Say­ing good­bye to the iconic Hon­est Ed’s

Hon­est Ed’s, shown in many films and on TV, was as much a tourist at­trac­tion & land­mark as a dis­count store

North York Post - - Contents -

De­cem­ber 31 marked the last day the bright lights of land­mark dis­count de­part­ment store Hon­est Ed’s burned brightly over Bloor Street.

Gone are the crazy and of­ten hi­lar­i­ous signs like “Only the floors are crooked!” that dot­ted the win­dows and the labyrinthine store, for­ever rel­e­gated to a slush pile of pop cul­ture para­pher­na­lia only to rear their off-colour heads at the oc­ca­sional yard sale.

Gone is the maze of shelves and ta­bles and bins filled with ev­ery­thing from an­gora socks to ze­bra throw pil­lows — all priced to sell. And gone are the an­nual turkey give­aways and birth­day par­ties that saw lo­cals line up as far as the eye could see for a chance to snag a bird and a hand­shake from Ed Mirvish him­self, who also hap­pened to be a the­atri­cal im­pre­sario that for­ever al­tered the stage land­scape in our fair city. It’s kind of a big deal, this clo­sure.

Hon­est Ed’s, which Mirvish opened in 1948 as Hon­est Ed’s Bar­gain House, was as much a part of the city’s iden­tity as many more note­wor­thy build­ings. There are many lo­cal res­i­dents who have not been up the CN Tower, who have es­chewed all art gal­leries and even the zoo, but dagnab­bit, they’ve bought a six-pack of tube socks at Ed’s just for fun. Be­cause that’s Toronto.

The tacky old shack at Bathurst and Bloor has been seen around the world in movies such as Scott Pil­grim vs. the World and count­less TV shows, and many a tourist would stroll the An­nex just to wit­ness that gar­ish sign lit up by 23,000 bulbs, pur­pose­fully of course, just like a bona fide the­atre on Broad­way. In 2007, Ed Mirvish passed away, and those lights lost a lit­tle bit of their glim­mer. By 2013, Ed’s son David Mirvish de­cided to sell the prop­erty to de­vel­op­ment com­pany West­bank. And the end was near.

As an­other sleek new glass tower or four rise to take the place of Hon­est Ed’s, we say good­bye to an­other fond old friend.

An­other piece of our col­lec­tive his­tory lost to progress.

The king of kitsch, Ed Mirvish, made Hon­est Ed’s a land­mark in the city thanks to his sense of hu­mour that per­vaded the store and that glitzy sign

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