American Express pledges $1 million to Toronto’s Massey Hall revitalization

American Express Canada is pleased to announce that the American Express Foundation is pledging $1 Million toward the ongoing restoration and expansion of Toronto’s historic Massey Hall, which is spearheaded by KPMB Architects and heritage specialists GBCA Architecture. This is the Foundation’s second major gift to the initiative to revitalize the venue, bringing its total contribution to $2.25 Million USD.Massey Hall, KPMB, GBCA

American Express’ new commitment will support the removal and restoration of 100 original stained glass windows that have been hidden behind plywood since 1950. The windows were originally boarded up to protect the integrity of sound in the venue. Teams of local stained glass experts will work to restore the glass, preserving these once tucked away pieces of history for generations to come. Additionally, the funding will support the design and installation of special noise protecting shades that will cover the glass during performances.Massey Hall, KPMB, GBCA

According the KPMB website, “[t]he Hall, revered for its intimacy (even at 2800 seats) and its acoustics, will be sensitively updated to meet current standards of accessibility, incorporate the addition of a parterre at orchestra level to mirror the balconies above; include mechanized removable seating to allow for General Admission, a full upgrade of audio and lighting technology, and improved artist accommodation. The interior materials palette, a mix of the original Moorish-style and a Deco overlay will be carefully reconsidered as the original stained glass windows are reintroduced to the hall. Stage acoustics will also be upgraded to support performers on stage.”Massey Hall, KPMB, GBCA

The Massey Hall rejuvenation project represents the full transformation and revitalization of the heritage hall and includes a new addition. Exterior passarelles will connect the balcony levels to new patron amenities as well as a second performance space on the acquired land to the south.

“We know music and entertainment are essential to so many people’s daily lives. Backing Massey Hall means we are helping to provide our Cardmembers and music-lovers across the city with access to the beautifully restored iconic Massey Hall. It’s a natural fit for us because of our ongoing commitment to offering exclusive entertainment experiences for our Cardmembers,” says David Barnes, Vice President of Advertising and Communications at American Express Canada.Massey Hall, KPMB, GBCA

The American Express Foundation supports efforts to save and sustain historical places, like Massey Hall, so that more people are able to enjoy classic sites around the world. Since joining forces in 2015, the American Express Foundation has helped fund other aspects of the project including the demolition and retention of the brick from the original building and re-plastering the ceiling of the concert hall.

The donation from the American Express Foundation is part of a global focus on supporting the restoration and preservation of buildings and sites of historic and cultural significance.


Renderings by Norm Li via KPMB Architecture.

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