Happy Birthday Honest Ed’s -A Place All Could Afford

Today, Honest Ed’s turned 67. For those of you who didn’t have to come to Toronto, it’s a historic, giant of deeper than a bargain basement discount store catering to immigrants and low income families. And the free turkeys at Christmas. Ed went on with this and other successes investing in value restaurants and world class theatres. He went as far as London England purchasing the Old Vic theatre. He passed in 2007 but his son carries on his traditions. Unfortunately, Ed’s will close next year, tearing down the ubiquitous white walls and wooden stands. I’ve heard they’ll keep his illuminating sign, giving the busy corner of Bloor and Bathurst a carnival atmosphere, wrapping around the full block with a simple idea. It remained simple as it grew in the hearts of many. 

In the mid to late 60’s, I thought the name should change to Honest Ed’s Newfoundland since the employees filled the air with the lyrical sound of down home. I also had a summer stint as a cashier. Daunting as you looked down the jam packed aisles of stares and jumping from one foot to another. The din of the crowds unmatched by the clunking of numerous cash registers. No computers. Use your head or pay the short fall out of your wage. 

Most were pleasant and I learned much about other cultures. Gaining a valuable lesson if not pay raise, people are the same despite their diversity. 

This then teenager only thought how cool to have so many of her displaced Newfs under one roof and spending her cheque in her head, before Friday. Today, I’m so grateful to consider myself lucky and belong to this piece of history. Let progress come. No cement or stone can encase my memories. 

I hope another establishment or Ed Jr. picks up the annual turkey giveaway. I suspect the needy will appreciate it as they have for all these years. Happy Birthday to your idea for the proud masses, Mr. Ed Mirvish. I’m hoping to catch Kinky Boots. 🙂 


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