The Toronto director of Massey Hall, Gordon Lightfoot, has announced plans to reopen the famed concert hall, purchased in July by the owner of Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, which frequently stages Lightfoot shows.
“Since I’ve been involved with Massey Hall since the 1970s, it’s always been my goal to bring the old hall back to life,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The original façade has been renovated and now has a fantastic new slate roof with a stunning lobby. It’s a rebirth of the old great hall.”
Lightfoot, 82, has worked at Massey Hall for years and said that its renovation was made possible in part by the fact that the building is owned by the same owner, his friend Albert Fontaine.
“When Albert took over the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1986 he quickly realized that both halls needed extensive renovations to keep them viable,” Lightfoot said. “That made the decision to use both halls as a co-op easier for us.”
The owners hope to reopen the building for public use in 2019. (According to a restoration plan posted online, Lightfoot is contracted to perform six shows during this visit.)
Massey Hall was built between 1913 and 1915, on the site of an old monastery that used to be in London, Ontario. Originally located on Queen Street, the hall was moved to King Street West, then renamed Massey, after taking on its present occupant, the Canadian Museum of History, in 1965.