It’s the right size, acoustics and ambience are A+, and it boasts history in spades. MASSEY HALL, ‘the old lady of Shuter Street’ is about to undergo a 7-year $135-million makeover from loading docks to more comfortable seating, to uncovering theatre boxes and stained glass windows, increased administrative and lobby space, new washrooms, handicapped access, and the red brick exterior itself.
The goal, according to Massey chief executive CHARLES CUTTS is to “change nothing, improve everything.”
<Rendering of the restored exterior by Cicada Design for Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects>
Who’s appeared on Massey Hall’s famous stage? – Enrico Caruso (twice); Gordon Lightfoot (annually), George Gershwin (playng his ‘Rhapsody in Blue’); boxer Jack Dempsey; the New Symphony Orchestra (renamed the Toronto Symphony); conductor Igor Stravinsky; Ella Fitzgerald; Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti, Rush, the 14th Dalai Lama; the musical ‘Cats’; Neil Young; Justin Bieber, Loretta Lynn, Bruce Springsteen, and on and on.
<Massey Hall’s Moorish design details, image c. 1894, Toronto Reference Library>
All of this is being made possible because both the federal and provincial governments have chipped in, as well as the Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Developers of the adjacent Massey Tower have donated a key piece of property at the rear of the Hall.
For a history of Massey Hall in point form go to http://www.masseyhall.com/mh_history