It is rumoured that Honest Ed’s can be seen from the moon. With its massive sign, bright lights and loud advertisements, the storefront cannot be missed by anybody passing through downtown Toronto, and holds significance even for people who did not shop there. The Globe and Mail asked a few well-known people in Toronto what the bargain store means to them. Here is what they said:
David Pinkus, 89, president of Kiever Shul in Kensington Market and lifelong resident of Toronto
I can recall quite vividly the store opening with a singular shop. I think it was a dress shop run by Mrs. Mirvish (Ed Mirvish’s wife) and then it branched out. It was a gradual increase in terms of size of the store.
It was quite a novel place to be in because it was a rather quaint place with interesting signs, and quite cheap. I and my family have been purchasing material there for probably the last 50 years. I always found it a very inviting place, particularly for newly arrived immigrants because it was very reasonable and it was an enjoyment to actually shop there. I’m a bit shocked at its sale, although I thought it was inevitable because the property is so valuable. It’s a bit sad to see it disappear.
Liam Cormier, 33, lead vocalist of Toronto’s Cancer Bats, a hard-core punk band nominated for three Juno awards, and resident of Toronto since 2004
Honest Ed’s is a landmark for Toronto and is just as much a part of the city as the CN Tower. It would be a shame to have it torn down just to build more condos. Honest Ed’s should be declared a heritage building.
Mel Lastman, 80, former mayor of Toronto and founder of the Bad Boy Furniture chain
It’s a real institution that existed for over 60 years. People lined up there. People went to parties there. I was even there at Ed Mirvish’s birthday party, a few of his parties as a mayor. I was there giving out turkeys with Ed Mirvish. It’s hard to see that corner without Ed Mirvish’s sign there. I think he’s earned the right to have that big huge sign there. If they get rid of that, I’m going to miss it every time I go by there. I’m going to miss the name, I’m going to miss the store, I’m going to miss the ads. It’s just part of life. It’s part of living in Toronto.
Andy Maize, 54, lead singer of Skydiggers, a roots rock band, who grew up in Toronto and lived just north of Bloor Street on Bathurst Street for five years in the 1980s when the band started rehearsing
Honest Ed’s is a real Toronto landmark – across the street from the original Sneaky Dee’s [where Cowboy Junkies got their start] and a stone’s throw from Clinton’s, Lee’s Palace and the late great Albert’s Hall. Must have been all of those bright lights that brought us musicians and music fans swarming to that area like moths.