Historic Halls of North America

How does Massey Hall compare?

NAME: Walnut Street Theatre
CITY: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
OPENED: 1809
The oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, focusing primarily on drama, it was the first to install gas footlights (1837) and air conditioning (1855). It’s also rumoured to be the site of the first curtain call.
NAME: St. Lawrence Hall
CITY: Toronto, Ontario
OPENED: 1850
A community hub and performance space preceding Massey Hall, it fell into disrepair and disuse for much of the 20th century before being designated a National Historic Site in 1967.
NAME: Grand Opera House
CITY: Macon, Georgia
OPENED: 1884
In 1908 it staged a production of Ben Hur with real horses and chariots, on a treadmill. It was reduced to a movie house for 30 years before extensive renovations began in the late 1960s.
NAME: Carnegie Hall
CITY: New York City
OPENED: 1891
Like Massey Hall, Carnegie Hall was built by a philanthropic industrialist, and its history is synonymous with the evolution of a city and the musical history of a country. Like Massey, it was threatened with demolition in the 1960s. It was renovated extensively in advance of its centenary in 1991 and today retains its place as the most prestigious venue in the U.S.
NAME: Massey Hall
CITY: Toronto, Ontario
OPENED: 1894
CAPACITY: 2,753 (reduced from original 3,500 in 1933)
This is the longest continually operating performing arts centre in Canada, and second only to Carnegie Hall as the largest of its age in North America.
NAME: Royal Alexandra Theatre
CITY: Toronto, Ontario
OPENED: 1907
The oldest continuously operating theatre in Canada to focus primarily on drama, it was scheduled for demolition in the early 1960s before it was bought by Ed Mirvish.
NAME: Royal Theatre
CITY: Victoria, B.C.
OPENED: 1913
Originally a performing arts centre that hosted the likes of Sarah Bernhardt, it was a movie theatre from 1930-72, and is now home to the Victoria Symphony.
NAME: Imperial Theatre
CITY: Saint John, N.B.
OPENED: 1913
CAPACITY: 908 (reduced from original 1,500)
A vaudeville theatre turned movie house, it served as a gospel church from 1957 to 1982 and officially reopened in 1994.
NAME: Théâtre St-Denis
CITY: Montreal, Quebec
OPENED: 1916
Multi-purpose venue showcasing Frenchlanguage performing arts. A second hall was added in 1963.
NAME: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater
CITY: Rochester, N.Y.
OPENED: 1922
CAPACITY: 2,400 (originally 3,352 before renovations)
Built by the founder of Kodak on the University of Rochester campus, this was built for music, dance and silent films. Today it’s used primarily for student performances.
NAME: Orpheum Theatre
CITY: Vancouver, B.C.
OPENED: 1927
Opened as a movie theatre and vaudeville house, it’s the current home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.