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"Honest Ed" Mirvish, 1914-2007
July 11, 2007 9:09 AM   Subscribe

"Honest Ed" Mirvish, 1914-2007.
posted by chunking express (41 comments total)

 
More information in the Star, the Globe and Mail, and the CBC.
posted by chunking express at 9:10 AM on July 11, 2007


oh noooo!

The end of an era for Toronto.
posted by GuyZero at 9:11 AM on July 11, 2007


Wow, he was one of the coolest Torontonians. He will be missed.
posted by LunaticFringe at 9:13 AM on July 11, 2007


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posted by dobbs at 9:13 AM on July 11, 2007


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will the lights at Bathurst & Bloor be off tonight?
posted by scruss at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2007


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posted by sfred at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2007


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Very sad, my parents used to take me down to Ed's Warehouse on King St when I was a kid. Truly the end of an era.
posted by phirleh at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2007


Honest Ed's a nut.

But look at the "cashew" save!

(One of the biggest consumer errors of my life was not buying the five-dollar gaudy-as-hell jug with the ceramic 3-D letters spelling out "VINO" on its side when I saw it in the doorcrasher section back in '97. It haunts me still.)

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posted by gompa at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2007


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posted by amberglow at 9:44 AM on July 11, 2007


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posted by dismitree at 9:55 AM on July 11, 2007


aww. that's a shame.
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posted by PercussivePaul at 10:01 AM on July 11, 2007


Honest Ed attracts squirrels! "At these prices, they think he's nuts !!"

Honest Ed's an honest man. People look at him and say, "Honest, is this a man?"

Honest Ed's a freak! "He has bargains coming out of his ears !!"

Honest Ed's all wet! "But he never soaks you !!"

Honest Ed's fulla baloney! "But his prices are teeney-weenies !!"

Honest Ed's a nut! "But look at the "cashew" save !!"

Honest Ed's embarrased! "He gets caught with his prices down !!"

Honest Ed's a blabbermouth! "He can't keep his bargains secret!"

Honest Ed's a monkey! "You can buy his bargains for peanuts!"

Honest Ed's a shrimp! "He can't see "overhead" !!"

Honest Ed's toothless! "His prices will never put the bite on you !!"

Honest Ed's a flop! "But his prices make you flip!"

Honest Ed's no midwife... But the bargains he delivers are real babies!

Honest Ed's a lazy lout... He won't get his prices up!

Honest Ed won't squeal... He lets his bargains do the talking.

Honest Ed's a freak... But his prices ain't so weird.

Honest Ed has holes in his sox... But his bargains are "darned" good!

Honest Ed's no bloomin' rose... But his bargains are worth pickin'!

Honest Ed's a fat slob... But his prices keep a slim figure!

Honest Ed's got a small "Ed"... But his low prices are his "big feat"!!

Honest Ed's unfair to low prices... They never get a "raise"!

Honest Ed ain't upper crust. "But his bargain prices will save you dough !!"

Honest Ed's no beauty! "What do you expect at these prices, a movie star?"

Honest Ed's: Only the floors are crooked.


as good an epitaph as any


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posted by bicyclefish at 10:01 AM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


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posted by joelf at 10:02 AM on July 11, 2007


This means no Honest Ed's birthday this year, and (maybe) no turkeys at Christmas.

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posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:09 AM on July 11, 2007


I think David will give those out as a continuing family tradition. He gave them out last year when his father wasn't up to it.

(One thing the Mirvishes never said: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.")

Bye, Ed. You had a good run.
posted by maudlin at 10:12 AM on July 11, 2007


Damn. I'm not usually upset over "celebrity" deaths, but this one actually makes me sad. Never met him, felt like I knew him anyway.

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posted by jacquilynne at 10:18 AM on July 11, 2007


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He was part of 'good' in Toronto the Good.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:20 AM on July 11, 2007


Wow. I thought he was immortal.

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posted by blacklite at 10:23 AM on July 11, 2007


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His store sold me cheap stuff when I needed it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:30 AM on July 11, 2007


!

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posted by tracert at 10:34 AM on July 11, 2007


Honest Ed's a corpse! But his prices will never "stiff" you!

I think he would have liked that one.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:39 AM on July 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


awww :(
posted by Krrrlson at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2007



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posted by mazola at 11:00 AM on July 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


mazola, bicycle fish...great tributes.

Boy did those lights ever see me home from some strange adventures in the Annex. And boy, did mind altering substances ever play havoc with walking past Honest Ed's of a late winter evening.

Honest Ed's dead. But his prices won't "kill" you.

