Massey Hall is a performing arts theater in the Garden District of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The theater was originally designed to seat 3500 patrons, but after extensive renovations in the 1940s, it now seats 2765.
Massey Hall, and the more intimate Eaton Auditorium, were the only substantial concert venues in Toronto prior to the 1982 opening of Roy Thomson Hall as the new home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on June 15, 1981.
Now, on April 30, 2018, the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario have made a major strategic investment in revitalizating this unique piece of cultural heritage.
“The revitalization of one of Canada’s premier performing arts venues is an example of our commitment to investing in Canada’s creative and cultural future. The renovation and expansion of Massey Hall will ensure its continued and significant contribution to Canadian culture through education, employment, and world-class performances for generations to come,” says Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The Honourable Bill Morneau, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure; and Deane Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, have announced $60 million (CDN) in federal-provincial funding for the Massey Hall Revitalization project.
“Places like Massey Hall are vital part of our communities – they bring together artists, families, neighbours and friends, and give all of us a chance to celebrate the many cultures that make up our country. A revitalized Massey Hall in Toronto will also attract more visitors and create more opportunities for people to work, play, and enjoy our city,” said Morneau.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $30 million to this project through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component–National and Regional Projects, and is being matched by the Government of Ontario, which is also contributing $30 million. Combined, this represents almost two-thirds of the estimated $94 million total project cost. The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall—a charitable, not-for-profit organization—is responsible for the balance of the funding through its newly launched Massey Hall Forever fundraising campaign.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Massey Hall is an internationally renowned performance venue that contributes to the lives of Canadians through arts, employment, and cultural celebrations. Through this Revitalization project, the exterior and interior of the 124-year-old National Historic Site will be fully restored, and a new addition will be connected through the construction of a new 7-storey South Tower.
The expanded footprint will provide much-needed space to enhance artist and patron amenities while also making the building fully accessible. In addition to the 2700 seat auditorium and revamped Centuries performance space in the original building, the new structure will house a third stage featuring a 500-capacity venue.
This new venue will accommodate a wide range of artists and cultural events to help bolster the Corporation’s commitment to artist development, education and community outreach. The Revitalization project will ultimately enable Massey Hall to continue to inspire and entertain Canadians for another century and beyond.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, a heartfelt thank you to the governments of Canada and Ontario for believing in the Massey Hall Revitalization. Today’s announcement marks one of the most extraordinary days in Massey Hall’s 124-year history. This support will allow significant opportunity and prosperity for Canadian artistic communities and music fans coast-to-coast. This support also ensures the continued operational sustainability of Massey Hall and continue its legacy as Canada’s premiere and most beloved music venue,” enthused Cameron.
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall is a charitable not-for-profit organization operating two of Canada’s premier concert halls. Showcasing the world’s greatest performers in all disciplines, the two halls are also prominent venues for diverse activities in the business and entertainment district of downtown Toronto.
The Massey Hall Revitalization project marks the final phase in the overall initiative to restore and renovate Massey Hall. Phase 1 was completed at the end of 2016 and Phase 2A involved design and planning work, as well as the construction of the South Tower basement.
Featured photo courtesy of Massey Hall.