FOUR SEASONS CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS


LOCATION

The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON
Click here for directions

HISTORY

Inaugurated in 2006, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is the first building of its kind in Canada; a theatre built specifically for opera and ballet performances with the finest level of acoustics.

Full, rear and side stages, along with generous dressing rooms and wardrobe storage allow three complete productions to play in repertory. A large, flexible orchestra pit allows for the presentation of the full range of operatic repertoire, from chamber pieces by Mozart and Handel, to some of the monumental 19th- and 20th-century works, such as Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which require an orchestra of over 100 musicians.

Designed by the award-winning Toronto-based firm Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre is the permanent home of the Canadian Opera Company and the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.

  • Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room

    The Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room is the glass-enclosed main lobby of the Four Seasons Centre. It enjoys a special relationship with the city that surrounds it, reflecting the open and inclusive nature of the building.

    The City Room was designed to take advantage of a shared experience with the outdoors. The specially manufactured low-iron glass walls allow daylight or the evening glow to add to the mood of the room.

    Experience a connection to the city outside from within the City Room. Learn more about attending a free lunchtime concert at the Four Seasons Centre, or take a building tour.

    Henry N. R. Jackman Lounge

    The Grand Ring level features the Henry N. R. Jackman Lounge. This room offers a stunning view over the gardens of Osgoode Hall through a two-storey glass wall. It also features washrooms, coat room, a private bar and lounge area for members of the President's Council. Learn more about becoming a member today!

    Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

    The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre is a focal point of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room, with its windowed wall allowing for natural lighting and a view of University Avenue.

    Linking Rings 3 and 4, the amphitheatre provides seating for 100 patrons to enjoy pre-performance talks, informal concerts and other events. Additional seating and standing locations give this space even more functionality.

    Learn more about attending a free lunchtime concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

    Glass Staircase & Suspended Bridges

    Spanning from the Grand Ring to Ring 4, the glass staircase provides easy access to the upper levels of the Four Seasons Centre and allows patrons to enjoy a panoramic view of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room.

    Suspended bridges overlook the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre and the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room, providing gathering places for audience members to listen to pre-performance chats and mingle with others.

    Lower Lobby

    The Lower Lobby is located on the lowest level of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  It can be accessed by stairways located on either side of the doors to the auditorium, or by elevators on the south side of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room.

    Washrooms servicing the Orchestra Level are located on either side of the south elevators. The coat check and Patron Services are also located on this level.

    R. Fraser Elliott Hall

    The Four Seasons Centre’s auditorium is designed to engage every audience member with the performance on stage. In dramatic contrast with the transparency of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room, R. Fraser Elliott Hall is completely isolated from all external sound and light to provide the audience with the best possible theatrical experience.

    The multi-tiered balconies and horseshoe shape of the auditorium are based on the design of the best European opera houses—to showcase the glory of the human voice, the richness of a full orchestra, and to provide the overwhelming sense of a collective experience.

    No matter where you choose to sit, all sightlines have been optimized for both opera and ballet. Learn more about seeing a performance in the R. Fraser Elliott Hall, or take a building tour.

    Orchestra Level

    The Orchestra Level is on the same level as the main entry to the building and Box Office, and for patrons, their first view of the spectacular Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room.

    Three large elevators carry patrons to each Ring, with the elevators on the south side of the building also descending to the Lower Lobby. The Grand Staircase starts on this level and ascends to the Grand Ring. This level features a centrally located bar, the COC's interactive wall, lounge areas, and a rehearsal hall.

    Within R. Fraser Elliott Hall, the Orchestra Level has the largest capacity of seating: 20 rows on the orchestra floor, and five more in the Orchestra Ring (the elevated seats along the sides and rear of the Orchestra Level). There is both wheelchair-accessible and transfer-arm seating. Loose seating is featured along the horseshoe sides.

    Grand Ring

    The Grand Ring is accessible by one of three large elevators, or by a gentle promenade up the majestic Grand Staircase. It is home to 21 boxes, a lounge area, bar, a private lounge accessible to members of The President’s Council, and washrooms on the south side. This level also marks the starting point of the translucent Glass Staircase, which elegantly rises to Ring 3 and Ring 4.

    The Grand Ring offers an unparalleled opera and ballet experience and is comprised of boxes of two, six, eight or 12 assigned seats in either one, two or three rows, with the following features:

    • loose seats that can be arranged to each patron’s liking
    • 13 central boxes equipped with their own private vestibules where patrons may hang their coats.
    • individual sound and light locks. For opera and ballet performances, the boxes are the only seating locations where patrons are permitted to enter or exit at their own discretion
    • several wheelchair-accessible boxes
    • close proximity to the Henry N. R. Jackman Lounge, a private lounge accessible exclusively to the COC’s sponsors and individual donors at the President’s Council level.

    Take advantage of this unparalleled seating experience. 

