Civic Theatres Toronto has announced at a press conference today a new partnership with Ontario’s largest credit union and the third largest in Canada, Meridian.
Meridian has committed $30.75-million over 15-years to Civic Theatres Toronto, marking one of the largest cultural partnerships in Canada.
As part of the deal, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will be renamed, Meridian Hall. The Toronto Centre for the Arts will respectively become known as Meridian Arts Centre. The venues will officially rebrand on September 15, 2019. The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, the third venue run by Civic Theatres Toronto, will retain its name.
Besides the partnership with Meridian, Civic Theatres Toronto has also announced it will be rebranding as TO Live. It will also launch a new organization mandated to foster community engagement, called TO Live Foundation.
“This has been a project long in the works and I believe it is the right and logical next step forward for our theatres,” said Mayor John Tory. “This new partnership will help build our community and ensure our theatres are strong, vibrant, creative places in our city.”
Originally opened as, O’Keefe Centre, on October 1, 1960, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts became a centrepiece for live music in Toronto, attracting the likes of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead.
As the former home stage to the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet, the venue has hosted many international opera stars, including Birgit Nilsson, Plácido Domingo and Renata Scotto.
On February 1996, the building was later renamed the Hummingbird Centre as part of a deal reached with Hummingbird Communications Ltd., a Canadian software company.
In 2006, the venue was renamed again as the Sony Centre Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, which included a development deal that included the building of a new condominium building across from the centre.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates Meridian’s commitment to improving the lives and wellbeing of the communities we serve, so it is only fitting that we partner with the city’s best-in-class arts and cultural establishments,” said Bill Maurin, President and CEO of Meridian.
Clyde Wagner, President and CEO of TO Live pressed in a statement that an important factor in the partnership was finding the right fit “…to help achieve our vision for arts and culture in Toronto.”
Beyond the naming rights for the venues, Meridian will tie in it’s branding into the venues, and receive have access the Centres’ digital and promotional platforms.
The new name, Meridian Hall, is committed through 2034.