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Old 04-25-2013, 09:25 AM   #1
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Default Massey hall reno/revitalization
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Massey hall reno/revitalization

Will they be issuing hard hats to members of the audience? LOL. I remember trying to work during major construction at my former place of employment and such fun when they were sinking the shaft for the new elevator. When pieces of the ceiling started dropping on my head I hightailed it to administration and told them either issue me a hardhat, give me temporary office space out of the danger zone, or give me a few (paid) days off. I moved my office for a few weeks - at least the ceiling was intact, it was quiet and it was warmer; the building on the other side of my workroom wall had been taken down and we were exposed to the great outdoors for several winter months. Security found me a space heater to keep my feet from freezing to the floor.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:29 PM   #3
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None of the employees of Massey actually work at the site so that's good... there aren't any business offices there as they are combined with those of Roy Thomson Hall.. It will be nice to see the exterior staircases removed and the beautiful stained glass windows back. It's gonna be gorgeous! and elevators to all floors! wowza!!
I'll post updates as I hear of them.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Massey hall reno/revitalization

Revamp of Massey Hall goes to Preservation Services Board

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Old 09-16-2013, 06:46 PM   #5
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WHEN YOU HAVE TIME: CHECK OUT THE LINK FOR SOME FABULOUS PHOTOS this is basically what will impact the concert goer:

The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall ("the Corporation") has submitted a site plan application to the City to permit the construction of a six storey addition to the rear of the existing Massey Hall with a two level basement and a two level mechanical penthouse (“Redevelopment project”).

The addition will provide much needed space for performers, multiple elevators, new washroom and lounge / lobby areas, administrative office space as well as new back-of-house space. The introduction of elevated enclosed corridors or “passerelles” approximately 6.8 metres above grade along the full length of the exterior east and west elevations of the historic structure and connecting to a new lobby space within the rear addition, will enable the auditorium to be fully accessible at all levels for the first time in its history. At-grade loading facilities will be provided in conjunction with the rear addition that will eliminate the current requirement for staging equipment to be moved into and out of the concert hall through the front doors on Shuter Street. Mechanical and electrical systems will be modernized, theatrical lighting, rigging and sound systems will be updated and seating in the auditorium will be upgradedPasserelles

The passerelles provide the physical space that is lacking in the current Massey Hall to allow exiting from each of the three levels of the auditorium and connecting to elevators, making the Hall fully accessible. On the east side of Massey Hall the passerelle is
Alterations to a Designated Heritage Property – 55 Shuter Street (Massey Music Hall) 10
proposed to be glass allowing one to see the east wall of the heritage structure and the stained glass windows that will be restored along its length. The positioning of the passerelles on the east and west elevations of the Hall is such that it minimizes their visual impact being suspended just above a stone stringcourse at the top of the first floor and extending to just below the top cornice line.

The new passerelles will allow the fire escapes added to the north face of Massey Hall in 1911 to be removed and this elevation to be restored. They also help to unify the rear addition with the historic structure along its east elevation, as both the rear addition and the passerelles will have a transparent quality tying the old and the new together. Filling in the current vacant block between The Elgin Winter Garden Theatre and Massey Hall provides connection between these two cultural venues and physically consolidates the block.

Exterior Restoration / Rehabilitation

The removal of the fire escapes is a significant restoration initiative. Equally significant is the proposed restoration of the stained glass windows on three (north, east and west) elevations of the building. The majority of these windows have been boarded up for years to control light and noise penetration into the concert hall, concealing what is a key character defining feature of this heritage property. These include eight surviving windows (of 12) installed in the east and west walls at the main level of the auditorium comprised of life-size portraits of famous composers.

As it will still be necessary to control light and noise entering the auditorium once the windows are uncovered, the method of restoration / rehabilitation that will be implemented has yet to be determined. Staff will work with the Corporation as the precise conservation detail for the stained glass windows is developed.

The removal of the fire escapes will require some repair to masonry on the north elevation. It will also provide an opportunity to restore the original stone "Massey Hall" sign band and to reinstate a canopy across the front of the building. The details of this canopy (precise location on the north elevation, materials, attachment) will be developed in consultation with Heritage Preservation Services and will form part of the conservation plan.

The canopy is included on the site plan submission only to delineate the extent of its projection (encroachment) into the public right-of-way.
Finally, in order to create more functional box offices, the existing box-office windows will be revised within the original door openings in the east and west corners of the north elevation. The HIA indicates the details of the materials and methods of altering these original openings will be further explored in the conservation plan.

