Honest Ed Mirvish passed away earlier today, and that's got me thinking about the man and what he meant to this city. His annual Christmas turkey giveaway is legendary and Mirvish Productions has brought a great deal of theatre to Toronto, but I'm going to focus on more personal memories of Ed.
My mom often told me stories about going to Honest Eds with her mother. It was always a big event and these trips were highlights of my mom's childhood, as money was tight and bargains were to be had. My grandmother, who was born the same year as Ed, led these Honest Eds expeditions and she would glow when she spoke of Ed Mirvish.
If there was a big event to celebrate, my grandmother would invite the entire family to Old Ed's Warehouse at King Street West and Duncan Street. Old Ed's Warehouse, in her opinion, was the place to go. It's since closed, but I have memories of getting dressed up to go to Old Ed's Warehouse for an English cut of roast beef, rolls, kosher dill pickles, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and canned peas, not exactly a kid's ideal meal.
For years I attended a school near Bathurst and Bloor for one day a week. We'd take the subway to Bathurst and I'd see those lights and signs which always brought a smile to my face. I didn't personally shop at Honest Eds, but I liked knowing I could go there and score a 99¢ tee shirt if I needed one.
Honest Ed was a Toronto institution who gave us Honest Ed's and Mirvish Productions, but I'll always remember him for the stories he gave my grandmother and mom. He will be missed.