Massey Hall – Review

Massey Hall is located at 178 Victoria Street in Toronto.

massey hall

Massey Hall

The first of a five-concert festival was held at Massey Hall was on June 14, 1894. This historical hall was built in honor of industrial baron Hart Massey’s son, Albert Massey. Hart Massey intended that the “spacious, substantial and comfortable” hall would be used to “aid in the development of the arts,” as well as be a place “where public meetings, conventions, musical and other entertainments,” could take place.

Not only has this concert hall been around for over 100 years, but it has hosted hundreds of performers throughout the century. With 3,500 seats flanking the burgundy and golden walls, patrons purchase tickets that ultimately do support and continue to develop the arts. Not only did Hart Massey’s intention come to life, it’s safe to say that millions of people have breathed life, art, and history into Massey Hall.

massey hall

massey hall crowd

As a new resident of Toronto, it is important for me to experience the history of the city. Massey Hall was one of my must go-to places on my list that I had to check off. It was a spontaneous decision to go see Bill Maher live. I saw an ad on the internet saying that he was going to be at Massey Hall, so I placed my order over the phone, turns out, the two tickets I purchased were the last pair left.  Once I arrived at the box office and picked up my tickets I went downstairs to the concession and bar area. I ordered an alcoholic beverage that came in a plastic cup; there are non-alcoholic drinks as well. The concession area also has chips, cookies and other snacks. (FYI, it’s cash only, and there are no ATM’s there.)    

As I made my way up four sets of staircases that seemed to drag on, and made it to my chair, I realized that every seat was occupied with fans of Maher. I was sitting way at the top in the gallery section. Before the show started, I looked directly down and saw Maher behind the curtains. When he came on stage I had a pretty good view of him, despite the location of my seat. At one point in the show a fan in the gallery yelled out to Maher that she couldn’t hear him, he then made a joke about how Canadians are so polite, saying she went fifteen minutes before she mentioned it. He then requested that the audio be turned up; the acoustics at Massey Hall really surprised me. His voice was crisp and clear, it sounded like he was sitting right next to me, making me laugh.

As soon as the show was over, the lights turned back on, and the crowds made their way down the stairs. Most of Maher’s jokes were some I had heard on TV before, but that didn’t matter. It was worth seeing him live because it gave me the chance to go to Massey Hall. I was able to enjoy the architectural and historical details of the venue cross it off my list. This doesn’t mean that I won’t return, only that I must continue Searching Toronto.

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