Toronto's Honest Ed's will go


It sad that the urban landscape of all our cities continues to be raped and bleached to the point where there is no individuality left. We are a much poorer society for it.


I bought a hoodie there once, it was OK.

We’ll probably end up with another Shopper’s on the ground floor of that condo to replace Honest Ed’s, Sonic Boom, Victory Cafe and The Beguiling.

I’ll be sad to see Honest Ed’s go – but I am much more worried about the varied small businesses (The Beguiling, Suspect Video, Vintage Video…) that make up “Mirvish Village” over on Markham. No one is saying whether they, which are owned by the Mirvishes, will be included in any sale. They, even more than honest Ed’s, are the antithesis of big chain stores,

Ironic how companies give lip service to how valuable creativity and vision are yet when they actually put something on the ground it tends to end up being another bland cookie cutter business.

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Actually if you go to Times Square it looks like every corporate crap place that opened there in the past decade copied the Honest Ed facade. To bad that style didn’t really fit in Times Square and destroyed the local flavor of the area.

According to the Star, yes, all the Mirvish Village buildings are part of the sale.

When I got my first apartment away from home that’s where I got all my essentials - and essentially cheap for a poor student. Still have some of the pots and cutlery. Was never one to stand in line for the “Doorcrashers” sales though. Used to live around the corner and down a block on Markham. Shame to see it all go. The Village especially. That’s where Captain George’s Whizzbang used to be - crammed to the rafters with great and arcane old movie memorabilia. And it was at David Mirvish Books where I saw Peggy baker Smith dance to Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” - which was sublimely awesome. The fight to preserve the old neighbourhoods continues in Kensington (another chunk of town I used to infest) where citizens are rallying to stop a WalMart from being installed. How crass and stupid it all is.

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Honest Ed’s was prominently featured in the movie Outrageous! with Craig Russell.

Sameness is a grave problem facing cities. It is a consequence of scale. Profits are maximized with concrete and steel, so we build with concrete and steel everywhere.

The nice thing about coming together towards a global common culture is that we get prospects for world peace and mutual understanding. That bad thing is that we annihilate diversity. Think about the historical architecture in Paris, Lima and Beijing compared to the buildings being built today in those places. They are all indistinguishable from the condo that will replace Honest Ed’s. Civilization has been in decline. It will end when the last full time sign painter goes.

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Never been to Toronto but I’ve seen SCTV, and Honest Ed’s looks like something straight out of Yonge Street.

There’s a rainbow in Toronto
where the Maritimers are bold
They always get a pot full
but they never get a pot of gold

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And to think back in the day we used to criticise the Commies for being architecturally grey, bland and boring. And of spying on their own citizens. And pursuing political prosecutions. We have become them.


Just very sad.
So many decades, to this day…being an icon in the neighbourhood…helping…serving a great purpose.
My grandmother used to shop there all the time…she loved it & she used to bring us gifts from Honest Ed’s…I treasure those gifts.

Is there still a Suspect Video on Queen Street?

If memory serves (and I find it increasingly doesn’t) they were forced out a couple of years ago by a bad fire, leaving only the Markham location.

Monoculture marches on.

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“Toronto, like all the world’s cities, is being crushed into a bland, multinational corporate sameness that makes us all poorer, except for a few shareholders.” That’s a sharp way to put it. I’ll add these two cognate comments, which came to mind just last week as I was reflecting on the same issue.

From the first chapter of Michael Tonello’s 2009 memoir Bringing Home the Birkin (about making a living as a reseller of Hermès bags on eBay), reprinted in the NYTimes: “But lately I found myself becoming more jaded by my globe-trotting.[…] It was boredom. I had increasingly noticed a sinister sameness about each of these foreign cities.”

From comments delivered by literary scholar Christopher Ricks at a Boston conference in 2009: “Every university and every school […] has an identity crisis in this sense: that diversity within every institution has led to less diversity of institutions. It’s a perfectly simple thing; every capital city in the world is more like every capital city than was the case when i was young because every capital city is now diverse. You can get English cooking – which as we know is the greatest in the world – in pretty much every capital city of the world. We have experienced an extraordinary increase in diversity and an extraordinary diminution of diversity, because every university, every Oxford and Cambridge college that used to be characterized by exclusivenesses which had a disagreeable side, and specializations or convictions, for which a price was paid. Keeble is the Oxford movement, and if you’re in sympathy with those convictions, that is where you went; Jesus College is where you went if you were Welsh; and so on. They had an identify, they were open to the objection that they were not diverse, and what you had was a huge diversity of institutions. I’m not saying which of these two is to be preferred, I’m simply saying that, life being tragic as well as comic, you choose one and you do not get the other.”

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That reminds me of a story I heard from a guy who visited Vietnam a few years ago. He and his Vietnamese guide were walking down a street in Ho Chi Min city. They passed a McDonald’s, a KFC, and a Blockbuster. The guide motioned toward these stores and said, “Look! You won!”

We have not only become what we most feared, but we have dragged others down with us.


I don’t know. I’m inclined to agree with the other commenter who said this moves us towards a more shared human experience. I wish it wasn’t built around McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and KFC, but it is a shared experience.

And there are plenty of places that maintain their unique identity, and neighborhoods that preserve that somethingness that comes only from that culture. Consider a place like Philadelphia, where Center City is in a lot of ways indistinguishable for other big cities when you’re amidst the skyscrapers, but go down South Street and have a cheesesteak at Pat’s and there’s no mistaking that place. It has an essence that is purely Philadelphia. The point is that smaller local institutions will continue to do well, just off the beaten path, and where the locals live, not where the locals work, and the tourists come to visit.