Chances are that if you were alive someone in Southern Ontario over the last 95 years, you can remember going to a concert at the Masonic Temple--aka The Concert Hall--at Yonge and Davenport in Toronto.
Yes, parking was a bitch--the Canadian Tire across the street hated when we took up valuable spaces--but as for a music venue, it was tough to beat. The large main floor offered pillar-free sightlines while the wraparound second floor offered rudimentary seating. Acoustics were generally good, although the HVAC system was a pain. Even in the dead of winter, the walls ran wet with sweat and condensation. And let's not even talk about the woefully inadequate bathrooms.
And what about the rumoured weird rooms used by Masons for their spooky rituals? Was the place haunted? It all added to the venue's unique vibe.
I saw plenty of shows there: Pixies, Pogues, Pumpkins, Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Bowie's Tin Machine. Going back further, it hosted gigs by the Rolling Stones and even Bing Crosby.
Then CTV bought it for Mike Bullard's talk show. When that was cancelled, it became the home of home of MTV Canada in 2006. That was a drag because as a production facility, the venue went offline as a general concert venue. It still was home to special events, but that was about it.
Then back at the Polaris Music Prize gala in September, the word around the venue was that CTV was getting rid of it. With MTV--the building-s major tenant--being folded into the 299 Queen Street West location, there was no need to keep the place.
It's now official. The Masonic Temple will close. At least as a CTV production facility.
So now what? It's a heritage building so it can't be torn down. But that doesn't preclude it from being developed into condos. Hell, it's a prime area for that. I wouldn't bet on anyone returning it to is concert hall glory.