Massey Hall is a performing arts theatre in the Garden District of downtown Toronto. The theatre originally was designed to seat 3,500 patrons, but after extensive renovations in the 1940s it now seats up to 2,765.Massey Hall and the more intimate Eaton Auditorium were the only substantial concert venues in Toronto before the opening of Roy Thomson Hall as the new home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.Massey Hall was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on June 15, 1981.HistoryMassey Hall was built to fill the need for a secular meeting place where people from Toronto and area could meet and enjoy choral music not of a religious theme. It was designed with a neoclassical facade, and features moorish arches that span the width of the interior hall. This interior was inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Spain as well as Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Auditorium and Opera house. The exterior neoclassical facade was a preference voiced from Lillian, Hart Massey’s daughter.Designed by architect Sidney Badgley, Massey Hall was completed in 1894 at a cost of $152,390.75. Construction was financed by Hart Massey of Massey-Harris (later Massey Ferguson) holding company. The hall’s debut concert was on June 14, 1894. In 1917 the Albert Building (15 Shuter Street) was added as janitorial’s residence and later converted as backstage room and will be demolished and replaced by a new addition during pending renovations in spite of potential historic value (featuring a two storey oriel window).