Built in 1892 by the architect Sidney Badgley on land purchased, and donated to Toronto, by industrial baron Hart Massey, Massey Hall staged its first performance in June 1894.
The theatre was designed as a memorial to Massey’s son and was intended to be "an auditorium – spacious, substantial and comfortable, where public meetings, conventions, musical and other entertainments, etc., could be given."
Subsequently, Massey Hall has played host to boxing, wrestling, ballet, cinema, concert and opera, as well as hosting weddings, beauty contests, religious and political rallies of all notions and even chess tournaments.
It has played hosts to a plethora of diverse acts in more recent years, such as George Gershwin, Luciano Pavarotti, Alice Cooper and Jon Stewart. The opera diva, Adelina Patti, performed her farewell concert at Massey Hall in 1903, and Bob Dylan caused public outrage by playing electric guitar here in 1965.
Of course, David made two stops on his ‘About Face’ tour in May 1984.
It now hosts more than 100 events each year, ranging from jazz, classical, opera, folk and rock music to dance, comedy and theatrical shows.
Winner of the Venue of the Year Award many times over, the building was declared a heritage site in 1975 and remains a vital part of Toronto’s cultural heritage, having survived both fire and flood to entertain countless people.
The theatre now seats up to 2,752 and, as you can see from the beautiful picture above, has a lower area and two balconies.
If you’ll be sitting in one of these seats on Sunday or Monday night, have a great time and do share your thoughts with us both before, and after, the concerts.
If you’ve been to Massey Hall before, please let those fans who perhaps have never visited previously know what they can expect.
Our special thanks to Finn O’Hara for the fine shot of Massey Hall, and to John (who’s not from Florida) for his part, too.
Well, we’ve had some good radio shows from Austria and France to enjoy lately, so it’s exciting to hear that Italy’s Capital Radio will be airing an interview with David tonight at 8PM local time.
You can listen online at www.capital.it (by simply clicking radio, then ascolta la radio). The word is that they will also be exclusively broadcasting highlights from one of David’s Italian shows. You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Toronto station Q107 also has a David Gilmour/Pink Floyd weekend of music from 3PM EST to get you in the mood for the concerts. More on this tomorrow.