One of Toronto’s most historic concert venues, located at 888 Yonge St., has been known by various names throughout its rich history, including the Masonic Hall and legendary Rock Pile. Now, simply dubbed The Concert Hall, it is is set to reclaim its status as a premier music space for all things live and raucous in the city. With a legacy spanning a century, this iconic venue guarantees unforgettable experiences for concertgoers, exuding charm, character, and a multitude of stories from its past.
After all, there are only so many live music venues in city that have played host to Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra.
The Masonic Temple, inaugurated on January 1, 1918, was originally established to accommodate a diverse range of Masonic lodges and chapters. The Temple’s Concert Hall, however, was designed as a rental public space to support the operational costs, equipped with dressing rooms, a stage, and food preparation areas.
Over the years, this venue has witnessed a remarkable transformation, evolving alongside the ever-changing music scene and ownership changes. While it initially served as a lecture hall and ballroom for community concerts, notable figures like Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones also sought its space for private parties and rehearsal sessions, respectively.
The Concert Hall began to establish itself as a prominent rock concert venue in the 1960s, attracting legendary performers such as Wilson Pickett, Tina Turner, and the Grateful Dead. As the years rolled on, the stage hosted an impressive lineup of artists spanning multiple genres, including Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, The Who, Iron Maiden, and Depeche Mode.
It was actually at the Rock Pile where Led Zeppelin performed their first Toronto concert back in February 1969.
An upgraded and expanded recording of Led Zeppelin’s November 2, 1969 show in Toronto has been released by the Dogs of Doom group https://t.co/ogo5BUfU1P
— Led Zeppelin News (@ledzepnews) December 23, 2021
Despite facing challenges in the 1970s, when the building’s condition deteriorated and the Masonic community relocated, the Concert Hall continued to draw diverse acts ranging from Vanilla Ice to David Bowie. Narrowly avoiding demolition in 1997, thanks to its designation as a heritage site, the building went on to serve various purposes, from housing a news bureau and TV shows to hosting listening sessions and concerts.
In 2012, Info-Tech Research Group acquired and meticulously renovated the Temple, restoring its former glory. Since then, the Concert Hall has reemerged as a venue for special events, boxing matches, and live performances by acts like Luke and the Apostles and Platinum Blonde. Now under the management of 888 Yonge Inc., concertgoers can anticipate a new era of fantastic events in this beautiful, historically significant space.
Upcoming events at the Concert Hall at 888 Yonge include the likes of local legends Broken Social Scene, The Wood Brothers, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.