Today’s Toronto Star (March 15, 2013) has a report by Alyshah Hasham that the historic Masonic Temple on the northwest corner of Yonge and Davenport has been placed on the market for sale. I recently posted an article on this blog about the architectural gem, relating its history and expressing concern for its future. Alyshah Hasham wrote about concerts held its auditorium during the the past few decades and possible ways it may be recycled to ensure that it remains a vibrant part of the Toronto scene. My post centred more on the architecture and historical importance of this remarkable 43,180 square-foot structure, though I did mention some of the same entertainers that the Star reporter mentioned.
The building is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, but as most people are aware, the protection offered under this law is weak. My fear is that the interior of the structure will be gutted and the facade facing Yonge Street and the one on Davenport will be the only parts that will be saved. The reporter for the Star did mention that it is possible that the building can possibly be saved by making it the entrance to a condominium that will be constructed behind it. This has been done at the Massey Condos at 197-201 Yonge Street, to preserve an historically important bank building. However, space to the rear of the Masonic Temple is limited. Again, I express the hopes that this fine example of early 20th century architecture will escape the ignominious fate of being reduced to two walls that decorate the exterior of a condo.
To view the post about the history and architecture of the Masonic Temple :
To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/
Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:
Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.
Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.
To place an order for this book:
Theatres Included in the Book
Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto
Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)
Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons
Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown
Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s
Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede
Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression
Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro
Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years
University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema
Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres
Savoy (Coronet), Westwood
Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes
Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)