T.O.'s Hummingbird Centre renamed Sony Centre
TORONTO - Toronto's Hummingbird Centre, originally known as the O'Keefe Centre, has a new name and a new title sponsor -- Japanese electronics giant Sony.
The storied arts centre on the eastern edge of Toronto's downtown theatre district has been renamed the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in a $10 million, 20-year title sponsorship.
The 47-year-old building will undergo an interior renovation beginning in June 2008 that will transform it into "a state-of-the-art versatile, multimedia theatre and concert venue,'' the centre said Friday.
"Sony Canada's investment in our theatre signifies the importance of Toronto as a major centre for arts and creativity,'' centre chief executive Dan Brambilla said in a release.
"We strategically approached Sony as the naming sponsor of our venue because of their commitment to continually provide the very best entertainment experience. We see this partnership as a collaboration between a leading entertainment company and a live entertainment venue.''
As part of the renovation, the centre will be fitted with "the most technically advanced audio and video Sony products'' the company said.
"The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will offer the highest quality live entertainment, performing arts and multicultural programming which will raise the profile of this unique centre for the City of Toronto,'' said Sony Canada president and CEO Doug Wilson.
The theatre, the brainchild of beer magnate E.P. Taylor who headed the O'Keefe Brewing Co. and Argus Corp. opened in 1960 with the pre-Broadway premiere of the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot, starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet.
Software company Hummingbird Hummingbird Ltd. bought naming rights to the theatre in 1996. Last year Hummingbird was acquired by rival Open Text Corp.