Roy Thomson Hall – Modern Architecture & Rich Acoustics

1980 - Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall
1980 – Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall

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 - Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St, looking southwest
2020 – Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St, looking southwest

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 there was 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

2010's - Roy Thomson Hall Pink Martini (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
2010’s – Roy Thomson Hall Pink Martini (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, 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 - Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St, looking southwest
2020 – Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St, looking southwest
1980 - Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall
1980 – Looking southeast towards the construction of Roy Thomson Hall
1981 - New Massey Hall construction at King St W and Simcoe St, southwest corner
1981 – New Massey Hall construction at King St W and Simcoe St, southwest corner
1980s - Roy Thomson Hall and area of Front, John, King and Simcoe Sts
1980s – Roy Thomson Hall and area of Front, John, King and Simcoe Sts
1981 - Looking southwest from University Ave towards St Andrew's Church and Roy Thomson Hall
1981 – Looking southwest from University Ave towards St Andrew’s Church and Roy Thomson Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 67, Item 9)
1980s - Roy Thomson Hall and area of Front, John, King and Simcoe Sts
1980 – View from Lord Simcoe Hotel of Roy Thomson Hall construction and St Andrew’s Church
2022 - Looking southwest towards Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W
2022 – Looking southwest towards Roy Thomson Hall at Simcoe St and King St W
1980 - New Massey Hall construction showing multi-paned glass roof
1980 – New Massey Hall construction showing multi-paned glass roof
1978 - Roy Thomson Hall site & St Andrew's Church
1978 – Roy Thomson Hall site & St Andrew’s Church
1988 - The Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
1988 – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
2010's - Roy Thomson Hall Pink Martini (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
2010’s – Roy Thomson Hall Pink Martini (The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall)
1977 - New Massey Hall site, view looking east from John St, north of Wellington St
1977 – New Massey Hall site, view looking east from John St, north of Wellington St
1911 -  The last garden party at the Lieutenant Governor's Residence on the southwest corner of King & Simcoe Sts
1911 – The last garden party at the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence on the southwest corner of King & Simcoe Sts
2020 - Roy Thomson Hall and CN Tower, looking southwest
2020 – Roy Thomson Hall and CN Tower, looking southwest
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