I bought my first dish set there. It was grass green and I thought it was the bees knees. I think I paid 99 cents each for the dinner plates. Honest Ed's. Its 23,000 lights have been festooning the corner of Bathurst and Bloor since 1948. Now the building is slated for demolition in December of 2016 after being on the market for 100 million .
To what end? In the name of progress! Vancouver based developer Westbank has a proposed development for Markham Street in Toronto that centers around a 29 storey building and a number of other buildings of varying heights. It's one million square feet of family sized rental units, daycare centre, public market, retail spaces, bicycle valet parking (whatever that is!) auto share, car charging stations. Markham Street will to be closed to all but pedestrian traffic and filled with "destination dining", and the existing lane way will be lined with pop up micro stores and 57 live/work artists lofts.
The "angle" is renewing Mirvish village while still retaining the "bazaar" feel of the neighbourhood. Many promises of honouring heritage, sustainability to cycling and creating urban design are being made, but I cannot help but feel this is the death of another Toronto landmark, going the way of the Sam the Record man sign -- and which way is that?......no one seems to know. Landfill? It breaks my heart a little, and I cannot help but feel that a little of Toronto's heart is being broken too.
The history of Honest Ed's lies in it's cheap goods for everyone and Ed's generosity with his periodic free turkey handouts. Immigrants and new comers to Toronto from all over have done as I did and furnished their first homes with necessities from this giant vaudevillian discount shop. Now, while it is being refurbished with rental family units as it's proposed centre, I cannot help but wonder if any of the people who shopped at Honest Ed's would be in the income bracket to rent the units?
Speaking of signs, the handmade window and store signs have been for sale, some as low as $2. With a a quick peek at kijiji, I found one for $300.