Saturday, December 31, 2016


People in Toronto are going through a period of
 nostalgia and mourning
for the end of an era
of a giant discount store.

the store lit up 5 years ago (above) and today (below)
By now, many of the lights have burnt out. No one quite knows what will become of the iconic sign that has been a part of this corner at Bathurst and Bloor since what feels like forever, but has really only been since the early 1980's - though the store itself has been there for 68 years. 
Long before the ubiquitous Dollarama and other dollar stores, Honest Ed's was the place to go for cheap deals. 

As you can no doubt guess, Ed Mirvish was larger than life with a personality and generosity unmatched by anyone else in the city. (he died in 2007)
He sold pretty much anything you could possibly need 
from the tacky...
 to the necessary

a bit of a backstory here is needed - Ed was also a theatre impresario and with his Royal Alex Theatre in an unlikely area of town near the railway tracks, he also opened up several restaurants in the area to attract people. One of them was Ed's Warehouse, and if you wanted to dine there, you (well, the men only) had to wear a jacket and tie. No worries if you were neglectful - a closetful of old ties and jackets was available for your choice to borrow!

The store had shrunk in size over the years, and the maze of aisles and corners and stairways to get out of the place is long gone as other businesses leased space in the massive building and as stock decreased over the three year closing. 

By the time I went for one last walk around, things had been well picked over and there was an empty, sad, it's-time-to-go feel to the place. The things left for sale weren't particularly memorable. Though you could buy a t-shirt (and yes, I did)

And then there are those signs.

Thousands upon thousands of hand painted signs for those unmemorable (and sometimes memorable) things for sale. Or, in the case of the Thanksgiving Turkeys that drew long lines of hopeful people happy to stand for hours to get their hands on a free bird...
It was the signs that people really wanted to have as a souvenir
Ed enjoyed a good pun, and the store - outside and inside - was full of them

and yes, the floor did have a definite slope to it!

But, now it is finally time to turn off the lights and say goodbye

a final stroll around Honest Ed's for Restless Jo
and signs for Lesley


  1. Sadly all good things come to an end. There aren't many honest guys left in the world these days. Oh how I'd love to have one of those pink Christmas trees...tacky is good! Thanks for the walk down memory lane, the video is the frosty on the cake. Happy New Year.

    1. That is too funny - my SIL also said she would have wanted one of those pink trees! And I did think about it...

  2. It's always sad when buildings/stores important to the public get closed and/ or demolished.
    I liked your story about Honest Eds discount store, and the picture of signs for sale.

    1. Yes, this corner will look so dull. The building itself isn't worth saving - but those signs definitely tell a story about our pst.

  3. What a shame! The bargain basement style shops seem to thrive here. The chains struggle though. Not going near those January sales! Happy 2017 to you, Violet :)

    The walk won't be up for a few weeks because I'm off to the Algarve on Monday. I'll put it in a safe place for my return.

    1. There are many other discount stores with cheaper prices and better quality. This seems almost like when your Woolworth's closed - people who hadn't been in the store for years waxing on about how much it meant to them in the past.

  4. Thanks for the memories. It almost brings tears to my eyes to lose this icon.

    1. I know. I may have to avoid that intersection for a long time.

  5. I don't remember this from our Toronto visit but we went to the Ed Mirvish theatre. Good to know more about him. Happy New Year!

    1. At least his theatres are still around, although I'm not sure the people who would patronize Honest Ed's would be the same who would go to the Royal Alex, Princess of Wales or Ed Mirvish Theatre! He really did have something for every one ;)

  6. Ah, I always hate to see an institution like that burn out.


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