An open question has been having in the air for quite some time: what will happen to Honest Ed’s sign?
But the uncertainty will soon come to an end as innovators express the fate of the sign will be decided by the end of the week. The well recognized sign was a landmark discount store found in Toronto. It was named for its owner Ed Mirvish, was established the store in 1948 and had been seeing to the smooth running of the store for 60 years, until his passing.
In 2013, the property was sold to Westbank Corporation and recently has been going through some uproar as real estate designer Gregory Henriquez who is to lead the team remodel the store stated that the sign is “actually a bunch of incandescent bulbs, which are environmentally not so sustainable.” Although Westbank Corporation is in one accord with the description of the sign made by the designers, however, what should be done with the sign has still not been decided.
The sign which was installed in 1984 has 23,000 light bulbs but this does not make it legacy. The sign had been a part of the agreement made between David Mirvish and the designer on the 1.8 hectare property on Bloor and Bathurst streets. According to Westbank design consultant Ian Duke, the sign although it is old, it has become one of the few images that makes Toronto to be recognized globally. But this does not take away the fact that the sign which has been around for 30 years is old and poses as a risk to people passing beneath it.
But the sign is under scrutiny as to what should be done in regards to its present state and what could possibly happen if were to be taken down and remodeled. This crucial task is to be conducted by Chris Borgal; principal architect of Goldsmith Borgal and Company has over 40 years practical knowledge about such complex restoration projects. For Borgal iconic signs are very important and should be handled with great serious as many people used to seeing it take pride in such signs.
With this being said, the city councilors had already been receiving petitions in regards to the sign. Vida Setoudeh a resident pleads for the sign to be saved as it is the city’s icon and many people have great memories and experiences of it. Mark Garner, CEO of the Younge Downtown BIA also spoke with Westbank proposing to take the sign for a suggested neon sign museum. He went on to add “if no one is preserving it, are you kidding me”? We will keep it in our store until we come up with a resourceful way to make use of it. It can’t just be destroyed.”
However the opinion of Torontonians will be received but under the suggested restoration, 47 buildings are to be erected, including a 28- storey tower on Bathurst St.