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Roy Thomson Hall (Wine Bar & Enhancement)

  • Location Toronto, Ontario
  • Client The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
  • Completion 2012 (Wine Bar); 2002 (Enhancement)
  • Size 800 ft² / 74 m² (Wine Bar); 60,000 ft² / 5,574 m² (Enhancement)
  • Project type Culture, Hospitality, Interiors
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Home to the internationally acclaimed Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Roy Thomson Hall first opened its doors in 1982. Designed by architect Arthur Erickson, it is considered a cultural and architectural icon in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district.

Wine Bar

Situated within the lobby of Roy Thomson Hall, the wine bar was conceived to strike a balance between generating an identity for itself within the whole, while also responding harmoniously to the strong curvilinear architectural framework of Arthur Erikson’s original design. The restricted palette of materials – acid-etched mirror, grey porcelain tile, white Corian, and white powder-coated metal – were carefully selected to defer to the minimalism of Erikson’s material palette.

The primary element is a series of pivoting panels comprised of twisted powder-coated vertical aluminum fins. The twisted fins generate varying degrees of transparency depending upon the position from which they are viewed. The ability to pivot the panels allows the wine bar to function as an extension of the lobby when the panels are open or as a setting for an exclusive event when they are closed.


The enhancement involved the reconfiguration of the upper reaches of the auditorium to create a more rectilinear sound chamber, and the installation of an adjustable acoustical canopy to allow the hall’s volume and sound distribution to be optimized for each performance. Other changes included the addition of retractable sound-absorbent banners for use during amplified performances, a new, more resonant stage floor, and surround walls at the stage which enhance the acoustic environment for performers.

The revitalized material palette is one of warmth and theatricality that, through its introduction of light hardwood, both balances and strikes a resonant chord with the cooler aesthetic of the original architecture. The incorporation of new centre aisles, parterre seating, and private boxes on the orchestra level, increases the level of intimacy, comfort and accessibility for patrons.

Concert hall

Wine bar