Interior Restoration / Rehabilitation

The excellence of the Massey Hall auditorium, both acoustically and in the intimacy it provides between artist and audience, can be attributed to the functional design of the music hall in response to the limited size of the site. The interior of Massey Hall is essentially entirely devoted to the auditorium, the stage and seating, with two horseshoe balconies wrapping around the stage. A very modest entrance lobby off Shuter Street and the stairwells in the four corners make up the balance of the interior.

The proposed alterations to the interior of Massey Hall will not impact this functional design. The balcony seating may be extended to include private boxes where the existing lounge is located on the second floor. At the gallery level, a modest adjustment in the rake of the floor and replacement of the only remaining original wood seats (c.1893) is proposed to improve the site lines and the congested condition that currently exists at this level. A portion of the wood seating presently in the gallery will be preserved within the auditorium as an historical reference. All of the seating within the auditorium will be upgraded (replaced). The applicant has indicated the possibility of restoring one of the original box seats beside the stage in honour of the Massey family.

The wood screen providing a cross-over space at the back of the stage was added sometime between 1911 and 1926 and is included in the Reasons for Designation. The proposed conservation strategy for this element of the interior is not yet known. Removal of this character defining feature ( if proposed) would require approval by City Council as it is not contemplated in this report.

The Moorish decoration which is original to the building including the vaulted and decorated plaster ceiling with scalloped arches and cusps, the carved capitals and cast-iron columns, the decorative brackets, and at the rear of the auditorium, the chimney surrounds placed in the northeast and northwest corners on the ground floor will all be restored.

The existing lobby off Shuter Street will be preserved with some rehabilitation of the Art Deco scheme implemented in 1933, acknowledging the contribution this later alteration has made to the heritage value of Massey Hall. Public access to the concert hall will continue to be provided from this entrance along with the new entrance off of Victoria Street.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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ONE YEAR till Massey 2014 (Nov.26,27,28,29)
just sayin'...Let the countdown begin!
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:18 AM   #7
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By: Martin Knelman Entertainment, Published on Fri Apr 11 2014
“This is a room for music and nothing else,” says Marianne McKenna, the award-winning Toronto architect who has drawn the dream assignment of reinventing Massey Hall for the future.
McKenna, the M of KPMB Architects, certainly strikes me as the perfect choice for this Herculean task, given the fact that she was the architect of Koerner Hall, that jewel in the crown of the Royal Conservatory of Music, which keeps delivering bliss on Bloor St. W. week after week.
At 10 a.m. on the first Sunday of April, attired in glitter-free black working duds as part of the Spur Festival, McKenna was giving a group of 20 people, including me, a tour of Massey Hall, with an emphasis on the head-spinning enhancements she is planning.
Festival of ideas? Now that’s a Big Idea
One thing McKenna makes clear is that she intends to erase that phrase “and nothing else” in the course of making over what now stands as a beloved, historic and iconic temple of Toronto music history, which must also be described as crumbling, faded, uncomfortable and inconvenient.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says.
I wouldn’t disagree, but the trick is to make Massey Hall a state-of-the-art venue for the 21st century without losing the magic that has made it, since 1894, a great place to hear music.
Or as McKenna has been cautioned more than once: “Don’t screw it up.”
Well, both the architect and Charles Cutts, CEO for the Corporation for Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, are committed to getting everything right and taking as much time as necessary to be sure of that.
So don’t expect the grand reopening of the new, improved Massey Hall to take place anytime soon.
At the moment, the place is in phase one of a process that is scheduled to take seven years. That means for now work is being done on two underground levels of a newly acquired piece of land just south of the hall.
Design plans for the hall itself will be worked out circa 2016. Construction may not begin until 2018 and the hall will probably be closed for two seasons. So it’s safe to predict the reopening will not take place in this decade.
The long, winding road of Massey Hall’s so-called revitalization began in 2012, when MOD Developments — which is about to build a 60-storey condo tower over a historic bank building on Yonge St. — turned over a large piece of land behind its tower (extending east to Victoria St.) to Massey Hall. That allows the hall to expand southward, which is critical, since the otherwise landlocked hall has nowhere to go on its north, east and west sides.
“We’ve been waiting 120 years for this piece of land,” says Cutts.
The first phase, currently underway, involves demolishing an old building (the Albert building), then digging eight metres below the surface of the newly acquired lot to build a foundation and a new two-level basement to house updated mechanical and electrical goodies.
The biggest gain in this phase is a loading dock, the lack of which has been the biggest inconvenient truth of working at Massey Hall for 120 years.
Ever since its 1894 opening, according to Cutts, “every lighting instrument, every speaker and every grand piano has had to be brought in through the front door and then down the centre aisle.”
In the next phase, there will be a new six-storey building on that new land, north of the present hall. Within those walls will be lobbies, social venues, side stages, dressing rooms, washrooms, elevators, storage room and other back-of-house perks.
But the biggest challenge will come late in the game when it’s time for McKenna to transform the original Moorish Revival-style auditorium into something much more than a square room for music, while preserving its DNA.
Many decisions will be made later, but McKenna rattled off a list of some crucial goals:
Walkways will link the old building to the new.
The best acoustical-sound equipment will be secured, but the hall will work equally well for natural sound and electronically enhanced sound.
Robert Essert, the great London-based acoustician, will be a key member of McKenna’s team.
The exterior fire escape system will be scrapped.
The box office (where customers waited in the rain) will be eliminated
New seats will be installed.
Sightlines will be improved
Stained glass windows will be restored and the covering removed.
Stairs on Shuter St. to the building will be removed.
At the moment, no one is prepared to say what the final cost of all this will be. My prediction: north of $100 million.
McKenna is not a self-promoter, but two things she said to the group on the tour gave me high hopes.
First, she learned a lot about concert halls through her work on Koerner.
Two, her approach starts with the insight that when you go to a concert “what you hear is what you see.”
In other words, when you go to a live event, you do not listen with your eyes closed. Whether you realize it or not, the quality of the experience is heavily influenced by the environment (including visual surroundings) in which you are hearing music.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:17 AM   #8
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look like same pics from prior posts (but outside of pdf, i guess)… so in Nov it will look like the top left pic?
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:18 PM   #9
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RICK HAYNES: Massey Hall update - My first 3 pictures, taken this summer, show the renovation project well under way, with the temporary offices getting installed on the East / Victoria St side of the building above the old Stage Door. The last picture, taken today, shows the demolition of the old offices, apartment, and dressing rooms that were a separate structure on the back of the hall almost complete, exposing the back wall of the original theater. Nothing will really look any different to you inside the theater, except for the exposure of some of the previously hidden / boarded stained glass windows being gradually restored to view. We're looking forward to our return to Massey Hall in November, 26 to 29. They're doing it right!

