Hamilton Place

Hamilton Place (formally Ronald V. Joyce Centre for the Performing Arts at Hamilton Place). Multi-purpose arts centre, situated on Main St in downtown Hamilton, Ont.

Hamilton Place

Hamilton Place (formally Ronald V. Joyce Centre for the Performing Arts at Hamilton Place). Multi-purpose arts centre, situated on Main St in downtown Hamilton, Ont. Opened officially in 1973, Hamilton Place has two performance halls and rehearsal facilities, and is adjoined to the Hamilton Convention Centre. It is the permanent home of Opera Hamilton (beginning 1980) and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (beginning 1973), and is the city's main venue for classical music.

Hamilton Place was initially conceived of as a home for local performers. Planning was begun by the community in the mid-1960s, with financing (close to $11 million) provided entirely by the city of Hamilton and its citizens, who contributed $8 million and $3 million respectively. The architect was Trevor P. Garwood-Jones and the acousticians were Russell Johnson Associates of New York. Owned and subsidized by the city of Hamilton, the centre was administered by the Hamilton Performing Arts Corporation until December 1985, when, despite some community opposition, the Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc (HECFI) was created to supervise jointly the operations of Hamilton Place, Copps Coliseum, and the Hamilton Convention Centre.

The first manager of Hamilton Place, George MacPherson, was succeeded by Thomas Burrows 1979-91. CEOs of the Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc have included Gabe Macaluso 1989-2003 and Duncan Gillespie, beginning in 2005.

Performances and Theatre Specifications

The Great Hall at Hamilton Place was inaugurated 22 Sep 1973 with premieres of works by Louis Applebaum and Galt MacDermot performed by the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra under Boris Brott. In a review of the concert, the auditorium was praised for having "achieved a rare combination of spaciousness and intimacy" (Globe and Mail, 24 Sep 1973). The auditorium continues to function as both concert hall and proscenium theatre for spoken drama, and has a stage 37.35 m wide and 11.4 to 16.2 m in adjustable depth, two suspended balconies, and a seating capacity of 2,193 (2,183 in 1973). The Studio Theatre is smaller and more flexible in design, with no permanent stage, and seating for up to 350. Close to 200 performances have been held annually in the Great Hall. In addition to performances by its resident groups (which have also included the Bach-Elgar Choir and Theatre Aquarius), Hamilton Place has presented Broadway touring productions, including West Side Story and Evita; performances by the National Ballet of Canada; and concerts by Tony Bennett, the Canadian Opera Company, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Céline Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, Corb Lund, Murray McLauchlan, Alanis Morissette, and Anne Murray, among many others.

See also Hamilton in The Canadian Encyclopedia


Further Reading

  • Kraglund, John. "Hamilton Place inaugurated with good omens to spare," Globe and Mail, 24 Sep 1973

    Nelson, James. "Steel city shows off do-it-yourself $11-million arts centre," The Ottawa Citizen, 19 Oct 1973

    Hammond, Anthony. "Reverberation blurs hall's operatic debut," The Spectator (Hamilton), 15 Dec 1973

    "The price of culture," The Spectator (Hamilton), 26 Dec 1978

    "Hamilton Place plan condemned," Globe and Mail, 10 Dec 1985

    "Broadway is HECFI bound," Hamilton Mountain News, 15 Aug 2008

    Macaluso, Gabe. "Macaluso proud of HECFI work," The Spectator (Hamilton), 2 Sep 2008