This Way You Lucky People

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Honest Ed's was a huge, eccentric department store in Toronto. Opened in 1948 by "Honest" Ed Mirvish, the store was so large that it took up the length of an entire city block. On December 31, 2016, it closed permanently. The landmark building will soon be knocked down to make way for new storefronts and residential towers.

Honest Ed's interior was maze-like, made up of many interconnecting rooms. Even though I'd been shopping there for years, I always got lost every time I went in. I went there often, to buy candles, socks, kitchen things, and once, a holographic picture of the Virgin Mary, for thirty-five cents. Ed's sold household items at extremely low discount prices, advertised by hundreds of hand-painted signs. Ed Mirvish, who died in 2007, also owned a number of theatres. The store was decorated with vintage show posters, many of which were signed with dedications to Mirvish.

Over the past few years, Honest Ed's started to fall into a state of noticeable disrepair. In 2013, developers purchased the building for $100 million. The store stayed open for several years as plans were made for the site. I took these photos in December, just as Honest Ed's was preparing to close. The inventory was being cleared out quickly, but there were still Christmas decorations in every department. It was my final visit. I bought a baseball hat for fifty cents.

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