and protect it from the harsh climate in atlantic Canada.