Massey Hall Celebrates the Launch of Phase 1 of Seven-Year Revitalization

The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall today celebrated Phase 1 of its seven-year Massey Hall Revitalization project. The revitalization, which will be completed in two distinct phases, will have a total projected cost of $135 million.

In an event that highlighted the unified and leading support of all orders of government, the Corporation also acknowledged individual donors who, led by the Corporation’s Board of Governors and past Chairs, have contributed more than $1M in funding towards Phase 1. Both RBC and TD Bank Group announced funding commitments of $1M in support of the Massey Hall Revitalization Project, with RBC directing $250,000 towards the Corporation’s respected initiatives in artist development. Also announced were commitments in funding support from both American Express Foundation and Edwards Charitable Foundation.

Phase 1 funding began with an $8M commitment from the Government of Canada. “Massey Hall is a landmark that has attracted some of the biggest names in performing arts to Toronto for more than 120 years,” said Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the GTA. “Our Government is proud to be supporting this revitalization project, because it will maintain and modernize this iconic building, contribute to the cultural and social fabric of the city and generate economic growth, job creation and increased tourism throughout the GTA.”

Of the historic project, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario commented, “the revitalization of Massey Hall will not only benefit the arts and culture industry, it will also increase tourism by attracting visitors from all over the world. Our Government is committed to creating vibrant Canadian communities and supporting cultural venues, like Massey Hall, in their pursuits to become desirable destinations for international audiences.”

The Province of Ontario also provided $8M toward Phase 1. “Over its 120-year history, Massey Hall has become a symbol of the live music experience here in Ontario,” said Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “This revitalization will ensure that Massey Hall can continue to offer worldclass performances, draw visitors from around the globe and remain centre stage in a thriving live music scene. Our government is proud to support this project, which aligns with our goal of strengthening Ontario’s position as a global leader for live music.”

“Massey Hall is an iconic building at the very heart of our city,” says Mayor John Tory. “Like many Torontonians, I have spent countless evenings enjoying concerts there with friends and family. I’m thrilled that all three governments, along with the private sector, have come on board to revitalize this historic landmark that means so much to our city and, in particular, to Toronto music lovers.”

At the celebration, the Corporation gratefully acknowledged the key role played by Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, and thanked City of Toronto staff for their support and cooperation. “Councillor Wong-Tam has played an essential role in guiding us through the city’s Section 37 process and has shown unwavering support of our revitalization efforts,” said Charles Cutts, President and CEO, Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.

Phase 1 will cost $32M and began with the demolition of the Albert Building that was adjacent to the south wall of Massey Hall. It includes the construction of a two-story basement that will serve as the foundation for an addition to the hall and will accommodate a modernized back of house, a first-ever loading dock at Massey Hall, backstage and artist space, as well as technical and production facilities. Phase 1 also includes $9M towards the planning of Phase 2.

Phase 2 construction, set to begin in 2019, will result in both the exterior and interior restoration of the building and a revitalized Massey Hall that will include much needed space for enhanced and accessible artist and patron amenities. The revitalization will ensure that the hall continues to contribute to the lives of Canadians through arts, employment, and cultural celebration. It will add to the economic vitality of downtown Toronto, supporting tourism and businesses. The announcement also marks a commitment by the Corporation to continue to invest in artist development, education, and audiences, while embracing technology as a tool for enriching ways in which Massey Hall is experienced by generations to come.

“In a city so rich with talent and a live music community that is a voice for entertainment around the world, Massey Hall is committed to being a home for developing new talent,” says Charles Cutts, “Massey Hall has hosted countless memorable experiences over the years. This revitalization will ensure it continues to do so while we also contribute to the cultural landscape of Canada that, for 120 years, has given so much to Massey Hall in return.”

This unique revitalization opportunity is made possible by the transfer of a 4,804 square foot piece of land along the south wall of the Hall made available by Toronto-based MOD Developments Inc. and Tricon Capital Group Inc., who are participating in the development of the Massey Tower, a 60-storey condo tower currently under construction at 197 Yonge Street.

Under Section 37 of the City’s development by-laws, the land has been conveyed to the Corporation, providing the space necessary to expand the existing footprint of Massey Hall. Throughout the three years allotted for the construction of the Yonge Street tower, Massey Hall will provide the required access to the site from Victoria Street behind Massey Hall. Upon the completion of the Yonge Street development, (which is expected in 2018) Massey Hall will proceed with Phase 2 of the revitalization with a projected completion date of 2021.

The Corporation and its Building and Technical Design Committee are underway with the planning process for Phase 2 and will determine the capital cost budget after further study. To accommodate construction, there will be a time period in Phase 2 when Massey Hall will close for 18 to 24 months. This will be determined during the planning for Phase 2 and will be announced well in advance of 2019 when it is anticipated that this will take place. Massey Hall will continue to host concerts and events as usual until that time.