Honest Ed's sign will be moved to Ed Mirvish Theatre
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017 10:18AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 8, 2017 1:09PM EST
Although the building that housed Honest Ed’s will soon disappear from the downtown corner it called home for nearly 60 years, it appears a piece of the iconic Toronto landmark will live on in the city for years to come.
In a news release issued Wednesday, Mirvish Productions said David Mirvish, the son of the late discount department store’s owner Ed Mirvish, has spent months exploring what to do with the building’s 23,000-bulb exterior sign when the site is redeveloped.
On Thursday, Mirvish announced that a piece of the exterior sign will be mounted on Ed Mirvish Theatre, located near Yonge and Dundas streets.
"It is fitting that a sign from the original store that made it possible for my father to become involved in theatre will now grace the venue that is named for him,” Mirvish said in a news release issued Wednesday.
"I’m sure he would be delighted to see two of his great passions — Honest Ed’s, which in many ways was a theatrical setting for a grand parade of humanity, and the theatre world, which he loved — finally be joined together.”
Honest Ed's closed its doors for good at the end of last year. The site has been sold to Westbank Corporation, which plans to redevelop the land into rental apartments, a public market and retail space.
The 30-foot-tall by 60-foot-wide sign will be moved from the corner of Markham and Bloor streets to a warehouse, where it will be refurbished.
The sign, which Mirvish says is in the style of early Las Vegas, will then be installed on the front of the theatre’s Victoria Street entrance.
The installation of the sign still needs to be approved by city council and once approved, Mirvish said they will provide an updated timeline for when the sign will be erected and unveiled.
Mayor John Tory told reporters Wednesday that he is "glad" a deal has been worked out to keep the sign in the city.
"We can explain it to our grandchildren and their children that Honest Ed’s was the place that won’t ever be replaced," he said.
Speaking to CP24 during a telephone interview, Mirvish said at first he wasn't sure he wanted to preserve the sign.
"I tried not to be sentimental. I tried to resist the sign mainly because it was really expensive but the truth is, I know I’m going to have a lot of pleasure looking at it and it will explain why a theatre is named after a man named Ed Mirvish," he said.
He said at the end of the day, the money to restore the sign will be worth it.
"It means a lot to a lot of people," he added. "I want to keep those memories."
When asked what his late father would think about the expense of it, Mirvish laughed and said he wasn't quite sure.
"I don’t know if he’d think I’m crazy or not," he said.
"I think in the end he would love it."