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They called it Edwin’s

June 12th, 2012 · No Comments


David Mirvish greets customers enthusiastcally as he hands out chocolate to the first 200 customers. Richard Frankel/Gleaner News

By Richard Frankel

It is May 23 at high noon, and the sun is burning on a gorgeous day. Hundreds of bright eyed and enthusiastic customers stand in line on Bloor Street. They stand on a rolled out ceremonial red carpet borrowed from the Royal Alexandra Theatre for the grand opening of a week long event at Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor Street W.) called “Edwin’s Of Bloor Street.”

It is a temporary name change and a celebration of both the store’s 64th year of being in business as well as a recreation of a favourite of the late Ed Mirvish’s fun and affordable events.

Mirvish’s son, David, the show business entrepreneur, is decked out in a tuxedo. He is wearing his father’s cufflinks, and is visibly pleased by the positive energy of the hundreds of customers who have lined up.

As he moves through the throng of people to take his place at the front of the line, he stands underneath the new makeshift sign on Bloor’s southwest corner, and takes his time to pat customers on the back and smile. He makes sure to shake each and every hand and exchange pleasantries, as he hands out boxes of chocolates to the first 200 people that walk through the Honest Ed’s doors.

“It’s always exciting to open something new,” said Mirvish. “My father did this every few years but I think the last time we did it was 15 years ago. So Edwin’s of Bloor Street has returned at least for this week.”

Russell Lazar, Honest Ed’s general manager for the past 54 years, said he and his team had been working on the event for the past six to seven weeks.

“It was the right time, and nice weather and it is the 64th year of the store. This is a special event for David and his late father,” he said.

Hundreds of Honest Ed’s customers line up for the grand opening of ‘Edwin’s Of Bloor Street’, a five day sale and celebration of Honest Ed’s and its 64 years in business. Richard Frankel/Gleaner News.

The featured buys during this five-day event are items priced from 25 cents all the way up to $10,000, with some opening day door crasher specials ranging from 10 cent TVs and tickets to the theatrical production of War Horse given to various customers who stand on the “right spot” in the lineup.

However, the promise of chocolate and the low sale prices were not the reasons why Pat Weller, a lady with long blonde hair and thick rimmed glasses, came out to the grand opening event. For Weller, a deeply rooted, and almost reverential combination of nostalgia and dedication to the Mirvish brand brought her here.

“He’s changing it to Edwin’s? I gotta go check it out! The name change is just in fun,” she said. “I myself come to every event that David has. Even when Ed was alive, I would come to every event because I grew up with the store. It was before we had all the malls and all these discount stores.”

Weller said the store has a lot of history with the city and brings people together.

“That’s what it’s all about. That’s the story with this store. I really like it. I really enjoy it.”

David Mirvish said it is a privilege for him to come to these events because people say nice words about his dad.

“It reminds me of other times that I’ve been here with him and it’s fun. It’s nice to have some continuity with the past.”

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