As a native Torontonian, I was incredibly sad when it was announced that Honest Ed's would be closing.My first memories of Honest Ed's come from when I was in elementary school. My Nana would take me back to school shopping there and we'd hunt down the best Yikes erasers and coloured pens. When I was in musical theatre college, Ed's was my hub for batteries, cassette tapes for my dictaphone and the occasional snack.
Over the years I would find myself shopping inside for toboggans, men's ties, home decor and random souvenirs.
I spent many a late night in the alley chatting the night away during the Fringe. It was always impossible to leave because by the time you got to the end of the alley you would have run into at least 7 other people you knew and someone would inevitably offer to buy you a drink.
I was happy that I was able to visit the building one last time, during its closing weekend in an amazing event called an Honest Farewell.
There was beautiful art installations, performances and a chance to visit all sorts of neat nooks and crannies, whilst getting lost one last time. I explored, watched some theatre, listened to music, ran into all sorts of friends and reminisced all of the time that I had spent amid Ed's treasures.
The end of Honest Ed's also means the end of Mirvish Village - including one of my very favourite restaurants: Butler's Pantry.
In December I felt an inclination to go visit and have dinner. I started going to Butler's during college, and had some really special meals there with friends, as well as great solo time doing work or learning lines. I knew the menu by heart and the Butler's salad dressing is like no other.
By complete coincidence, that dinner in December turned out to be its closing dinner service. The owner came over and comped our meal. I was thankful that I felt compelled to go when I did. It happened during the end of December when everything in my life was changing, and it as a pretty special experience. They still have a location on Roncesvalles, but I know that it will never feel the same as those giant window booths.
It's barely been a month since the big bash, but the lights are off and there's graffiti covering the building. It will be so strange to see it torn down and a condo erected in its place. Rumour has it that the sign will be incorporated somehow, but it will never be the same. The Fringe tent will move this summer and we'll have to adapt to a whole new setup.
I already miss the iconic lights at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, and all the great memories along the way.
with photos by Corbin Smith