Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue’s magic

Jim Cuddy could not cover his enthusiasm whilst he were given his first take a look at the newly renovated Massey Corridor this week. 

“it is so wonderful. It’s beautiful,” he said as he walked out on stage.

The songwriter, singer and guitarist for Blue Rodeo was on a personal tour of the iconic Toronto tune venue with Massey Hall CEO Jesse Kumagai and the CBC’s Eli Glasner. It was 3 days clear of the Nov. 25 reopening, and construction workers and sound engineers were still putting in seats and setting up equipment to get the corridor able for the primary target audience since it closed for renovations in June 2018.

“I Cannot wait to play right here,” said Cuddy, whose band has performed on the mythical corridor dozens of occasions. “I Cannot wait to peer anyone right here. It appears like it were given an out of this world shine, but it doesn’t really feel that other.”

WATCH | Jim Cuddy will get his first have a look at the results of the Massey Hall preservation because the mission nears of entirety: 

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy gets his first take a look at a revitalized Massey Corridor

13 hours ago


Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo gets his first take a look at Canada’s legendary Massey Hall, following 3 years of intensive renovations. The corridor is pricey to Cuddy’s center, as each a musician and a fan. 0:33

From the stage, the texture is also familiar to Cuddy — but so much has changed.

the emblem new floor seats are now retractable, allowing for basic admission at some shows. Stained glass home windows that were lined up with plywood because the early 1900s have been moderately restored. And the plaster ceiling, as soon as covered in dusty chicken cord to give protection to audiences from falling particles, has been exactly repaired.

WATCH | The characteristic in regards to the Massey Hall upkeep project on the Nationwide on Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC Information Network and 10 p.m. local time in your CBC television station. you’ll be able to additionally trap The Nationwide online on CBC Gem.

The level has also been totally rebuilt and all of the flooring stage has been raised, bringing the stage closer to the balcony and gallery seats. All this had to be refrained from affecting what many consult with as the magic of Massey Hall. 

“we would have liked to make sure we weren’t doing anything else that was once going to switch that for the audience,” Kumagai mentioned.


Behind the scenes of the huge renovations at Massey HallBlue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy exams out Massey Hall mid-renovation in 2019

The objective of restoring a 127-yr-vintage building, keeping its persona whilst additionally updating it to fit modern day needs, used to be a enormous task — person who was not just done below the scrutiny of historical past departments and construction inspectors, but additionally lots of Canada’s top musicians and track historians. 

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

Massey Corridor CEO Jesse Kumagai, left, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, centre, and CBC’s Eli Glasner speak about the newly finished renovations even as standing on the stage on the historical Toronto tune hall. (Jag Gundu/Massey Corridor)

Industrialist Hart Massey commissioned the corridor in 1894, as a present to town of Toronto. the sector-well-known construction is steeped in historical past and lore. 

It was built basically for musical performances and has held some great and varied ones, from Enrico Caruso to AC/DC to Tanya Tagaq.

It’s also recognized for traditionally vital are living recordings, including The Best Jazz Live Performance Ever, Neil Young: Reside at Massey Hall and Rush’s The Entire World’s a Degree.


Massey Hall recollections: Mythical musicians on why playing there intended ‘you’ve arrived’


Geddy Lee describes recording All Of The World’s A Stage are living at Massey Hall


The Barenaked Ladies describe the ‘Rush’ of playing Massey Corridor

It was home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 60 years. Massey Corridor additionally hosted political rallies, or even sports similar to wrestling and boxing.

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

a few of the reside albums recorded at Massey Corridor over the years, arrayed at the track hall’s stage sooner than its preservation, come with ‘The Entire World’s a Level’ by Rush and ‘Neil Younger: Are Living at Massey Corridor.’ (Greg Hobbs/CBC)

There Were periods when the hall was seen as old-fashioned and narrowly escaped the chopping block. 

Then Again, Massey Corridor used to be certain a national historical website online in 1981, protective its legacy.

The revitalization project’s chief architect Marianne McKenna was keen to build on all this historical past. 

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

Marianne McKenna is chief architect of the Massey Hall revitalization undertaking. She mentioned many musicians requested that not anything be modified, and it was a problem to improve the outdated development whilst holding its allure. (Greg Hobbs/CBC)

“We started with clear instructions from the musicians who love this position: Restore everything. Amendment nothing,” mentioned McKenna.

“That quickly went by the wayside. We needed to beef up the whole lot concerning the place.”

Anyone who has ever been to Massey Hall is aware of that one in all the worst parts of the experience was once the restricted choice of toilets and their region in the basement. This used to be remedied by building a tower at the again of the original structure, made out there by way of out of doors hallways known as passurels that now jutt from the side of the building.

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

Glass passurels at the side of Massey Corridor now permit target market members to access the newly constructed seven-storey tower on the back of the corridor. (Greg Hobbs/CBC)

“It was once one thing that was floated within the ’60s,” McKenna stated. “i do not know where they concept they had been going then because there was nowhere to move.”

Now with the seven-storey tower connected to the South aspect of the building, the passurels lead to modern bathrooms, a (just about completed) bar, and elevators that make the hall obtainable to many who have been never previously in a position to take a seat within the balcony or gallery levels.


Opening the e book on Massey Hall


Massey Corridor’s shocking stained glass home windows had been hidden for decades. Watch them come again to existence

The tower additionally incorporates another but-to-be-finished efficiency venue,  rehearsal areas and the Deane Cameron Recording Studio named after the former Massey Corridor CEO, who passed away suddenly in 2019. 

The bar within the basement of the original structure has been utterly refurbished, and can quickly also be used as a small efficiency space.

Massey Hall reopens after massive modernization that preserves iconic music venue's magic

a few of the newly uncovered and restored stained glass windows at Massey Hall. The windows were lined up for decades by plywood. (Greg Hobbs/CBC)

the continuing revitalization undertaking has a value tag of $184 million. it’s being funded through all three ranges of presidency, besides as company and personal donors.

While asked what the biggest non-public problem of Massey Hall’s revitalization project used to be, McKenna necessarily stated all of it.

“I’m a contemporary architect,” said McKenna. “you realize, we do issues in very up to date tactics, but to recognize and appreciate the history, to try no longer to modify it but to augment the feeling of being here. To make it better. it is a massive challenge for an architect.”

Massey Hall will open its doorways to the general public on Thursday, Nov. 25, with veteran performer Gordon Lightfoot hitting the stage. Lightfoot has played the venue greater than ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE times.

Over the approaching months it will be as much as audience contributors and musicians to choose whether the staff at Massey has completed its objectives. But for Cuddy, the decision is already in.

“i was ready to just accept it as something new, and simply package my recollections of what it was once,” he mentioned. “But I Think this marries beautifully with what I cherished approximately it.”

Watch complete episodes of The Nationwide on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming provider.

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