In a city plagued by the closing of music venues (Silver Dollar, The Hoxton, etc.), a bit of good news: The Concert Hall at 888 Yonge will reopen later this year.
The Concert Hall–Masonic Temple to some of us–is around a hundred years old and hosted gigs by everyone from Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Iggy Pop to Rage Against the Machine and the Pixies. Before that, Frank Sinatra was known to use the place for private shows.
In 1998, it was bought by Bell and turned into a TV studio for Mike Bullard’s talk show and later MTV. In between broadcasts, it was the site of the annual Polaris Music Prize Gala. But that all came to an end in 2013 when it was sold to a tech firm from London, Ontario, and it appeared that its music days were over. What would become of the space? Another condo?
Not so. Info-Tech Research Group, its current owners, have decided to reopen the building to music events. First up are some shows for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival this summer. Other gigs are now being booked.
Just in time, too. Toronto needs at 1,500-capacity venue more than ever, especially since Massey Hall is going to close for two years in 2019 as part of its ongoing renovations.