There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace

The beloved and iconic Toronto landmark, Honest Ed’s, is sold to make way for development and an uncertain future.
Available on CBC Gem

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace

CBC Docs POV

At the intersection of two busy Toronto streets, Bloor and Bathurst, sits the iconic landmark Honest Ed’s, a 60-year-old three-story discount store. Recognized for its cheeky slogans and bright flashing signs, beloved for its maze-like interior and bargain finds, Honest Ed’s has shaped the neighbourhood surrounding it. Ever since Ed Mirvish, a business-savvy Jewish-American immigrant, opened the store in 1948, it has served as a beacon for diverse communities and a meeting place for recent immigrants to Toronto.

In 2013, Honest Ed’s and the surrounding buildings — a retail area and artist colony known as Mirvish Village — were sold, to be redeveloped into high-end apartments. There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, a documentary from CBC Docs POV, follows the store and neighbourhood as the community is at a tipping point.

Small businesses, gallery owners, and artists are forced to vacate the block, and the landscape of a heritage neighbourhood is set to be transformed into a modern development. There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace weaves the diverse voices of the neighbourhood together and tells the stories of those who must relocate after the entire block is sold.

Filmmaker Lulu Wei, with her homey upper-floor apartment in the neighbourhood, is one of the residents affected. With this transformation unfolding around her, Wei decides to document the area and its transition to ensure future generations can experience the once-vibrant Mirvish Village.

While developers and politicians promise to provide affordable rentals in the new building, those affected most by the transformation, including Wei, begin to question what “affordable” really means in a modern city and who those cities are being built for.

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace traverses the past and present, and looks to the future of the neighbourhood that evolved around the business of entrepreneur and showman Ed Mirvish — from its days as a one-stop shop for the working class, to its vulnerability in the era of Wal-Mart, Amazon, and dollar stores.

Watch There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, on CBC Docs POV.

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