Masonic Temple (Toronto)
The Masonic Temple from the SE corner as at 2006
|Address||888 Yonge Street|
|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Built||November 2, 1916–January 1, 1918|
|Opened||January 1, 1918|
|Owner||Info-Tech Research Group|
|Seating type||Standing room only|
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. 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.
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 Rockpile, 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.; but it was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act that same year.
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. Bell Media officially listed the property for sale on March 4, 2013. On June 17, 2013, the building was purchased by the Info-Tech Research Group. Info-Tech announced that its plans for the building include staging an annual charity rock concert in the auditorium.
- "Toronto’s historic Masonic Temple sells to consultancy firm for $12.5-million". The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2013.
- "Tale of Two Temples". Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- "Iconic Masonic Temple closing". torontosun.com. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Heritage Masonic Temple for sale by Bell Media". Toronto Star, March 14, 2013.
- "Bell Media sells Toronto Masonic Temple to IT consulting firm". Toronto Star, June 17, 2013.