“It always felt like a crazy maze”: Honest Ed’s shoppers say farewell

“It always felt like a crazy maze”: Honest Ed’s shoppers say farewell

When Honest Ed’s closes up shop for good on December 31, it will do so in traumatic fashion. Not only is the 68-year-old store going out of business, but it and many of its neighbouring shops and restaurants will soon be razed to make way for new apartment towers.

The closure has been years in the making—Ed Mirvish’s passing in 2007 probably made it imminent—and the store has been looking increasingly shabby as business winds down. Even so, many Torontonians aren’t quite ready to let go of the proudly garish landmark, whose blinking marquee has bathed the corner of Bloor and Bathurst in incandescent light for as long as most of them can remember. We dropped by Ed’s (and the Fabricland in the basement of Ed’s, which will be closing with the rest) to ask shoppers to tell us about their most memorable bargains, and how they’re feeling about the place’s demise.

Samantha Gomez

20, barista from Cabbagetown

“This is actually only my second time coming here. Now that’s it’s closing, I’m like, ‘Oh, I should have come here a long time ago.’ I’m going to try and keep coming as much as I can until it closes. I just saw a mini fridge for $60. I think I’m just going to go get it.”

Stuart Carmichael

59, biochemist from Jane and Lawrence

“Honest Ed’s is one of the places I’ve shopped at since I came to Toronto, and it’s kind of sad to see it disappear. I can think of lots of bargains I’ve gotten here. The best was probably some sleeping bags we bought for the kids.”

Mia Nielsen

42, curator from Bathurst and Bloor

“I’m really sad to see Ed’s go. I come here all the time. It’s an amazing place to just come and be inspired. But I also appreciate that neighbourhoods have to grow. My best bargain? I don’t know. Maybe this fabric. It’s regularly 20 bucks a yard and I’m going to get it for 7.”

Dace Viger

74, retired interior designer from Mount Pleasant and Eglinton

“When we came to Canada in 1951, from Germany, this was the place we found had the least expensive stuff—and, at that time, we lived quite close to here. I think my best bargain will be the one I buy today.”

Chel Paterson

40, musician from the east end

“It’s sad, because when I was younger I came here a lot with my family. As soon as we’d get in, we’d run to where the toys were, and it always felt like a crazy maze. Any time we came here, we knew it would just be games and running around playing.”

Anna Pantcheva

30, costume designer from Parkdale

“I’m extremely sad. It’s a Toronto landmark. I’ve been coming here since I moved to Toronto 10 years ago from Mississauga. I once found pants here for $1.99.”

Talle Tian

24, graphic designer from Bathurst and Bloor

“I’m pretty sad. It’s kind of a staple in the neighbourhood. When I first moved to the city I remember coming here to buy basically everything I needed. I was a broke student and I didn’t have a lot of money, but I was able to find it all in one place, which was really great.”

Selina Wamsley

25, server from Roncesvalles

“I moved to Toronto from London, Ontario, pretty recently, but it seems like Honest Ed’s is a really important place to everyone. It’s sad to see something that has such a long history come to an end. When I first moved to town I got my dresser from here. I think I paid like 20 bucks or something. I guess that was a good bargain.”

Sophia Kwon

23, self-employed person from Willowdale

“I think people who were in the city during the time that Honest Ed was alive may be more touched by the change. My best Honest Ed’s memory was the elation at the opening of Fabricland. My best bargains have been the $3 deals on yards of fabric.”