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posted by salishsea at 11:10 AM on July 11, 2007


mazola: oh, that was excellent. Especially if you look at it and see one of those gawdy gold-lame pictures frames in the basement, by the elvis busts...
posted by bicyclefish at 11:11 AM on July 11, 2007


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Bummer. I read a while back that his offspring were just waiting for him to pass on so they could sell the building, which will probably get converted into condos. Which Toronto is just dreadfully short of. Let's hope not.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:26 AM on July 11, 2007


Never heard of Ed before December, when I was wandering around Toronto at night and, attracted by all the shiny lights, wandered into his gigantic store. Obviously a place of great history but the photos, announcements, clippings on the wall were, sadly, badly tattered. Still, I ended up buying a toque (both nice and cheap) and some Life Savers (ditto).

At the top of the receipt (before ”No Exchanges or Refunds”) it said, ”HONEST ED’S — Wasn’t That FUN!?” Sounds like his life was fun.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by SassHat at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2007


I photographed his 86th birthday party. It was, as usual, a riot.
posted by unSane at 11:57 AM on July 11, 2007


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posted by saucysault at 12:22 PM on July 11, 2007


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posted by LeeJay at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2007


This guy sounds like the kind of character that makes a great home-town story to tell visitors; "You gotta go to Honest Ed's place!"

Toronto's not my home-town, though, so I had never heard of him before. Thanks for an interesting thread.

If I call myself "plucky misha" often enough, will I get to have plucky in my epitaph?"
posted by misha at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:48 PM on July 11, 2007


He was one of a kind, a real treasure, and did so much for Toronto. I hope that the city will keep July 24 as Ed Mirvish Day, and that David will resume the bday celebration after understandably skipping this year.

This guy sounds like the kind of character that makes a great home-town story to tell visitors; "You gotta go to Honest Ed's place!"

That's exactly the way it has always been, anyone new to the city and you always have to show them that store!
posted by zarah at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2007


I will be really bummed if his family sells the store. Seconding its psychedelic properties.

RIP to Honest Ed - one of Toronto's greats.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:28 PM on July 11, 2007


Been sad about this all day. More for the end-of-an-era aspect, since he was 93 years old and had a great life. I hope his family continues on with the store, it's a Toronto icon for sure. We walk by it almost every day and have re-discovered it in the last few years by taking our kids there. (What a crazy fun place to explore.)
Tonight my dad said that my late-grandfather knew Ed, which was news to me.
R.I.P.
posted by chococat at 8:41 PM on July 11, 2007


I wonder if this will be news in Chicago. Apparently because of films being shot around B&B some think it's a Chicago landmark as well.

I've never been in the place myself, just walked by. It has long been a landmark for me to direct mates to Suspect or Lee's Palace.
posted by juiceCake at 8:47 PM on July 11, 2007


Here's a pretty nice piece by Robert Fulford, from 2000.

Found because I was look for more about the block of Ed's restaurants around the Royal Alex. It was at least as impressive as the store sign, but people (or the media, at least) have nearly forgotten it.

From Fulford's piece, the reason Ed's businesses were so great:
But the Royal Alex, Ed's Warehouse and then the Princess of Wales Theatre encouraged others to come to King Street, and eventually it became a kind of theatre district. From the standpoint of urban design, the whole enterprise was superbly handled. Other nearby buildings, government or non-profit, showed no interest in the culture of the streets: Roy Thomson Hall, Metro Hall, and the CBC all stood alone and ignored the creation of sidewalk life. The Mirvish businesses respected the street lines and helped, in the most practical way imaginable, to make downtown Toronto feel like a community. Now the Ed's Warehouse building will be developed by others (though still owned by the family), and the two major theatres will remain, monuments to one of the great citizens of the century.
I wish I could find some pictures of it, but I guess it might not be very easily captured. Pictures of Honest Ed's before the new sign would be really interesting too.

I'm not sure the store can last.. Sales can't possibly bring enough return on the property value, it just isn't that busy. They have been carving out (independent?) retail spaces from the frontage in the last few years, and that seems like a great way to deal with the economics.

Adding some condos wouldn't be too terrible, if they look more like Village by the Grange than CityPlace. Turning the corner of Bathurst and Bloor into a high rise Condo farm would be a tragedy.
posted by Chuckles at 8:57 PM on July 11, 2007


Let's hope that when Ed gets to the gate of Heaven, he sees a big sign saying COME IN YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!
posted by tangerine at 9:40 PM on July 11, 2007


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I might be mistaken, but I think they classified Honest Ed's store as a heritage building a year or two ago. I only recall this because a conservative friend of a friend was horrified by the idea.
posted by LMGM at 3:24 PM on July 12, 2007


All the way from Tokyo, and about a day late, but a true heartfelt .
posted by Tiresias at 5:33 AM on July 13, 2007


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