Roy Thomson Hall – Modern Architecture & Rich Acoustics

June 16, 1980 - Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District
June 16, 1980 – Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District

Roy Thomson Hall is located at 60 Simcoe St (at King St W on the southwest corner) in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto.

In 1967, plans to build a new concert hall were announced, and in 1982, the iconic structure was completed. Named after Baron Thomson of Fleet, Roy Herbert Thomson was a Canadian-born newspaper magnate. His family made a $4.5 million donation toward building the venue.

Designed by Arthur Erickson

2020 - Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
2020 – Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto

The Modern style building, on 2.5 acres of land, was designed by Arthur Erickson, a prominent Canadian architect and author. This was in association with the Toronto architectural firm of Mathers and Haldenby. To ensure accessibility for disabled patrons and performers, violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman was a special advisor to the architects.

Roy Thomson Hall is constructed of steel and concrete and is covered by a multi-paned glass roof. The triangular and diamond-shaped glass is divided by glazing bars and braced by a steel-tube frame. The 30,000-square-foot auditorium has seating for over 2,600. The concert hall received heritage status in 2001.

Acoustical Renovation of Roy Thomson Hall

2010s - Pink Martini orchestra performing at Roy Thomson Hall
2010s – Pink Martini orchestra performing at Roy Thomson Hall (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)

In 2002, the auditorium underwent a $20+ million acoustical reengineering altering its size, design and shape. One of the major updates included adding 23 multi-layered wooden bulkheads to the upper chamber. This brought reflective surfaces closer to the audience, creating better sound. Other updates included replacing the clear acrylic discs that were suspended over the stage with two adjustable wooden canopies, and the stage was lengthened and refinished as well as the auditorium floor with Canadian maple and the seating was divided by two aisles for better access.

Home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the internationally famous venue has seen performances by the Mendelssohn Choir, Leonard Bernstein, Anne Murray, Yo-Yo Ma, Miles Davis, Gordon Lightfoot, Herbie Hancock and many more.

Roy Thomson Hall Photos

2020 - Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
2020 – Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
April 5, 1980 – An view from the Lord Simcoe Hotel looking southwest towards St Andrew's Church and the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W
April 5, 1980 – An view from the Lord Simcoe Hotel looking southwest towards St Andrew’s Church and the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 26, Item 17)
April 5, 1980 – An view from the Lord Simcoe Hotel looking southwest towards St Andrew's Church and the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W. Also notice the Canadian General Electric Company Building on the right
April 5, 1980 – An view from the Lord Simcoe Hotel looking southwest towards St Andrew’s Church and the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W. Also notice the Canadian General Electric Company Building on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 26, Item 30)
June 16, 1980 - Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District
June 16, 1980 – Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District
June 16, 1980 - Looking southeast toward the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District. Also, notice St Andrew's Church in the background
June 16, 1980 – Looking southeast toward the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District. Also, notice St Andrew’s Church in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 26, Item 33)
August 11,1980 - Looking southeast toward the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of Toronto
August 11,1980 – Looking southeast toward the construction of Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 42, Item 39)
1981 – Looking southwest toward the construction of New Massey Hall, which we know today as Roy Thomson Hall, at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto
1981 – Looking southwest toward the construction of New Massey Hall, which we know today as Roy Thomson Hall, at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 42, Item 43)
1980s – An aerial view looking northeast toward the Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St. Notice Old Ed’s and Ed’s Warehouse, the white buildings on the right
1980s – An aerial view looking northeast toward the Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St. Notice Old Ed’s and Ed’s Warehouse, the white buildings on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 416, Item 1)
1981 - Looking southwest from University Ave towards St Andrew's Church and Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St
1981 – Looking southwest from University Ave towards St Andrew’s Church and Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 67, Item 9)
2022 - Looking south towards King St W and Simcoe St intersection in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto. Notice the Roy Thomson Hall, CN Tower on the right side and St Andrew Church on the left
2022 – Looking south towards King St W and Simcoe St intersection in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto. Notice the Roy Thomson Hall, CN Tower on the right side and St Andrew Church on the left
July 22, 1983 - Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District
July 22, 1983 – Roy Thomson Hall at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 42, Item 47)
2021 - Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
2021 – Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
2022 - Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
2022 – Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St and King St W in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto
1988 or 1989 - The photo was taken by photographer Larry Miller showing musicians of the Toronto Symphony under Music Director Designate and Conductor Gunther Herbig at Roy Thomson Hall during their 67th season in 1988/1989
1988 or 1989 – The photo was taken by photographer Larry Miller showing musicians of the Toronto Symphony under Music Director Designate and Conductor Gunther Herbig at Roy Thomson Hall during their 67th season in 1988/1989 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 329, File 266, Item 1)
2010s - Pink Martini orchestra performing at Roy Thomson Hall
2010s – Pink Martini orchestra performing at Roy Thomson Hall (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
1977 - Looking northeast from John St, just north of Wellington St W, toward the future site of Roy Thomson Hall
1977 – Looking northeast from John St, just north of Wellington St W, toward the future site of Roy Thomson Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 42, Item 25)
1978 – Looking southeast from King St W towards the future site of the Roy Thomson Hall. Also, notice St Andrew's Church at the corner of King St W and Simcoe St. The church’s first service was held in 1876
1978 – Looking southeast from King St W towards the future site of the Roy Thomson Hall. Also, notice St Andrew’s Church at the corner of King St W and Simcoe St. The church’s first service was held in 1876 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 67)
July 16, 1979 – Looking southwest toward the site of the New Massey Hall, which we know today as Roy Thomson Hall, at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto
July 16, 1979 – Looking southwest toward the site of the New Massey Hall, which we know today as Roy Thomson Hall, at King St W and Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 42, Item 29)
April 20, 1912 – Looking north from Simcoe St towards King St W in the Entertainment District of Toronto. Notice the Canadian General Electric Company Building in the centre-left, St Andrew Church on the right and in the archive photo, the future site of Roy Thomson Hall on the left
April 20, 1912 – Looking north from Simcoe St towards King St W in the Entertainment District of Toronto. Notice the Canadian General Electric Company Building in the centre-left, St Andrew Church on the right and in the archive photo, the future site of Roy Thomson Hall on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 58, Item 110)
1911 - Lieutenant Governor's Residence on the southwest corner of King St W and Simcoe St. Today it's the site of Roy Thomson Hall
1911 – Lieutenant Governor’s Residence on the southwest corner of King St W and Simcoe St. Today it’s the site of Roy Thomson Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 2584)
2019 - Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall and CN Tower
2019 – Looking southwest towards the Roy Thomson Hall and CN Tower
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