Historic Manta saved from wrecking ball

Manta Sound, which has recorded with musicians from Neil Young to Oscar Peterson and has created audio for a who’s who of Canadian advertisers, has received a temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball – just in time to celebrate its 30th birthday.

Manta – the recording arm of Manta Digital Sound & Picture, which is owned by Command Post and Transfer – was set to vacate its Adelaide Street East location in Toronto and take up residence in MDSP’s studio a few blocks away.

But Sy Potma, vice-president of MDSP, who has been with Manta from the early days, says the landlord who was set to tear down the historic site for redevelopment has put the project on hold due to a hurting economy.

’311 Adelaide is still open and still operating,’ Potma reports. ‘Its demise has been grossly exaggerated.’

How long that will continue to be is not known.

Manta, which began laying tracks on Nov. 4, 1971, has worked on award-winning spots for Labatt, Coca-Cola and Eatons, including the epic ‘Dilemma/Discovery/Big Finish’ (aka ‘Aubergine’) campaign last year, which won the OTS Top Spot last month.

In the early 1970s, the audio shop was a Canadian recording pioneer thanks to its famous Studio 2 that could accommodate up to 70-piece orchestras. Studio 2 made it possible to do more complex recordings than had been done in Canada before, Potma says.

Studio 2′s rich history also includes providing the facilities in 1985 as the Canadian music industry gathered to record Tears Are Not Enough for famine relief in Ethiopia. Artists involved included Young, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot and Platinum Blonde.

‘It seems like a century or two ago,’ Potma says. ‘That was huge. That was probably the biggest thing that we ever did – our little part of that.’

More recently, Manta completed a James Brown recording for the Jackie Chan actioner The Tuxedo, filming around Toronto. *