The very charming personality behind Honest Ed’s is Ed Mirvish himself. Ed Mirvish was born on July 24th, 1914 in Colonial Beach, Virginia and moved with his family from Washington, DC to Toronto, Ontario in 1924. He married his wife Anne in 1941.
After trying his hand at running several different businesses, including a dress shop and a cleaner’s, he moved on to a small bargain store which he opened in 1948, using his wife’s $212.00 insurance policy. He is renowned for his ability to gain free publicity, doing such things as riding an elephant to hiring protestors to picket his own store.
His annual birthday party has become legendary, with the attendance each year of nearly 50,000 people, including the city’s mayor and police chief. During the party there is plenty of free food, gifts and entertainment in the “Mirvish village” area surrounding his store.
Ed Mirvish also owns several theatres, including the Royal Alexandre theatre, the Princess of Wales theatre and the Old Vic theatre in London, England. Together with his son David, they operated Mirvish Productions.
In 1978 Mr. Mirvish was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Toronto and the Canadian Nation. He was promoted to Officer in 1987.
Mr. Mirvish passed away on July 11, 2007 at the age of 92.