full heart


Last week­end was a very full one! We went to a farewell par­ty for icon­ic Hon­est Ed’s, orga­nized by Toron­to for Every­one

If you’ve ever vis­it­ed Toron­to, you might have been to Hon­est Ed’s. That was where I like to take out-of-town friends to impress them any­way. It is an enor­mous department/bargain store that lit­er­al­ly invites you to get lost in it. Lit­er­al­ly because there is a sign on the build­ing that says:


Lost part­ly because there was SO much stuff! And so much real­ly dif­fer­ent stuff, all kind of orga­nized in a maze-like for­ma­tion. If you were there for the first time and look­ing for some­thing spe­cif­ic, you’d prob­a­bly get kind of frus­trat­ed, but then quick­ly dis­tract­ed by the cheesy slo­gans hand let­tered in cheer­ful colours everywhere. 

But if you were like me, who lived right across the street from Ed’s for a while and then con­tin­ued to shop or meet peo­ple in the neigh­bour­hood, you’d know exact­ly where to get the 99 cents loaf of bread and tinned fish for lunch, or ban­dan­nas for a sewing exper­i­ment (and this!), or those 2 dol­lar waf­fle shirts for days that turned cold sud­den­ly, or large quan­ti­ty of t‑shirts for sum­mer camp, or socks, or just to get anoth­er pic­ture of that giant plush moose head on top of a grand­fa­ther clock with its eyes pop­ping out, or to kill time, or escape from real­i­ty for a cou­ple of hours in the evening. 

Hon­est Ed’s was named after it’s own­er Ed Mirvish and opened in 1948. As not­ed on Toron­to for Every­one:

“Beyond his bar­gain prices and pun­ny ways, Ed was known for his abil­i­ty to bring peo­ple togeth­er and build com­mu­ni­ty in wacky ways: roller der­bies, 72-hour dance marathons, free turkey give­aways, to name a few. Per­haps most impor­tant of all, Hon­est Ed’s was a mod­el for inclu­siv­i­ty. Every­one, no mat­ter how you looked, what you did, or how much you made — was wel­come at Ed’s. Whether you made a pur­chase or sim­ply enjoyed walk­ing around and brows­ing every­thing from kitchen­wares, cloth­ing, toys, fab­rics, to knick-knacks (SO MANY knick-knacks!), Ed’s had a way of instill­ing won­der and mak­ing you feel at home.”

And from the Jane’s Walk that we par­tic­i­pat­ed in (more on that lat­er), we also learned that he offered very afford­able rental spaces — and they remained afford­able despite the rapid increas­es in rental costs every­where else in the city — to artists and arti­sans in the sur­round­ing Mirvish Village.

There was no place like this place. 

And so a group of good peo­ple brought more good peo­ple togeth­er and orga­nized one last very vibrant mar­ket­place in hon­our of Hon­est Ed’s. 

The jux­ta­po­si­tion of vin­tage glass­ware and under­pants very much cap­tured the spir­it of what this place was.

The artist who hand let­tered all the signs for the store over the past years was there paint­ing cus­tom signs for visitors. 

In 2014 when the news first came out that Hon­est Ed’s will be clos­ing, there was a sale for all the hand let­tered signs used in the stores. So my friend and I went there and lined up for over 5 hours and each got our­selves a few signs. One sits in front of my desk at home, it says “hol­i­day coat­ed marsh­mal­low bis­cuits * 99 cents”. Very spe­cial because it’s got stars on it and they don’t make pen­nies anymore! 

In a dif­fer­ent part of the build­ing there was a com­mu­ni­ty hub, where one could sprawl out and read all the Sun­day flyers…

… and very smi­ley police­men do yoga with the kids.

Mike and I were most look­ing for­ward to the retro ice cream social. (and you can see there is a set­up for music or spo­ken word per­for­mance in the back)

And intu­itive paint­ing! :D

Peo­ple were invit­ed to paint on mer­chan­dise tables. The theme of our table was Hon­est Ed’s.

This was our work! The black dash­es were meant to be foot steps but it’s all get­ting a bit lost there… that was the point I guess :) And Mike paint­ed the streetcar. 

This was under our work by some­one else very talented.

Then we par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Jane’s Walk in Mirvish Vil­lage, where a num­ber of pre­vi­ous ten­ants spoke about the changes they expe­ri­enced after the city block was bought out. At the end peo­ple who went on the walk also shared their sto­ries of Hon­est Ed’s and Ed Mirvish. There were def­i­nite­ly expres­sions of sad­ness about see­ing such impor­tant part of the city go, but there was no anger, or bit­ter­ness, just the acknowl­edge­ment that every­thing good will inevitably come to an end, and there is hope that what is com­ing will car­ry on the lega­cy of embrac­ing diver­si­ty and inclu­sive­ness, and the space will con­tin­ue to bring peo­ple together.

In fact, you can see the vision for the new Mirvish Vil­lage here.

After say­ing good­bye to Hon­est Ed’s, the next day we went to the Warm­ing Toron­to knit­ting day. Here’s the hat I fin­ished :D

It’s a two-colour fish­er­man’s rib hat that was knit­ted flat and seamed togeth­er. I learned the 2‑colour rib pat­tern from this Craft­ster post. The decreas­es are not very neat at all, I’ll learn how to do prop­er decreas­es with this kind of pat­tern next time.

It was a very relax­ing after­noon of knit­ting and hang­ing out with peo­ple who knit :D If you live in the city, the project is still col­lect­ing hats and scarves till March 26! The orga­niz­er can arrange for pick­ups along the sub­way lines. Check out the Face­book event page for details.

Have a love­ly week, every­one! :D