Don't just stand there! Last chance to visit Honest Ed's

Customers bid their final farewells to the iconic store that will close on Saturday.

The garish emporium that boasted 'cents-less' prices will close for good on Saturday

Customers walk through the aisles of Honest Ed's one last time before it closes on Saturday. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

Before its last weekend of business, Torontonians have flocked to Honest Ed's to say goodbye. 

After 68 years, the iconic discount store will close for good at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Honest Ed's has long been known for its bright marquee display, pun-filled painted sales signs and the free turkeys its late founder Ed Mirvish handed out at Christmas.

Shelves and racks inside the store — usually brimming with clothes, groceries and tchotchkes — are barren. Most popular items were sold months ago.

The shelves and racks, usually filled, are barren. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

Many customers bought any piece of memorabilia they could get their hands on — books about Ed Mirvish, shopping bags bearing the Honest Ed's logo or any of the hundreds of its vintage hand-painted signs. 

Many longtime customers simply wanted to walk down the aisles one more time. 

'Always been my store'

Cameron Lyte, a longtime customer, has a connection to the store from living on nearby Markham Street after immigrating from Jamaica over 40 years ago. Lyte said Honest Ed's has "always been my store."

"It feels like a real parting of a good friend," said Lyte, adding that he could always find clothes and products "at your price, the poor man's price. Not necessarily brand names but good stuff."
Sheldon Wagner, a longtime customer, bought the Krazy Karnival Mirror that greeted visitors. (CBC)

Frequent visitors to Honest Ed's will recall the Krazy Karnival Mirror near the entrance, a funhouse mirror that could make a visitor look like a carnival creation.

Sheldon Wagner, who bought the mirror for $425, said he considered it part of his childhood and wanted it to have a second life. 

"This is a happy memory. And now it'll be part of my funhouse; a tribute to Ed Mirvish," Wagner said. 

Shirley Bromfield said she accepts that Honest Ed's belongs to Toronto's history, not its future. 

"I hope over the years, we'll get adjusted to what to what they put here. Life moves on for all of us."

Store became complacent

Impresario, philanthropist and store owner Ed Mirvish died in 2007. In recent years his namesake store has been run by his son, David Mirvish.

In a recent interview David Mirvish told CBC's Matt Galloway he believes the store has been "complacent" since the early 1990s, and he is looking forward to changes in the neighbourhood. 

Hundreds of Honest Ed's hand-painted signs were for sale. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

The store's site at Bloor and Bathurst streets will be redeveloped into a residential and commercial complex. Building plans show elements of Honest Ed's will remain, including its alley and a Mirvish Village Market nearby. 

The Toronto Transit Commission has paid homage to Honest Ed's in its nearby Bathurst subway station. In November, replica signs and decals in Honest Ed's font were placed throughout the station.

While details are being finalized with the Mirvish family, the TTC said it expects a "permanent installation" will be placed at the station to recall the landmark store and its impact on the neighbourhood.