Doors Open Toronto: A Look Inside The Masonic Temple

Photos: Tiffany Shum

As part of Doors Open Toronto, we headed to the legendary Masonic Temple to take a peek inside and learn more about its history.

The Masonic Temple was opened on January 1, 1918. Owned by an independent corporation of Masons, the Temple was intended to house a disparate group of lodges and chapters; at one point, thirty-eight different groups called the temple home.

It’s been known by many names as music and owners changed: The Concert Hall; The Auditorium; Club 888; The Rockpile, and Regency Ballroom. According to Frank Sinatra used to rent the building for private parties, and the Rolling Stones used the space as a summer rehearsal studio for years.

From the 1960’s to the mid 90’s the venue hosted performers like Wilson Pickett, Tina Turner, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Johnny Lee Hooker,  Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, Chuck Berry, The Who, B. B. King, the Grateful Dead, Mothers of Invention, The Animals, Iggy PopThe RamonesToots and the Maytals, Iron Maiden, The CureDead Kennedys, King Crimson and Depeche Mode,  Vanilla Ice, Weird Al YankovicThe Tragically HipIce-T, Rage Against the Machine, Phish, Queen Latifah, David Bowie, Pearl Jam & The Smashing Pumpkins opened for The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Green Day opened for Bad Religion.

The building was meant to be demolished in 1997, but was declared a heritage site. CTV bought it in 1998 as a news bureau and venue for the Mike Bullard show. MTV took over in 2006, however once they moved to Queen Street in 2012, Info-Tech Research Group bought and renovated it.

The Concert Hall has been opened for special events, like listening sessions lead by Jimmy Page, concerts by Luke and the Apostles and Platinum Blond, boxing events, and much more.

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