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Massey Hall makeover: big changes coming to the iconic concert venue

Last Updated Oct 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm EDT

One of Toronto’s historic music venues is currently undergoing a seven-year facelift. And music fans are now getting a sneak peak at what a revitalized Massey Hall will look like.

Flexibility will be a key aspect of the new space. Retractable seats will be installed that can be rolled away to create an open space on the floor during concerts and other events.

“They will fold up and slide underneath the stage on rails in a very short period of time. And that opens it up for general admission,” explained Marianne McKenna, who is heading up the redesign project.

An adjoining seven-storey tower will also be built along Victoria Street. Once the dust has settled, the city will have two additional, intimate performance spaces.

A 500-capacity venue will be built on the fourth floor of the new tower. A smaller space will also be created in the existing lower level Centuries Bar and Lounge, which will be overhauled and expanded.

The new additions come at a time when numerous concert venues across the city are shutting down.

“In light of some of the issues around music venues in the city and the future of music, what Massey’s proposing is so important,” said Councillor Josh Colle, the chair of Toronto’s Music Advisory Council.

“It will create these incubation spaces where younger, emerging artists can also hone their craft so that one day they might play on the main stage at Massey Hall,” Colle adds.

Massey Hall will close down next year, allowing the $139 million dollar renovation to kick into overdrive. If all goes according to plan, the new-look venue should be open in 2020.