The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall announced today new details of Phase II of the Massey Hall Revitalization - a seven-year multiphase project to restore and renew the interior and exterior of the 2,765-seat theatre, and construct a new addition, connected to the south of the building.
These plans include a state-of-the-art retractable seating system; the addition of two new venues - a 500 capacity artist performance venue in the south tower and a more intimate space in an expanded Centuries bar; and the restoration of the original, 124-year-old stained glass windows.
Funding for the revitalization in part is thanks to The Slaight Family Foundation’s donation of $5M. In appreciation, Massey Hall’s storied boards will be named The Allan Slaight Stage, dedicated to Slaight patriarch, founder and broadcast pioneer, Allan Slaight.
“We are extremely proud and excited to share these new Massey Hall Revitalization details,” said Deane Cameron, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. “With these improvements, our goal is to keep the original inspiration of Hart Massey alive by continuing to operate as an eternal gift for the people of Toronto and making the hall more accessible for patrons and artists alike.”
Early architectural renderings illustrating these enhancements are also available for viewing online (see below), created by KPMB Architects, who are spearheading the project.
“We will retain the qualities that make Massey Hall such a unique and vibrant performance space while complementing this treasured heritage venue with new spaces that will extend the role of the hall as a creative cultural hub,” said Marianne McKenna, design lead, founding partner KPMB Architects. “The revitalized Massey Hall will offer educational opportunities and additional performance venues to host events and support new Canadian talent well into the future.”
Local heritage and restoration advisors, as well as internationally renowned technical consultants, have been hired to ensure that the original character and feel of this cultural institution are preserved and enhanced, using technology that wasn’t available over a century ago.
The building was designed with a neoclassical facade and features Moorish arches that span the width of the interior hall. This interior was inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Spain as well as Louis Sullivan's Chicago Auditorium. The exterior neoclassical facade was a preference voiced from Lillian, Hart Massey's daughter. Massey, a 19th-century Canadian businessman and philanthropist, was key to the Hall’s construction that was completed in 1894 at the cost of $152,390.75.
Further details and artist renderings of what’s to come can be found here.