via Toronto History

One of the country’s most iconic venues turns 119 today with Massey Hall celebrating the anniversary of its first concert, a 3-day music festival that started with a rendition of Handel’s “Messiah” that happened on June 14, 1894.

Massey Hall was opened to be Toronto’s main secular music venue, a place to hear classical and choral music without the usual religious tint, but as time went on it became more and more known for its jazz and ultimately rock concerts. Live albums by everyone from Charlie Parker and Matthew Good to that legendary Neil Young record have been recorded within the hall, which was designated first as a cultural heritage building by the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975 and later by the National Historic Site of Canada in 1981.

It’s also spooky as hell to be in alone. If you can somehow finagle it, have a seat in the empty auditorium and listen to it creek. They often say that walls can talk, and Massey Hall’s are full of stories. So much so that it’s said that the building is haunted.

So what’s your Massey Hall memory? Best show you’ve seen there? Worst? Let us know!

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