Massey Hall’s projected seven-year, $135-million revitalization project kicked off today, with representatives of the federal and provincial governments in tow to announce respective $8-million investments in the project’s privately and publicly funded first phase.
The 120-year-old concert hall will remain open for this first phase of the project, which is slated to wrap up in 2019. A second phase to reconstruct the building’s interior will close the hall for 18 to 24 months.
The project [PDF] will see the removal of the Albert Building adjacent to the Hall in addition to a southern expansion helmed by KPMB Architects.
Those present for today’s announcement got to witness an onstage interview with high-voiced Rush frontman Geddy Lee, who fondly remembered seeing the iconic rock band Cream perform in the hall as a youngster, as well as a closing performance by Toronto folk singer Alejandra Ribera. Better yet, attendees were treated to the likely once-in-a-lifetime occasion of Mayor John Tory referencing LL Cool J when discussing the hall’s storied past. (“I saw Jack Benny here, but nobody will even know who that was,” he joked.)
The mayor also voiced his hope that the hall’s revitalization project will turn Toronto into the “music city” it deserves to be.
“It’s going to be good for our culture, it’s going to be good for our industry, it’s going to be good for jobs, and it’s good for just making sure people have access to the universal language that is music,” said Tory.
LL would surely agree.
Massey Hall post-renovation. Rendering courtesy of KPMB.