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Old 10-21-2014, 06:52 PM   #10
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1978-1980 time frame - Massey Hall photos

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Old 02-23-2015, 09:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: MASSEY HALL RENO Update

for those who have never seen the other side of those iconic red doors after you enter The Church of Gord...:see photo.

I love when I turn 'On The Tv" and the launch of the Massey Hall/Church of Gord re-vitalization project is being held and Gordon's name is the first one mentioned as a performer there. The project is a 7 year reno job and will be done in phases. Some work has been done to the back of the hall/green room etc. but huge changes are coming. Interior work will begin in 2018. Gordon will be 80 that November. And hopefully will be unveiling a plaque and statue commemorating his many appearances there!

Some info:
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:18 PM   #12
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video at:
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:47 AM   #13
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‘Don’t let them change this place’:
Massey Hall memories from The Globe
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Feb. 28 2015, 9:47 AM EST
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 28 2015, 5:47 PM EST

When it comes to the $135-million renovation of Massey Hall, the organizational motto behind the venue’s revitalization is: “Improve everything. Change nothing.” Consider that music to the ears of concert-goers who adore the 121-year-old building but ask for more comfort and modern amenities. Even though the update of the hall got a start this week, memories of the place will go unchanged. A trio of Globe and Mail writers recall their key moments at Massey.

‘Don’t let them change this place’

It was May, 2011. I had to come to Massey Hall for Neil Young, but also to see his opening act, Bert Jansch, an influential Scottish guitarist who was a leading figure in the British folk music revival of the 1960s. A hero to Mr. Young, the 67-year-old performer was dying of lung cancer.

Mr. Jansch sang and played alone, showing an acoustic finger-picking style that bridged the pre-war acoustic blues of Big Bill Broonzy and traditional folk to the long-haired acoustic rock excursions of the Claptons, Pages and Youngs.

My high, side-stage seat offered a good view of the room. In the darkness, I was transported back to an era of which I was no part. How much had Massey changed over the past four or five decades? Not much. The clapping, the spare catcalls, the soft banter from a balladeer – there was a connection to the tradition of the room and the spirit of important music.

