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Masonic Temple (Toronto)

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Masonic Temple (Toronto)

Masonic Temple
The Masonic Temple from the south-east corner in June 2014.
Address 888 Yonge Street
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Owner Info-Tech Research Group[1]
Genre(s) Rock music
Seating type Standing room only
Built November 2, 1916 (1916-11-02)–January 1, 1918 (1918-01-01)
Opened January 1, 1918 (1918-01-01)
Construction cost $220,864

The Masonic Temple is a six-storey building located at 888 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (on the north-west corner of Davenport Road and Yonge Street).


  • History 1
  • List of live shows 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Construction began November 2, 1916 when the contract was signed and approved by the Board of The Masonic Temple Company for the tearing down of an existing church and excavation. The Masonic ceremony of laying the cornerstone occurring November 17, 1917 and the first Lodge meeting taking place on New Year's Day, 1918.[2] At its peak, the Masonic Temple was home to 38 different Masonic bodies: 27 Craft Lodges, six Chapters (York Rite), two Preceptories (Knights Templar), two Scottish Rite Bodies and Adoniram Council.[2]

In the years before its sale to CTV, the building housed live music clubs known as The Concert Hall, and earlier, in the late 1960s, The Rock Pile, a sitting-on-the-floor style concert venue which featured not only showcases for top local talent, but appearances by major international recording stars, including Toronto's first Led Zeppelin concert on February 2, 1969, during the band's inaugural North American Tour.

Although the location remained historically significant and was added to the City of Toronto's Inventory of Heritage Properties in 1974, the building has changed hands a number of times. In 1997, it was threatened with demolition: a developer had planned a new highrise residential building marketed to Asians, solely to exploit its "lucky" address of 888 Yonge Street.;[3] but it was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act that same year.[3]

Also in the 1990s, the studio was the home of Open Mike with Mike Bullard, and was one of CTV Toronto's news bureaus. Also, notably, it has been rented as a rehearsal space by the Rolling Stones. From March 2006, the building became the broadcast home of the new MTV Canada and has hosted the Polaris Music Prize since 2009.

The building's fate was once again placed under a cloud on November 2, 2012 when Bell Media announced the moving of MTV Canada studio production to 299 Queen Street West and that the building would be sold, possibly for condominiums.[3] Bell Media officially listed the property for sale on March 4, 2013.[4] On June 17, 2013, the building was purchased by the Info-Tech Research Group.[1] Info-Tech announced that its plans for the building include staging an annual charity rock concert in the auditorium.[5]

List of live shows

Date Operating Name Act Notes
1968-09-20 The Rock Pile Blood, Sweat & Tears
1968-09-21 The Rock Pile Blood, Sweat & Tears Transfusion opened.
1969-02-02 The Rock Pile Led Zeppelin[6]
1969-02-23 The Rock Pile Frank Zappa[7]
1969-03-02 The Rock Pile John Mayall
1969-03-08 The Rock Pile Savoy Brown Blues Band
1969-03-16 The Rock Pile Chuck Berry
1969-03-23 The Rock Pile Spirit
1969-03-29 The Rock Pile Jethro Tull
1969-04-05 The Rock Pile John Lee Hooker
1969-04-12 The Rock Pile Arthur Brown
1969-04-19 The Rock Pile Family
1969-04-26 The Rock Pile Paul Butterfield
1969-05-04 The Rock Pile Sweetwater
1969-05-11 The Rock Pile Deep Purple
1969-05-17 The Rock Pile Kensington Market
1969-05-19 The Rock Pile The Who[8] Concert Poster
1969-07-08 The Rock Pile Grateful Dead[9]
1969-07-12 The Rock Pile McKenna Mendelson Mainline
1969-08-18 The Rock Pile Led Zeppelin[10]
1969-09-24 The Rock Pile The Mothers of Invention[11]
1969-12-31 Masonic Temple Auditorium Alice Cooper Teegarden & Van Winkle Keith McVie, Moonshine and more...
1979-11-15 The Concert Hall City Boy[12]
1980-11-18 The Concert Hall Siouxsie & The Banshees[13]
1981-05-10 The Concert Hall Plasmatics[14]
1981-06-10 The Concert Hall Goddo[15]
1981-06-19 The Concert Hall Iron Maiden[16] Reckless opened, first Canadian Iron Maiden show
1981-07-24 The Concert Hall Kraftwerk[17]
1981-10-23 The Concert Hall King Crimson 2 shows
1982-10-29 The Concert Hall The Spoons Show simulcast on City-TV and CHUM-FM; later released on DVD
1985-01-19 The Concert Hall Metallica[18]
1990-11-27 The Concert Hall The Pixies[19]
1991-10-29 The Concert Hall The Smashing Pumpkins[20]
1991-10-30 The Concert Hall The Smashing Pumpkins[21]
1991-12-03 The Concert Hall Tin Machine[22] (David Bowie) It's My Life Tour
1992-05-15 The Concert Hall Sugarcubes[23]
1992-05-15 The Concert Hall Beastie Boys[24]
1994-04-06 The Concert Hall Phish[25]
1996-04-27 The Concert Hall Bob Dylan[26]
1996-04-28 The Concert Hall Bob Dylan[27]
1996-05-11 The Concert Hall Dave Matthews Band[28]
1996-08-18 The Concert Hall Steve Earle[29]
1996-10-27 The Concert Hall Robyn Hitchcock and Deni Bonet[30]
1997-06-09 The Concert Hall The Tragically Hip[31]


  1. ^ a b "Toronto’s historic Masonic Temple sells to consultancy firm for $12.5-million". The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ "Heritage Masonic Temple for sale by Bell Media". Toronto Star, March 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Bell Media sells Toronto Masonic Temple to IT consulting firm". Toronto Star, June 17, 2013.
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External links

  • History of the Masonic Temple
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