Honest Ed’s – The Landmark Discount Store in Downtown Toronto

1960's - Honest Ed's on Bloor St W
1960’s – Honest Ed’s on Bloor St W

Honest Ed’s was located at 581 Bloor St W, between Bathurst and Markham Sts in the Mirvish Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

Ed Mirvish & His Beloved Store

The discount shopping landmark was opened in 1948 by Ed and Anne Mirvish. Starting with one store near the corner of Bloor and Bathurst, the family acquired several properties along Bloor, eventually occupying a city block. The store was put together using existing homes and buildings, which made the store a maze to walk through.

There’s no place….like this place….anyplace!!!

1980's - Honest Ed's at Bathurst & Bloor Sts
1980’s – Honest Ed’s at Bathurst & Bloor Sts

Along with giving free turkeys away at Christmas and Thanksgiving, Ed was known for his marketing stunts like loss-leader bargains. The store was also known for the hand-painted posters with funny slogans, including:

  • “Don’t just stand there!!! Buy something!”
  • “Come in and get lost.”
  • “Honest Ed is for the birds!!! Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!”
  • “Honest Ed’s a flop! But his prices will make you flip!”

Along with being a philanthropist, Ed Mirvish was also a patron of the theatre operating the Royal Alexandra, Princess of Wales, Ed Mirvish and CAA Theatres. Also a restaurateur, Mr Mirvish ran several restaurants on King St West, including Ed’s Warehouse. It was said that when Ed restored the beautiful Royal Alex Theatre, he started the rejuvenation of what we know today as the Entertainment District.

Ed Mirvish passed away in 2007. Honest Ed’s continued to operate for 68 years and closed on December 31, 2016.

Mirvish Village Today

2018 - An artist rendering looking north to the future Mirvish Village
2018 – An artist rendering looking north to the future Mirvish Village (designed by Henriquez Partners Architects for Westbank Corp)

In 2013, the property was sold to Westbank Corp. The real estate development company is building Mirvish Village Condos. It will be a rental-only development with 800+ units and is expected to be completed in 2022.

On Bathurst St, just north of Bloor St W, there’s a parkette dedicated to Ed and Anne Mirvish.

Part of the iconic Honest Ed’s sign is being refurbished, and there are plans to install it at the back doors of the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Victoria St. The sign had over 23,000 bulbs.

Honest Ed’s Photos

1980's - Honest Ed's at Bloor & Markham Sts
1980’s – Honest Ed’s at Bloor & Markham Sts
1960's - Honest Ed's on Bloor St W
1960’s – Honest Ed’s on Bloor St W
1980's - Honest Ed's at Bathurst & Bloor Sts
1980’s – Honest Ed’s at Bathurst & Bloor Sts
1980's - Honest Ed's at Bloor & Bathurst Sts
1980’s – Honest Ed’s at Bloor & Bathurst Sts
1982 - Markham St in Mirvish Village, looking northeast
1982 – Markham St in Mirvish Village, looking northeast
1982 - Markham St in Mirvish Village, looking southeast
1982 – Markham St in Mirvish Village, looking southeast
1960's - Honest Ed's and the Alhambra Theatre, looking west on Bloor St W
1960’s – Honest Ed’s and the Alhambra Theatre, looking west on Bloor St W (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 100, Item 263)
2019 - Honest Ed's mural by Mike Moism on David French Ln
2019 – Honest Ed’s mural by Mike Moism on David French Ln
2018 - An artist rendering looking north to the future Mirvish Village
2018 – An artist rendering looking north to the future Mirvish Village (designed by Henriquez Partners Architects for Westbank Corp)
2021 - Mirvish Village Condo construction at Bathurst & Bloor Sts in March 2021
2021 – Mirvish Village Condo construction at Bathurst & Bloor Sts in March 2021
2021 - Mirvish Village Condo construction at Bathurst & Bloor Sts in June 2021
2021 – Mirvish Village Condo construction at Bathurst & Bloor Sts in June 2021
2021 - The Ed and Anne Mirvish Parkette sign on Bathurst St, just north of Bloor St W
2021 – The Ed and Anne Mirvish Parkette sign-on Bathurst St, just north of Bloor St W
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