Honest Ed's

What can I tell you about Honest Ed's? As far as ancient department stores go, it's pretty much the chief purveyor of half-priced junk you would never ordinarily buy, but do anyway because you can always find something you didn't know you've always needed - if that makes any sense.

This cavernous (and I really do mean cavernous) bargain bin is shabby in an iconic way. It has stood on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst for what seems like forever, and even though I was in Canada for roughly thirteen years, these photos are from my first and only visit a couple of weeks ago. 

As it turns out, Honest Ed's probably won't be around next time we go back to the city, the whole block on which it sits is up for sale. This seems to be happening a lot in Toronto lately, places like this that really give the city a personality are being knocked down to make way for condos and a Walmart. It's all a bit depressing.

Since the store opened in 1948 it has gained a reputation not only for bargains, but also for the lavish birthday parties thrown by Ed Mervish and their innovative marketing techniques. For example, Adam assured me that with every purchase at Honest Ed's you receive a free baby raccoon.

Even though I never got my baby raccoon, and I've only ever been to Honest Ed's once, I'll certainly miss seeing it whenever I head to downtown Toronto. With its hand-painted signs and the 23,000 lighbulbs it requires to light up its signs, there really isn't anything like it left in the city.