The forecast for Friday, November 8, 1974, promised clear skies and above-seasonal temperatures. Those were ideal jumping conditions. To avoid fellow workers being implicated as co-conspirators, Eustace didn’t share final details of his plan with anyone. At noon, he placed two garbage bags into the bucket of the crane. They contained a brown-and-green silk chute, as well as a motorcycle helmet emblazoned with a maple leaf.
Eustace waited until the afternoon shift change before making his next move. A temporary hoist carried him up the central shaft of the tower to the Sky Pod level, where his gear awaited him. Helmet and chute donned, he climbed a series of ladders, some inside and others outside the tower, until he reached the crane at about the 450-metre point.
As anticipated, the crane’s cab was unoccupied. Facing strong autumn gusts, Eustace shimmied across the crane’s latticed boom. There was no turning back. He connected the parachute’s static line to the crane’s rigging. Balancing himself, he stood, taking in the unobstructed view. He later told reporters, “It felt so beautiful.… It was a great feeling.”
Sweet William Eustace stepped off the crane.
The static line opened the chute immediately. Wind gusts pushed Eustace directly toward the Sky Pod below, where a bundle of live high-voltage power lines protruded. Relying on years of jumping instinct, Eustace avoided electrocution.
Descent was swift. Having avoided smacking into the tower itself, Eustace still had to deal with other hazards, one of which was slamming into lower structures. Avoiding vehicle and train traffic was also a concern. Miraculously, he made a soft landing in a mound of soil hundreds of metres east of the tower’s base, near Front Street.
Wide-eyed pedestrians couldn’t believe what they had witnessed. Few photographs of the infamous descent are known to exist.
Still sporting his dive equipment, Eustace gathered the silk parachute, bunching it under his arm. He hiked to the nearby construction trailer, were he was promptly dismissed.
Sweet William hadn’t prepared for what happened next. Because he hadn’t sought permission to make the jump, he was changed under the federal Aeronautics Act for illegally parachuting in a built-up area, in controlled airspace.
The charge was serious. Eustace faced as many as six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. In the end, his punishment wasn’t too serve. A judge ordered him to pay a fine of $50. He walked away a free man.