Jay Cochrane, skywalks in front of hundreds crammed into the observation deck of the Skylon Tower for the first day of Skywalk 2012 on July 6, 2012. Jay completed his walk to the Hilton Fallsview Hotel, 1300 feet away in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Cochrane walked, untethered, from atop the 520-foot-tall Skylon Tower to the 581-foot-tall Hilton Fallsview Hotel nearly every day that summer, cancelling only when the weather was bad. It was his final show before his death from cancer, and ended with 48 walks with a world record submission of 11.81 miles (19.01 km) in cumulative distance.
It was a bitter sweet summer for those of us who were mesmerized by Jay’s performance. The summer ended with Nik Wallenda performing his tethered high wire walk across Niagara Gorge below the crest of the Canadian Falls. Jay and I watched this event from Wayne Thompson’s home just blocks away from the falls. Jay was gracious and now I realize that he was sick during this whole time. Jay watched his dream of walking over Niagara Falls disappear in the mist as Nik walked his wire. It was a slap in the face of one of Canada’s greatest performers.
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