Goodbye Honest Ed



If anybody asked where I grew up I would simply say Honest Ed’s. everybody knew about Ed’s outrageous bargain store at Bathurst and Bloor. The legendary store closes today after 68 years, a veritable Toronto ikon.

Mirvish was a great character, a down to earth business guy, very loyal to the immigrant population who were looking for bargains—first the Italians and Jews and then the Portuguese and Jamaicans They all loved Ed.he remembered what it was like to be an immigrant. His dad had come to the USA first from Kiev and when Ed was nine moved to Toronto and located in the largely Jewish area of Dundas and Bathurst.
I often ran into Ed on his birthday—which was the same day as mine.He would throw a party outside the store and treat the folks to free hot dogs.

When my first book Shabbes Goy: A Catholic Boyhood was launched in 2001 the Mirvishes, Ed and son David insisted I launch it at David’s great bookstore across the road. Who was I to say no.? They loved it because it was a local story. Not only did the Mirvishes buy the first two copies but they took out ads in the Globe and Mail! I never spent a dime promoting it.
Bathurst and Bloor will never be the same. Mirvish had a great run there and parlayed it into refurbishing the beautiful Royal Alex theatre. Both Toronto originals.





  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    “Honest Ed, crazy Honest Ed…” I recall the great jingo on Chum radio. What a marketer and great businessman!

    The world needs more Honest Eds!
    Great post Ted!

  2. 2
    bfinny Says:

    The Crucifix has a prominent place in the Catholic School Classroom. In 1990, I was working at a new Catholic School that needed 120 Crucifixes. The Principal of the school liked the Crucifix that was hanging in my office at the temporary holding site of the school. Wouldn’t you know, I got it at Honest Ed’s. Now the assorted religious items sold at Honest Ed’s usually ranged in style from garish to gaudy. Remember those plaster Elvis busts? Yes, I know, I just included Elvis busts as a religious item. The beauty of Honest Ed’s was that it was hit and miss on much of the inventory, unlike the dollar stores of our day. When I bought the Crucifix in my office, I paid $12.99. Would Honest Ed’s be able to supply us with the quantity we needed and give us a deal? We called the store and the store manager put us right through to Ed himself. At first, Ed laughed. He had never been approached by a Catholic School with such a request before. He would look into things for us and get back to us. Our school budget secretary got a call a few days later. Yes Ed could find 120 Crucifixes similar to the one on my office wall and true to his bargaining nature, he offered them to us for $12.00 each, taxes included! We thought we had a deal made in Heaven. The school board purchasing department, however, didn’t see things our way. Honest Ed wasn’t a tendered vendor with the school board and you can guess the rest of the story. We did however order 120 beautiful Crucifixes for the school. They were about $70.00 each. Goodbye Honest Ed’s.

  3. 3
    mushafta Says:

    This is unbelievable!
    Well done!

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