Remembering Honest Ed – Ed Mirvish dies at age 92

When I first arrived in Toronto in 1986 as a student, the room I rented was a just few blocks away from Honest Ed’s. I was very mindful of how much my parents had to save to send me from Hong Kong to Toronto to get an education. So I could really use and enjoy the savings I had in shopping at Mr. Ed Mirvish‘s Honest Ed’s.

The Creative Commons pictures that I posted above are pretty much the same as I remembered what the outside and inside of the Honest Ed’s looked like. I love the fact that I can get good bargains at the store. I remember there were dozens of eggs advertised for 1 cent for the first 10 or 20 customers to the store (which I think were mainly bought by seniors who had lots of time to spare to lineup so early). And I also learned a lesson in marketing very early on. I thought, wow, thats a great way to get customers lining up at the store to create a buzz.

Another love of mine was DM Books, a creation of Ed’s son David. My life long love of arts (especially Norman Rockwell), architecture (e.g. I. M. Pei), and design (e.g. Bruce Mau) were probably heavily influenced by the availability of deeply discounted great books. My autographed copy of Bruce Mau’s Life Style has been a treasured book of mine since I picked it up at DM.

I also saw my first musical Les Misérables at Ed’s Royal Alexandra Theatre. I sit on the absolute last row but I still love this musical the best (lot more than others I paid top dollars to see later). Here is One Day More from Les Miz (a Broadway clip),

The above are some of my fond memories of Mr. Ed Mirvish and the Mirvish name. CBC news has a report with video of Mr. Mirvish’s passing. Here is a report from CTV news.

July 12 Update: Here is an excerpt from Globe and Mail report “Mr. Toronto dies at 92“,

No exchanges, no refunds, no credit, no delivery and short hours,” [K: yeah, I remember those] Mr. Mirvish liked to boast. ”By eliminating all those services you should be able to pass on those services to the customer.” […]

”I never like to talk about money,” he would say, by way of deflecting questions about his personal net worth. ”I don’t think it’s important once you are not hungry. After a while, you’re nothing but a caretaker or a custodian.

2 Responses to Remembering Honest Ed – Ed Mirvish dies at age 92

  1. Simon says:

    It is very heart warming to read your memories of Mr. Ed Mirvish who contributed to enable you learning so much. Although your parents could only provide you with limited support from Hong Kong, it helped you to better understand him. Good Luck!
    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for your comment.

    It was only looking back and reflecting a bit I realized how much being closed to Honest Ed’s and DM Books have enriched my life. Every time I go by his store and look at the large sign, I was always amazed by his ability to promote. Love the man.

    – Kempton

  2. mila says:

    It’s just so touching to read any story about Honest Ed. I also had a recent blog entry about him. Please take a look if you have time.
    Hi Mila,

    Thanks for your feedback and your nice entry about Honest Ed with full of photos that bring back nice memories to me.


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