Bell Media calls it a wrap at Masonic Temple, MTV to move, 27 jobs cut

TORONTO – Bell Media (TSX:BCE) is calling it a wrap at Toronto’s storied Masonic Temple as it moves MTV Canada, the last station operating from that location, to its headquarters at the end of the month.

The decision will eliminate 11 full-time jobs and 16 contract positions from the MTV operations, which the company called “duplicate production positions.”

No on-air personalities or executive positions will be affected, the company said.

The music channel will be moved to the studio complex at Queen and John streets in Toronto that also houses MuchMusic, CP24 and the Business News Network.

“As the last remaining brand operating out of the Masonic Temple, MTV employees were more or less orphaned there, and could not benefit from the support services and resources provided to the rest of our employees and brands at our renovated 299 Queen Street headquarters,” said Bell spokesman Scott Henderson.

The move also means MTV productions can now be shot in high definition, a quality not available at the Temple, he added.

However, the company has not decided on the future of the Masonic Temple and is are currently considering options, Henderson said.

MTV moved into the Temple in 2006 after launching in Canada in 2005.

The six-story building on Toronto’s Yonge St. was first a concert hall that hosted famous bands including Led Zeppelin and was a favourite rehearsal space for the Rolling Stones.

The building was acquired by CTV in 1998 and became the home of late night talk show “Open Mike with Mike Bullard” and various other CTV-owned programs.

The old Masonic Temple also had the Who, Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa rock its walls.

The building had also been used for shows including “eTalk Daily”, TSN’s “Off The Record,” and “Canadian Idol.”

Built for a secret society in 1918, the Masons sold what had been transformed into a concert hall to The Rosedale Group in 1996. The new owners pledged to reopen the hall and transform it into a centre for the arts, but in 1997 announced plans to tear it down and build condos on the site.

The Toronto Heritage Board fought back and it was sold to CTV in 1997.

BCE Inc. took control of MTV in 2011 after it completed its $3.2-billion acquisition of CTV, bringing 29 specialty channels under its wing.