If Canada has an equivalent to Carnegie Hall, it has to be Massey Hall, the venerable building on Shuter Street in Toronto that’s been operating for 120 years. But the place is showing its age and it’s time for not just a makeover but a complete rehab. I was part of a big press conference yesterday that officially announced the Massey Hall revitalization project.
Here’s the report from the Toronto Star.
As Charles Cutts stood behind a lectern Monday on Massey Hall’s hallowed stage to officially launch the building’s $135-million “revitalization,” a piece of grey fluff fell from the ceiling and drifted slowly to the floor, landing somewhere between the first and second rows, stage right.
“Massey Hall is not only a national historic site that we all treasure, but a place where Canadian music history is made,” said the outgoing CEO and president of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. “It’s been that way for the last 120 years, and will be for the next 120.”
It wasn’t immediately clear for how many of those years the dust bunny had been gathering, but it was a fitting time for it to take flight.
For all its past glories, the hall has a shopworn feel, with those odd reclining seats and scuffed brass railings. The goal of the expensive facelift, paid for largely by corporate and government cash, is to do some sprucing up without sanding away the antique beauty of the place.
“Change nothing but improve everything” is the project’s motto.
My job was to hold a short Q&A with Geddy Lee of Rush, who recalled his first gig at Massey (seeing Cream) and Rush’s first appearance as a headliner on that stage (2112).
More on the project–and it’s a big one–here.