    Ring 3

    Accessible from the Glass Staircase, elevators and other stairways, Ring 3 features the striking Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, a bar and lounge, and a private lounge for Friends of the COC.

    Within R. Fraser Elliott Hall, Ring 3 is composed of five central rows with two rows on the horseshoe sides. It has both wheelchair-accessible and transfer-arm seating on the aisles of the top row. Loose seating is featured along the horseshoe sides. Seats closest to the stage are accessed by a short flight of steps from the Grand Ring.

    All seats in the R. Fraser Elliott Hall (including those on the horseshoe arms), have been tested for unobstructed views of the stage.

    Ring 4

    Ring 4 is accessed from the Glass Staircase, as well as elevators, and features the top entrance to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and two public lounges with bars.

    Inside the auditorium, Ring 4 is composed of five central rows with two rows on the horseshoe sides. It has both wheelchair-accessible and transfer-arm seating on the aisles of the top row. Loose seating is featured along the horseshoe sides. Seats closest to the stage are accessed by ramp from Ring 3.

    Ring 5

    Ring 5, the top level of the Four Seasons Centre, is accessible by three elevators and by stairs leading up from Ring 4.

    There are eight rows in Ring 5 of R. Fraser Elliott Hall. This level features continental seating, a continuous row with aisles on each side. To make it easier to pass seated patrons, each row on this level enjoys more legroom. Within the auditorium, all seats are accessed by steps.

    The final two rows of Ring 5 are reserved for patrons under the age of 30. Learn more about getting $22 tickets .

  • The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is located in the heart of downtown Toronto on a 1.7-acre block at the southeast corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue.

    • The total area of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is 35,716 m².
    • There are 103 washrooms (one fixture per 20 people), two-thirds of which are for women (65 female/38 male) and three unisex washrooms for the disabled.
    • There are designated wheelchair seating locations throughout the auditorium except on Ring 5.
    • There is direct access to the Osgoode subway station on the Yonge/University transit line.
    • There is parking for approximately 200 vehicles underneath the building and additional parking is just steps away at the GREEN P lot under Nathan Phillips Square. For directions, visit www.greenp.com.
    • There are three elevators in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room that serve the auditorium and two elevators to carry passengers from the parking garage to the main entrance.


    FEATURES OF THE FOUR SEASONS CENTRE


    ISADORE AND ROSALIE SHARP CITY

    • The glass façade was custom designed in Germany and is the first of its kind in North America. This system uses large, point-loaded, double-glazed panels of highly transparent low-iron glass that are supported by suspended steel crosses and laterally braced by horizontal glass shelves.
    • The main façade has an exterior shade, computer controlled and linked to weather sensors, which can reduce heat gain in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room.
    • The glass staircase in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room is one of a kind—a glass staircase of this magnitude has never been attempted before. This is the longest free-spanning glass staircase in the world.
    • The glass staircase passed a load-test with 20,000 lb. of weights.

    RICHARD BRADSHAW AMPHITHEATRE

    • An annual series of free lunchtime and early evening concerts showcasing classical music, jazz, world music, dance, and more.
    • Performing area: 10 m x 6 m.
    • This space is used prior to opera productions for pre-performance chats.
    • Capacity is 100 seated on tiers, 54 on loose chairs and standing room along the walkways.

    R. FRASER ELLIOTT HALL

    • 2,070-seat five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium.
    • Seat Count: Orchestra: 922
      Grand Ring: 128
      Ring 3: 300
      Ring 4: 290
      Ring 5: 430
    • The auditorium is 28.5 m wide and 32 m deep from the stage to the last row of the orchestra level. From the stage to the last row of Ring 5 is only 39.5 m.
    • The proscenium opening is 15.85 m wide x 12 m high.
    • The auditorium, orchestra pit and stage are designed to be an entirely separate and isolated structure within the building, resting on nearly 500 rubber acoustic isolation pads.
    • In addition to serving an acoustic purpose, the ceiling of R. Fraser Elliott Hall accommodates three lighting bridges and a follow-spot booth in the centre.

    REHEARSAL HALL

    • 2,070-seat five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium.
    • Seat Count: Orchestra: 922
      Grand Ring: 128
      Ring 3: 300
      Ring 4: 290
      Ring 5: 430
    • The auditorium is 28.5 m wide and 32 m deep from the stage to the last row of the orchestra level. From the stage to the last row of Ring 5 is only 39.5 m.
    • The proscenium opening is 15.85 m wide x 12 m high.
    • The auditorium, orchestra pit and stage are designed to be an entirely separate and isolated structure within the building, resting on nearly 500 rubber acoustic isolation pads.
    • In addition to serving an acoustic purpose, the ceiling of R. Fraser Elliott Hall accommodates three lighting bridges and a follow-spot booth in the centre.

