03/23/2013 02:48 EDT | Updated 05/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Massey Hall federal grant earmarked for foundation, loading dock

The famous Toronto landmark Massey Hall is getting funding from the federal government, which its president and CEO says will update and preserve the iconic venue.

The 2013 federal budget, released Thursday, includes $8 million to help renovate and expand the concert hall located on the corner of Victoria and Shuter streets.

Massey Hall's president and CEO Charles Cutts says the theatre is in need of $30 million worth of renovations but added the federal funding will be added to private donations to help with the project.

"We've been working really, really hard to get the money and it's money that going to go to a not very glamorous part of the hall because it's going to the foundation," Cutts told host Matt Galloway on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Friday.

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The first project will be for the loading dock, something the hall hasn't had in its 119-year history, according to Cutts.

Currently, equipment has to be hauled up the front aisle to the stage. Cutts says the dock will save wear and tear on the ramp.

He says getting the funding was all about timing.

A recent land development on Yonge Street enabled Massey Hall to acquire a piece of land that Hart Massey wanted upon creation of the venue but was unable to get.

Massey Hall is a tight space, with no elevators or proper loading dock. There's virtually no patron space aside from the basement and yet it remains a sought-after venue.

"There are a lot of challenges with today's Massey Hall and time has passed us by," Cutts said.

However, he says with private donations and federal funding, the space will start getting the care it needs.

"It does need that tender loving care and we will not mess with the interior of the hall. It will be updated but it will feel like Massey Hall when you walk in," he said.

Built in 1894, the concert hall can hold more than 2,700 people and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981.