The first phase will cost $32 million and see a new two-storey basement constructed, giving Massey Hall the foundation for a forthcoming addition.
A news release says this construction will also accommodate "a modernized back of house" and the first-ever loading dock at the Victoria Street venue. Technical and production facilities will also be added.
The revitalization is making use of a 4,804-square foot piece of land that was transferred to Massey Hall by some developers building a 60-storey condo on Yonge Street. The land sits along the south wall of the hall.
The second phase of the project won't get underway for several years. It will involve the restoration of Massey Hall's interior and exterior.
The early part of the revitalization is receiving $8 million in support from each of the provincial and federal governments. RBC and TD Bank Group have each provided $1 million to the effort. More than $1 million in funding has also been provided for the first phase by individual donors. The American Express Foundation and Edwards Charitable Foundation are also contributing funds.
Several dignitaries in attendance talked about some of the early shows they remember seeing at the theatre.
For Mayor John Tory, it was a James Taylor concert. For Michael Coteau, the provincial minister of tourism, culture and sport, it was an LL Cool J show.
Tory said he had also seen comic Jack Benny perform at Massey Hall and he had also attended a performance by the symphony with his grandmother there when he was a child.