The future of nearly 70 businesses hangs in the balance after a block of the Annex that's dominated by the iconic Honest Ed's retail store was listed for sale earlier this week.
The 1.8 hectare plot of land owned by the Mirvish family borders the corner of Bloor and Bathurst and extends west to Markham Street, the location of dozens of quaint local shops and restaurants.
Southern Accent Restaurant has been in the same Victorian townhouse in Mirvish Village for almost three decades. Owner Frances Wood told Metro Morning that David Mirvish, son of "Honest Ed" Mirvish, came to the restaurant on Wednesday with news of the sale.
"I think he was saddened that he was in New York when all of this broke in Toronto (on Tuesday)," said Wood. "He didn't have a chance to even talk to the people at Honest Ed's or businesses like myself that have known him for many years."
Wood said she's seen lots of change on Markham Street over the years as businesses come and go, but recently it's become a lot better.
'It has such a great community, just the people who go there, the shops who operate there, everything about it has such a great vibe.'—Krysten Caddy, Co-owner of Coal Miner's Daughter
"There's been definitely a lot of changes over the past four of five years that made the street become more vibrant again," she said. "I always think change is really good."
Krysten Caddy knew she wanted to open a jewelry and clothing boutique in the village after she was charmed by the location on a visit to Toronto for a job interview.
"That's where I wanted to be, that's where I wanted to live, and when I was finally able to get a space there I was so happy," said Caddy, who co-owns Coal Miner's Daughter. "It has such a great community, just the people who go there, the shops who operate there, everything about it has such a great vibe."
A petition was launched earlier this week to nominate Mirvish Village as a Heritage Conservation District. "I think everybody's pretty hopeful that they would preserve the buildings," said Caddy. "I feel like they are still working on preserving the buildings so I'd love to see that continue."
Wood said she's been told about the possible sale of the land but said any redevelopment is likely still several years away.
"The (sale) offer is on the table but who knows," said Wood, adding that she has "mixed feelings" about the Honest Ed's store with its Vegas-style bulb lights being torn down.
"I remember Ed Mirvish and how great he was and how he loved that building and that's a part of me that would be sad to see it go," said Wood. "I would like to see something of him on the street but I don't know how they're going to do that."