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'Crazy' going away party planned for Toronto's Honest Ed's

The Centre for Social Innovation is organizing a sendoff for the beloved bargain store, before it gets demolished next year.

Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation is planning a multi-day party to commemorate Honest Ed’s before the iconic building gets torn down.

Torstar News Service file

Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation is planning a multi-day party to commemorate Honest Ed’s before the iconic building gets torn down.

If you’ve ever felt like partying in the aisles of Honest Ed’s, you’re about to get your chance.

The iconic bargain store is slated to close at the end of the year, as part of a massive redevelopment of Mirvish Village. But before the building comes down, the Centre for Social Innovation is looking to send off Honest Ed’s in a style befitting its founder.

“I think it’s going to be crazy, but Honest Ed was a bit crazy, so it’s perfect,” said Adil Dhalla, director of culture at CSI.

The event – slated for late winter – is still in the planning stages, but Dhalla promised a “multi-day” affair full of art, music and local retailers. Better still, festivities will take place “both inside and outside” of the store.

“It’ll be the first, last and only event before the building gets demolished,” he said.

Although he billed himself as “cheapskate,” Ed Mirvish was one of Toronto’s most generous philanthropists. He also worked to make his store accessible to all of Toronto’s residents, an ethos CSI is looking to emulate by inviting the public to help plan the party.

“Doing this project, we heard about how close Honest Ed’s was to people’s immigrant experiences or just their early experiences in Toronto,” Dhalla said. “Honest Ed’s made Toronto possible for a lot of us and we want to share that story.”

In addition to celebrating Honest Ed’s place in Toronto’s history books, Dhalla said the event will also focus on the future of the site. Developer Westbank is proposing building a 1,000-unit rental project there, including a bevy of community amenities, including parks, public squares and childcare facilities.

“We’re going to lose something iconic, and the hope is that we’ll get something iconic back in its place,” Dhalla said. 

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