    BACKSTAGE

    • Full rear and side stages allow three productions to be simultaneously playing in repertory in the house.
    • A large trap room under the stage allows performers to exit the stage through the floor during productions.
    • The fly tower is 33.9 m high (from the stage to the grid)—equivalent to an 11-storey building.
    • There are 86 manual counterweighted lines that can be used to “fly” scenery and theatrical equipment.
    • The loading dock is level with the stage and up to three 53-ft. trucks can reverse in from Richmond Street.
    • Dressing rooms for principals and stars are located at stage level. Other dressing rooms are above stage level, as is the Karen Kain Dance Studio which overlooks Nathan Phillips Square.
    • Wardrobe, wigs and make-up facilities are located backstage on the third floor. These facilities include two washing machines, one dryer, three steamers and one wig dryer.
    • Technical staff accommodation is at the trap room level, as are orchestra dressing rooms, the music library and storage spaces for props and other technical equipment.
    • There are also backstage catering facilities, separate lounges for artists, orchestra and crew and a small prep kitchen in the Props area.
    • 2006 Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada, Architectural Woodwork Award
    • 2006 Ontario Concrete Awards, Structural Design Innovation Award
    • 2006 The Brick Industry Association, Brick in Architecture Awards—Best in Class
    • 2007 Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Design Excellence Award
    • 2007 BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Citation for Excellence
    • 2007 Toronto Urban Design Award, Public Building in Context, Award for Excellence
    • 2007 Wood Works! Awards, Interior Design Award
    • 2007 Building Magazine—Outside the Box Award, Architecturally Innovative Design
    • 2007 Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Award for Illumination Design
    • 2008 Best Small Structural Project Award for the Grand Staircase from the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois
    • 2008 Chicago Athenaeum Museum’s International Architecture Award

    CRITICAL ACCLAIM


    “The interior of the hall has the intimacy and elegance of a great European opera house and yet has a simple, refined, contemporary look.

    "One American critic noted approvingly that it is a very welcoming house. It’s not your stuffy old gilt stucco and red velvet. It doesn’t look like an elitist culture palace for the privileged rich. It’s for everyone. . . . Toronto has an opera house to rival the best in the world."

    CBC Radio 1

    “The new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is a glorious setting for opera.”

    Variety

    “Canada’s largest city has a new opera house with a near-perfect balance of clarity and spaciousness. . . .”

    Dallas Morning News

    “. . . [R. Fraser Elliott Hall] is a splendid auditorium in the traditional horseshoe configuration with four upper rings. The house boasts handsome blond wood floors and comfortable seats with plenty of leg room. Best of all, there are only 2,000 seats and the acoustics, the work of the acoustician Robert Essert, seem excellent.”

    New York Times

    “The warm acoustics have ample clarity and promote excellent balances between orchestra and stage. ”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

    “The 2,100-seat theatre, with lots of beech and maple wood and a sea of taupe-coloured surfaces, hasn’t a note of ostentation or pretension in it. The relative intimacy of the space underlines that it is very much a people’s place, not a temple to opera snobs.”

    Baltimore Sun

    “What a difference the new Toronto opera house makes. The experience of going to the opera here has been lifted to a new level: acoustically, visually, maybe even socially.”

    National Post

    “The new Four Seasons Centre itself emerged triumphant…displaying a splendidly accommodating acoustic and a spacious stage and pit area with near perfect sightlines from practically all its 2,000 seats.”

    Opera~Opera magazine (Australia)

  • The Canadian Opera House Corporation is responsible for operating the Four Seasons Centre. COHC is a separately incorporated charitable organization with its own board of directors, two-thirds of whom, in accordance with corporate bylaws, must be members of the company.

    All members of the company are directors of the COC.

    DESIGN TEAM

    Architects: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated

    Sub-Contractors:

    Yolles Partnership Inc.—Structural
    Crossey Engineering Ltd.—Mechanical
    Mulvey & Banani International Inc.—Electrical

    Landscape Design: du Toit Allsopp Hillier

    Acoustics and Sound Systems Design: Sound Space Design Ltd. London, U.K.

    Sub-Contractors: Aercoustics
    Engineering Harmonics
    Wilson, Ihrig & Associates Inc.

    Theatre Design and Planning: Fisher Dachs Associates, New York, N.Y.

    TTC Tunnel Connection: RV Anderson Associates Ltd.
                                                  Isherwood Geostructural Engineers


    OTHER CONSULTANTS

    Project Management: Stantec Consulting Ltd
    Cost Consultants: James F. Vermeulen Cost Consultant Ltd.
                                 Clare Randall-Smith & Associates Ltd.

    Life and Fire Safety: Leber/Rubes Inc.
    Traffic and Parking: BA Consulting Group Ltd.


    CONTRACTOR: PCL Constructors Canada Inc.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 2018. Photo: Sam Javanrouh.

Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

Contact Page

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube