Honest Ed's: for decades it's been a Toronto landmark, with its crazy slogans and lit at night by over 20-thousand lights
Photo Credit: Mike Russel- wiki

Toronto goes mad for Mirvish signs


Many hundreds of people spent hours lined up around the huge block outside a store in Canada’s biggest city yesterday. They were all hoping to pick up small cardboard signs advertising the store’s various sales over the years.

This Toronto school teacher was happy to have bought a couple of signs. An English teacher he liked the incorrectly spelled "sox" and "hoodys" (CBC) CLICK TO ENLARGE

This Toronto school teacher was happy to have bought a couple of signs. An English teacher he liked the incorrectly spelled “sox” and “hoodys” (CBC) CLICK TO ENLARGE

In fact, the signs are considered momentos of an iconic landmark store, Honest Ed’s and the huge crowds wanted a small piece of Toronto history as the store begins to wind down.

From its earliest beginning in 1948, Ed Mirvish plastered his bargain store inside and out with wacky slogans and puns, a store which grew and grew, and sold just about everything imaginable.

Even from its humble start in 1948, the store was covered with wacky slogans, and people were lined up for the bargains.

Slogans included- “There’s no place like this place, anyplace” or “Come in and get lost”, or “Ed’s an honest man, only the floors are crooked”

The store with its many thousands of lights became a Toronto landmark, while Ed Mirvish himself became one of the best known names in the city not only for the store but also internationally in the arts scene for his love of theatre by helping to create the city’s theatre district, promoting international productions, and restoring glorious old theatres in Toronto and in London England.

The sale signs and pun slogans, themselves were unique in this modern age, being all hand- painted, a rare and dying skill, by two men in a small office above the store. The proviso for the sale signs was that prices were always in red.

Wayne Reuben has been keeping alive the dying art of hand-painted signs, working at Honest Ed's for many years and dreaming up the wacky slogans and creating the sale signs. (CBC) CLICK TO ENLARGE

Wayne Reuben has been keeping alive the dying art of hand-painted signs, working at Honest Ed’s for many years and dreaming up the wacky slogans and creating the sale signs. (CBC) CLICK TO ENLARGE

Like everything else in the store, the signs were budget-priced, unlike the store itself which occupies a huge space in the heart of Toronto and as such sits on extremely valuable land.

It was sold for a reputed $100 million to a Vancouver development company and it’s expected  the 1.8 hectare site will be turned into condominium towers in two or three years.

Ed Mirvish died in 2007 at age 92 and the holdings are run by his son David.

 Honest Ed’s website

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Society

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