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“Massive dollar store”
Review of Honest Ed's - CLOSED

Honest Ed's
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: New York has Macy's, London has Harrods, Chicago has Marshall Fields, and Toronto has Honest Ed's. "It is quite an attraction - honest," proclaims The Great Toronto Getaway, Buffalo, USA. Built in 1948, Honest Ed's is a landmark store in the heart of Toronto. The sign is lit up using 23,000 light bulbs and the store, although modest, consists of two buildings connected by a sidewalk along Bathurst Street.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

Quite honestly, we could not bring ourselves to buy anything from Honest Ed. It looked like a Second World War bomb had just landed with things everywhere. The wooden shelves have all come to the end of their useful lives as they all looked terribly weathered and broken. Hardly anything were arranged in any decent order. It appeared like somebody simply opened a box and strewn the contents onto a plinth. Low end charity shops gave a better impression. Items on sale were no different to those in the dollar stores all over Toronto.
If there are managers working at this store, they need serious training in every aspect of managing a store. It was a complete waste of time visiting this establishment.

Thank Hohmlt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (102)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
All reviews
"ed mirvish"
in 9 reviews
"buy clothing"
in 2 reviews
"historic landmark"
in 2 reviews
"piece of history"
in 2 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 5 reviews
in 10 reviews
in 8 reviews
in 7 reviews
in 11 reviews
in 2 reviews
in 2 reviews
in 2 reviews
in 3 reviews
in 2 reviews

75 - 79 of 102 reviews

Reviewed June 24, 2012

This store seems to be grossly misunderstood. All the people who gave poor reviews had an expectation that they'd find designer clothes for less, or quality products at discount prices. This is not that kind of store. Yes, it's full of "junk" – it's a massive bargain store full of things that most people would rather not spend their money on, like no-name soap and busts of Elvis. But you're not looking at it from the perspective of its demographic.

Honest Ed's was built for people who don't have enough money to meet with the markups of traditional stores. It was built for people who probably don't have the internet and will never see these reviews. It was built for people who NEED rather than WANT. They give away free turkeys for the holidays, so locals don't starve. They sell necessities for dirt cheap prices because having SOMETHING is probably better than having NOTHING. While you or I might find it more worthwhile to spend $4.00 on a bar of soap, consider that there are other people out there who can't afford the luxury, so Ed founded a place that makes it easier to buy the things you need. If it occurs to you that you might need rubber boots, but don't want to shell out $80.00 for the ones they sell at the Eaton Centre, you can probably find some for $6.00 at Ed's. If you need cheap props or Halloween decorations, you instantly know where to go. I can't think of anywhere else I'd find an Elvis bust if I needed one for an inside joke... but I know where to find it, because Ed's is also synonymous with novelty items. If you can't find it anywhere, you'll probably find it there. That's the kind of store it is. And that grew into an empire – the man turned around and bought blocks of the downtown core, saved theatres from destruction in Toronto and London, England, and breathed new life into the Toronto theatre scene. His birthday parties welcomed Torontonians to free festivities with free food and music. He became an icon in this city, so clearly he did something right.

Not many people "shop" there regularly. And I can't honestly say I've been there in years, and only two or three times in my life at that. But the last time I went, I needed crappy dollar-store toys for a drunken party game where we wanted kits to blow bubbles and cheap water guns. THAT'S where it appeals to locals. But does that make it a tourist attraction?

To fully understand Honest Ed's, one must understand the man. It's a bit like going to see the White House if you don't even know who lives there; it's not so impressive if it's just a big white house behind a massive fence. Likewise, a statue of a man means nothing if you don't know who he is... but know his story and you understand why the likeness is there. Well, the store was built in 1948. The world was still recovering from WWII. And while it may have boosted the North American economies, there were families who'd lost loved ones and there was in influx of immigrants from all over the globe; like always, families were struggling to get by. So, research Ed Mirvish before you go, and you'll see why it's kind of a museum to his humble beginnings. How an empire built on crap can change an entire city and remind the less fortunate that there is still hope and compassion all around them if people would only learn to give back and stop screwing the underdog.

28  Thank JustBabies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2012

I was there in time for the Door Opener sales this morning, but being a noob, I dashed down to the grocery department in the basement for my $0.29 figs when I should've hit the 3rd floor, where the bargain cognoscenti were headed. So I wound up one position shy of getting the deal. Anyway, now the rest of you know.
But my trip wasn't entirely wasted. I picked up knock-off "Crocs" style sandals at $3.99 a pair, 3-pack sports socks for $0.99 (the 99-cent sale was on), and a couple tins of Made-in-USA luncheon meat for $0.99 each.
There's an elevator that goes from basement to the 2nd floor but not the 3rd. The store straddles two buildings and is connected down in the basement as well as by a bridge on the 2nd floor.
They accept only cash or debit. It's a real Toronto tourist icon, and the founder is quite the legend (check out the Wiki for Ed Mirvish), his Honest Ed's store proudly and gaudily displaying all his quotes and pictures. It's a good thing food's all around the place--Indian buffets, felafel, and a whole stretch called Korea Town, from Bathurst subway station right there all the way west down Bloor St. to Christie subway station.

2  Thank bezeq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2012

Overall, Honest Ed's is a bargain department store from 1948 selling everything from clothing and household items to food and toiletries! It's changed very little over the decades! The marquee sign looks fantastic when it's lit up at night.....definitely worth a post-card perfect photo!

However, I'm writing this for theatre lovers that live in Toronto or that visit Toronto to see the shows. Ed Mirvish created Honest Eds, and he's also the namesake of "Mirvish Productions" that have produced some of the biggest musicals and theatrical shows in Toronto's history.

The walls of Honest Ed's from top to bottom, including the stairwells and nooks & crannies, are covered in theatre posters from Mirvish shows through the decades. It's a theatrical history trip with star-studded posters and pictures from the shows. For anyone that's interested in theatre and its past, it's quite a treat.....a mini theatre museum!

Sadly, the posters are not for sale (most of them are signed by stars and their home is on the walls of Honest Ed's)! BUT there's a tonne of other shopping you can do while you're there!

Enjoy the nostalgia of a piece of Toronto history!
AND I suggest to buy a few things while you're there! Honest Ed's is old and needs support so that come condominium doesn't take its place!

3  Thank dadarren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 5, 2012

As mentioned in earlier reviews, this place, for the most part, is really only appreciated by the locals. It's very kitchy and campy, there is a lot of junk, a lot of crap sold here. It's like walking into an attic full of stuff that no one wants, but in that same allegory, that's what makes it interesting. I think that's why Toronto fights so hard to keep it around, because it's been around forever and it hasn't changed at all. It's run down, Ed Mirvish will always be there to greet you from his frame and the scores of famous faces all over the walls will always be a constant. People expect it to be crappy.

So if you come here, don't complain about it, you've been warned. I love it because it is such a mishmash of stuff and you truly could get lost in there, it's like being in a horror movie sometimes.

2  Thank langtongirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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