Meet the CN Tower climbers helping fundraise $1 million for conservation in Canada

Melissa Grelo, Blake Moynes and thousands more will step up for wildlife with WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature on April 15 and 16

TORONTO, March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- What do a mother-daughter fundraising duo, a wildlife-loving Bachelorette alum, a record-setting tower racer and a winged architect have in common?

They are among the thousands of people who will climb the CN Tower’s 1,776 steps when WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature makes its highly anticipated return on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16.

After a three-year hiatus, the need for WWF-Canada’s most significant fundraising event is greater than ever. Globally, wildlife populations have dropped 69 per cent on average since 1970. And it’s not just tigers, pandas and other far away species. Here in Canada, we have more than 800 species at risk of extinction.

With the help of dedicated climbers, WWF-Canada hopes to raise more than $1 million for conservation efforts in Canada aimed at restoring and protecting nature, fighting climate change and reversing wildlife loss.

Registration for the fundraising event is still open at Don’t wait — Saturday’s climb is nearly sold out.

Some of the climbers taking part this year include:

  • Megan Leslie: WWF-Canada’s president and CEO is climbing again to help combat the dual biodiversity and climate crises.

  • Melissa Grelo: Along with being the host of CTV’s The Social, Melissa is a WWF-Canada board member and a passionate advocate for wildlife and nature. Melissa is taking on the tower’s 144 floors for the second time.

I’m asking you to help conserve this planet and help conserve really sensitive ecosystems right here in Canada,” Melissa says. “It’s a ton of fun, it’s a great day out, and you’re helping nature and wildlife thrive.”

  • Blake Moynes: a Bachelorette alum and conservationist from Hamilton, Ont., Blake has travelled around the world to support environmental causes and charities. On April 16, he’s leading a team of fellow wildlife warriors up the iconic tower.

Ever since I was a kid, I always thought WWF was the coolest because of their work to protect animals in more than 100 countries around the globe, and right here in Canada,” Blake says. “Sure, the number of steps seems a little bit daunting, but not as daunting as it will be to try to reverse wildlife loss and combat climate change if we don’t act!”

  • Julian Backhouse: A grandfather of four from Mississauga, Ont., Julian has Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects his physical strength and coordination. Although he uses a wheelchair to get around most of the time, Julian has scaled the CN Tower for WWF-Canada six times, raising more than $14,000 for wildlife conservation. Now facing a cancer diagnosis, Julian won’t be climbing — but his family will be! And WWF-Canada will be giving out an award in his name to a climber who has made an extraordinary effort to positively impact nature and people.

  • Maria and Mikayla Flikkema: This mother-daughter duo has been climbing together for six years — since Mikayla was just 12 years old. Powerhouse fundraisers, together they’ve raised $4,000 so far this year.

  • Doug Dorsey: An architect who has climbed the CN Tower 29 times, just one year short of doing it every year! A big believer in the work WWF does, Doug has raised nearly $50,000 for our conservation work. This year, he’s currently at the top of the leaderboard with $2,386 raised for wildlife. Every climb, Doug wears a headband with wings, which he’s had since he was a kid, to lift his fellow climber's spirits.

  • Liisa Ladouceur: Liisa has climbed the CN Tower with WWF-Canada four times before—but that was before cancer. Now cancer-free and thrilled to be leading a team of panda loving friends up the tower, she considers reaching the top an important part of her recovery.

This year’s climb is different because I’m in a very different body. Last year I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I had an invasive surgery and then I went through several months of chemotherapy,” Liisa says. “Cancer takes a lot of things away from you. But I don't want to take this away. I want to prove that I can still do this.

  • Reece David: Reece is returning for his seventh climb! Never one to back down, in 2020 when the event was cancelled, he did a virtual CN Tower Climb on the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock steps dressed as Deadpool that caught the attention of Ryan Reynolds on Twitter.

  • Tyler Kruschenske: Tyler has come in first in the Elite Climb challenge four times and has won several obstacle, road and trail races. He started training by running his gas metre route in Brantford, Ont. and now works as an online fitness trainer when he isn’t studying osteopathy.

  • Shaun Stephens-Whale: After breaking WWF-Canada’s previous event record in 2017 by climbing the 1,776 stairs in just 9 minutes and 54.9 seconds, the tower runner and obstacle course racer from Squamish, B.C. is returning to defend his title and beat his own time.


For more stories and quotes from our CN Tower Climbers, please see our blog.

To arrange an interview with one of our climbers, please contact Emily Vandermeer at

For footage of past climbs, please view here.

About WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature

  • Visit to register as an individual or with a team of friends, family or colleagues.
  • The climb takes place on Saturday, April 15 from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Climbers wishing to compete for the fastest time can register for the Elite Climb on Sunday, April 16 at 6 a.m.
  • Since WWF-Canada held its first ever climb in 1991, more than 135,000 people have stepped up for wildlife and helped deliver big conservation results from nearly tripling Nepal’s wild tiger population to advancing protection for hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of critical habitat for Arctic species.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit


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