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“Great for small concerts”
Review of Roy Thomson Hall

Roy Thomson Hall
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Private Toronto Guided City Tour
Ranked #76 of 501 things to do in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This curved glass structure, a downtown architectural landmark, is a well-known concert hall.
Level Contributor
212 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Great for small concerts”
Reviewed 7 May 2013

The Roy Thompson Hall is a great little venue for small concerts the sound is good easy access it was just a great time.

Visited July 2012
Thank gdwilson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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175 reviews from our community

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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
487 reviews
316 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 455 helpful votes
“Arthur Erickson's Pleasure Dome”
Reviewed 2 May 2013

When this striking piece of architecture was first opened to the public, it received rave reports -----until the music started. It was such an improvement upon the Massey Hall, Toronto's previous musical slum, and so pleasing to the eye, that everyone forgot it was to serve as the new home for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir. Its several imperfections were ignored, with consequences that were most unfortunate. Firstly, its acoustics were shocking, despite the enormous array of coloured fabric cylinders suspended from the roof of the auditorium along with various white plastic sound baffles. Worse was to follow: the cylinders parted company from their attachments and came crashing down into the auditorium. I cannot recall the number of such incidents, or whether there were actual injuries, but I can confidently say there were no deaths. With about half of the 2,600 seats in the ground-floor stalls, you will not believe me when I tell you that there was not a single aisle other than at the right and left extremes. Those in the middle had to shuffle past 30 or so patrons to claim their seats, and late-comers, an abundant minority of the audience, had a very hard time getting their money's worth of music. Nor were they always to blame. The Hall was plonked right in the middle of the most congested acre of the city, on the edge of the Theatre District and a stone's throw from that other Pleasure Dome ---- the Blue Jay's Baseball Stadium and its 60,000 fans. A few years later, the Maple Leaf's (ice hockey) and Raptors (Basketball) were installed in the 20,000-capacity Air Canada Centre a couple of hundred meters to the other side. Driving and parking was and still is a nightmare, and Toronto's decrepit public transport system could never be relied upon to get you to the Hall in time. A grey carpet was the only decoration ( it still is ) as Erickson believed that the rapturous well-heeled audiences would provide their own colour.

In 2002, 18 years after the opening, the Hall was closed for renovations that included stripping the roof bare so that many services became visible (shade of the Pompidou Centre). The acoustics were greatly improved but not made perfect. A number of seats were sacrificed to provide a central aisle, at last. And some other facilities, such as toilets and handicap access, were upgraded. What we now have is a hall of unique design with an auditorium comprising a large ground-floor and two balconies of vast expanse curving round three-quarters of the circumference and overlapping the stage, behind which a fine organ is located, and below that an organ gallery of 2-3 rows that can accommodate spectators when it is not required for an accompanying choir. It works well for a full orchestra and choir, moderately well for piano and small chamber groups, but rather poorly for the solo human voice, be it a recital or a lecture. The auditorium has multiple uses that go way beyond the original mandate: films, sometimes with musical accompaniment; lectures and conferences; small dance ensembles. The lobby is truly splendid, completely encircling the auditorium and giving dramatic views onto the bustling streets and theatres across a moat of beautifully designed and decorated reflecting pools. It has many bars serving coffees and alcoholic beverages, and a large enough space to
allow for pre-concert recitals. Unfortunately, its very comprehensive Record Store has been downsized at a time when Toronto has already lost almost all its retail record shops. The lobby is also used for major Wine Fairs, when the booths of more than 50 different producers or their agents, together with their support staff and up to a thousand imbibers can be accommodated without too much spillage. To my knowledge, it is open daily, as is the Record Store, but whether this applies to the auditorium I am not quite sure. I recommend this to visitors as a unique building, almost an architectural gem, ample for a city the size of Toronto, yet small enough to fit into one corner of London's Royal Albert Hall.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank davidgoldberg1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
557 reviews
178 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 284 helpful votes
“Just saw Deepak Chopra speak here...”
Reviewed 1 May 2013

I just saw Deepak Chopra speak here the other night- I think I have been here once before for a TIFF event as well. I am not sure how I feel about this venue. It's beautiful, don't get me wrong and the location is fantastic and the staff are great, but I had a hard time the other night hearing and seeing the visuals for Deepak's presentation. That being said I was up in the nosebleeds, but I literally couldn't see the slides on the screens. I was also freezing and the door squeeked evvvverytime it closed (which was often and made it hard to focus on the speaker).

I think this venue is better suited to concerts and less towards speakers. I was also soooooo far away and high up from the stage that it made it hard to relate to (and see) the speaker.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank ilovedgreece
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fabulous place for a concert”
Reviewed 26 April 2013

The sound is amazing and there is no bad seat. Seats are comfortable, and staff are always friendly and helpful.

Visited April 2013
Thank Lynn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Lunchtime concert”
Reviewed 12 April 2013

Attended a lunchtime concert last Monday and had a brilliant time. The Mendelson Choir was amazing and the seats and acoustics in the hall were just perfect. You can see lots of concrete looking up but once the lights are dimmed you can just relax and enjoy the wonderful music and the organ.

Visited April 2013
Thank Dodd_123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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