Music News

A venerable and legendary Toronto music venue is back

For years, music fans would troop to The Concert Hall (also known as The Rock Pile and Masonic Temple) at Yonge and Davenport to see bands like The Pixies, Led Zeppelin, REM, Iggy Pop, Human League, The Pogues, Grateful Dead, Tina Turner, Iron Maiden, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra(!!!) and a billion others. I can’t tell you how many shows I saw there. Built in 1917 and opened on January 1, 1918, it was one of the most interesting music venues in the country. The main floor was used as a rental space to help the Masons pay for the place.

But in the late 90s, things got weird. It looked for a while that the place would be torn down and a condo built on the site. Fortunately, the building received heritage designation and was repurposed for a variety of functions. CTV bought it and used it for a news bureau and TV studio. It sometimes hosted concerts and listening sessions, but its live music role was nowhere near what it used to be.

In 2012, a company called Info-Tech Research Group bought and renovated the place, restoring it as a special events space. It hosted the occasional gig but also boxing matches.

It’s now under the management of 888 Yonge Inc. and concerts are coming back to The Concert Hall. Look what’s coming up.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37914 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “A venerable and legendary Toronto music venue is back

  • I saw so many great shows there… Beasties, Primus, Fishbone, Phish, Charlatans… just to name a few. My favorite Concert Hall memory was breaking a guy’s nose at a Front 242 show.

    Band was playing and the typical early 90’s mosh pit was whipping around when some guy just offered to lift me up to crowd ride. He cups his hands, bends over, I put my foot in his hands, he hoists me up, and I’m gone!

    I ride the crowd to the front, security scoops me out the side back door and I just walk around to the front and I’m let right back in… which is weird now that I think about that part of the story.

    Once I’m back in I head to the bathroom and I notice on the way that I’m following a trail of blood. When I walk into the bathroom, the guy who helped me up is standing there holding a giant wad of paper towels to his face. He sees me and says… I think you broke my nose!

    Apparently, when he went down to hoist me up, I brought my knee up right into his face and I didn’t even realize it. I felt really bad for the guy and was apologizing profusely. He just didn’t seem to care that much and said, “Don’t worry about it, it’s been broke before.”

    The only think I remember hearing when they stopped having shows there was it was a TV studio now. I’d love to see a show there again!


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