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Encyclopedia > Edwin Mirvish

Edwin "Honest Ed" Mirvish (July 25, 1914 - ) is a businessman and philanthropist who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is best known for his flagship business, Honest Ed's, a landmark discount store located at Bloor and Bathurst streets in downtown Toronto.

Born in Virginia, he lived his early years in Washington, D.C., his father running a grocery store. The family moved to Toronto when Ed was nine and his father opened a grocery in the Jewish area on Dundas Street.

He married his wife Anne in 1941.

After running a series of different businesses, including a cleaner's and a dress shop, he moved into the bargain products business and quickly found success with his no-credit, no-frills model of doing business. Honest Ed's was soon brining in millions of dollars a year.

Ed is renowned for getting free publicity, doing everything from riding elephants, to hiring protestors to picket his own store over its dress code. Every Christmas Mirvish gives away tens of thousands of free turkeys outside his store.

A tradition since his 75th birthday has been the large annual party adjacent to the store, which attracts over 50,000 people for seven hours of free food, entertainment and children's rides.

In addition to Honest Ed's, he owns numerous businesses in the downtown area, including restaurants and theatres. His first purchase was Alexandra Hall, a historic theatre that was slated for demolition, and refurbished it, revitalizing the Toronto theater scene. He also built the Princess of Wales Theatre, the largest new theater in North America in thirty years. He and his son David operate Mirvish Productions, which has staged productions of many Broadway hits such as The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Producers, and Hairspray. In 1982 Mirvish bought London's Old Vic for a million dollars and spent four million renovating it. It never made money, however, and he sold it in 1998.

Mirvish took ill in 2003 with a severe case of pneumonia, and was away from public life until May of the following year.


  • Honest Ed Mirvish is back - Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1083708610566&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154)

  Results from FactBites:
Ed Mirvish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (979 words)
Mirvish delights in telling the tale of his bris; there was no mohel in Colonial Beach, so the family hired one in nearby Washington, D.C., to come down to perform the ceremony.
Ed Mirvish was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his contributions to British theatre.
Mirvish took ill in 2003 with a severe case of pneumonia, and was away from public life until May, 2004.
Royal Alexandra Theatre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1337 words)
Mirvish said at the time that he knew nothing about theatre - had never even been inside a theatre - but knew a bargain when he saw one.
Mirvish closed the theatre for one year - the longest it had ever been dark - for renovation and restoration.
In 1993, David Mirvish added a third theatre to the empire, building the Princess of Wales Theatre a block to the west of the Royal Alexandra.
  More results at FactBites »



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