Ed Mirvish – Successful Businessman. Family Man. Humanitarian.

I live close enough to the big city of Toronto to hear about some of their news.  One man I used to hear about every year (he sadly passed away in 2007 at the age of 92) was Ed Mirvish. Mr. Mirvish was a very creative businessman and sincere humanitarian.

Mr. Mirvish came to Toronto as a young lad with his parents and siblings.  They dabbled in retail stores and tried to make a go of it during the depression and war years.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts, Ed finally opened a bargain basement business in 1948 known as Honest Ed’s, which was stocked with all kinds of random items from liquidations and fire sales.

The business was a huge success and kept growing over the years.

Ed also became very successful in the theatre and restaurant business in the area, owning a number of prosperous theatres and dining establishments.

But what I remember hearing about every December was his free turkey give-aways at his Honest Ed’s store location.

The last turkey give-away was 2015 because the store had been sold.  It was the 28th annual turkey and fruitcake give-away.  The Mirvish family supplied the yummy Christmas staples to over 1500 families that year.

The line-up that year stretched more than 4 city blocks, and most people had been in line for hours.

The gentleman at the very front of the line had waited in the cold for almost 48 hours to be sure he got a turkey.  “It’s become a Christmas tradition,” he said.  “I would not be able to have a turkey for my family otherwise.”

As if that wasn’t enough, starting on Ed’s 75th birthday, he held an annual birthday bash outside of his giant warehouse store with free food and entertainment and rides for the kiddies.

According to one of Ed’s long-time store managers, “Everyone loved Ed and he loved them right back.  He loved nothing more than to walk around his store meeting and shaking hands with people.”

Another heart-warming Faith in Humanity story of a person who came from very little and gave so very much love and warmth to others.

Kathleen Bolton

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