Mr. Jansch died a few months later.

In 2014, Mr. Young was back. At one point someone shouted out for Mr. Jansch’s Needle of Death. It was not on the set list, but Mr. Young switched guitars and played the song (because he loved the man).

He also covered Phil Ochs’s Changes and related a short history of the Yorkville folk-club and flower-power scene.

Later, he reacted to what were then rumours of Massey’s renovations, saying: “Don’t let them change this place.” His audience clapped in agreement. Connections, again – something to be said for journeys through the past.

Brad Wheeler is a writer with Globe Arts

All in the family

Working as an usher at Massey Hall in the 1970s was a pretty cool job for a high school kid – even though we had to dress like bellhops from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

I was a second-generation usher. My father had been head usher at the Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street two decades earlier, when one of the memorable shows was Sir Edmund Hillary displaying slides of his Mount Everest conquest. My father tells the story of rushing to the stage with a fire extinguisher when Sir Edmund’s projector began to smoke.

By the time I made my debut showing patrons to their seats on the main floor, it was prime Gordon Lightfoot time and an avalanche of eardrum-smashing rock ’n’ roll, almost all of it forgettable. Anyone remember Dixie Rumproast, Uriah Heep or Gentle Giant? The hall was also home to the Toronto Symphony, of course, and during my time there, such musical giants as Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck and Nana Mouskouri visited.

When I started in 1972, ushers were paid $2 a show in cash and $3 if they worked until a show ended.

I left in 1975, but since then, I have never missed the annual or biennial Lightfoot series. It is still exciting to walk through those old red doors off Shuter Street.

My son and I saw Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform there earlier this month. The sound remains wonderful, but the place sure needs new seats and more legroom.

Greg Keenan is a reporter with Report on Business

Blasphemous acts

A performance at Massey Hall, regardless of genre, is more often than not a reverent act much like church-going. Rapt attendees squeeze into tiny seats that make pews seem luxurious, while the musicians will inevitably wax poetic about this hallowed hall of sound. The Massey moments I remember most vividly are when rock stars and their fans forget how stately the place is.

When the brooding indie band The National played in June, 2010, singer Matt Berninger often found himself in the crowd. As he clasped his microphone intensely to his face, eyes half-closed in song, he would gingerly step from empty chair to empty chair, their occupants having stood up to touch their hero – or help untangle his winding mic cord, which still snaked from the stage.

When Canadian modern-rock stalwarts Our Lady Peace played in March of the same year, a particularly rousing song, which referenced “defying gravity,” compelled Raine Maida to rise to the occasion. As his bandmates squealed on, Mr. Maida suddenly rushed to stage left and hoisted himself onto the arena-rock-sized speaker stacks. He ended the song in the first few rows of the balcony, and the crowd roared.

The loudest ruckus Massey Hall can make emanates from the audience, and luckily, this is a long-standing tradition that belies the Grand Old Lady’s stature. The band finishes, the crowd rises and claps, and everyone on the upper levels will also stomp their feet in unison, creating a thundering patter across the wooden floorboards until the encore arrives. It always feels like the house is coming down.

Cliff Lee is an editor with Globe Toronto
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:59 PM   #14
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VIDEO and photos - The Church of Gord - MASSEY HALL.. this going to be amazing!! The Massey Nov.2018 shows will be held at a different venue in TO - details are being arranged...
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:52 AM   #15
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^ Wow! it will be amazing when the project is completed!

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Old 10-24-2017, 02:19 PM   #16
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This past March, Bev & I had the very good fortune to attend the Gordon Lightfoot concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. We were with a group of about a dozen people doing a tour of the Ryman, in the afternoon. At one point I noticed Gordon walking around the theatre, as he waited for the tour to end so they could do their sound check.

I told him how impressed I was with that beautifully restored old theatre. He agreed, and said something like, “This is what they’re going to do with Massey Hall”. He seemed very excited about the planned changes to Massey Hall. He also mentioned that because of the renovations, some of their Toronto shows in 2018 would likely be at the Sony Theatre.
This was probably the longest conversation I’ve had with Mr. Lightfoot. I was very pleased to hear that shows in 2018 were being planned.

After Massey Hall, this concert at the Ryman would have to be my favourite. Very much looking forward to seeing him play at the renovated Massey Hall.

Great to see both the old pictures of Massey from the seventies, and the images of the new Massey Hall.

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