Massey Hall Dance Floor

Salina Kassam


“We’ve done our share of construction site photos, and it isn’t always easy to make sense of the chaos of that environment. This does so in a lovely, clever way. There’s something so refreshing about an image that is so real and so raw, and yet so beautiful and communicative.” – Younes Bounhar, juror

The revitalization of Toronto’s historic Massey Hall is currently underway, led by KPMB Architects with heritage firm GBCA. One aspect of the renewal is the restoration of the concert hall’s plaster scalloped ceilings, which have long been covered with chicken wire to protect them from crumbling. A complex, four-storey steel scaffold holds up a work platform—nicknamed the “dance floor”—that enables the crew to restore the 1890s Moorish Revival ceilings. For this shot, I sat atop the “dance floor,” high above the concert hall.

Through a process of journalistic observation, I am able to capture isolated moments. A photo like this offers a glimpse of a moment that will be hidden from view when the building is complete.

Much like a layered piece of music, my images are a tribute to Massey Hall—a place for performers and music lovers. They document a connection between the historic and the modern, the architecture and the acoustics, the past and the future.