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),
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.”