An Honest Farewell

Toronto For Everyone, a part of the Centre for Social Innovation, opened up Honest Ed's for one last hurrah. The resulting spectacle entitled aMAZEment brought together a mixture of nostalgia and appreciation for this old building. I can't say I was ever particularly attached to Honest Ed's myself. I went there a few times, especially back when raves were popular and it was a cheap place to buy pacifers and plastic jewellery. Later, I recall buying the Venus razor, again because it was cheaper than elsewhere. Ed Mirvish had more of an impact on me through his investment in theatre. I'll never forget those shows, or that restaurant he used to have down on King, when at the tender age of 9, I attempted to order a grasshopper cocktail at a family dinner. But I do know many people who would spend hours wandering around the shop. As such, it was an odd sort of atmosphere to see it so barren and so hopeless. There was nothing saving it from the condo development that is going to demolish the entire Mirvish Village as we know it.

I entered the maze in its final hours on the last day. It was perhaps made even more eerie by the lack of people around, especially near the end when the areas that had previously been crwoded with people when I began were completely empty.

I entered the maze in its final hours on the last day. It was perhaps made even more eerie by the lack of people around, especially near the end when the areas that had previously been crwoded with people when I began were completely empty.

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"Anamorphicism" by Birdo x Getso. As a "fan" of both Birdo and Getso's street art and graffiti (respectively), I found this installation particularly well articulated. You have to view this from a specific point as everything was designed as somewhat of an optical illusion. To enter, you had to take off your shoes, which was practical and also perfect considering it was in the old shoe department.

"Anamorphicism" by Birdo x Getso. As a "fan" of both Birdo and Getso's street art and graffiti (respectively), I found this installation particularly well articulated. You have to view this from a specific point as everything was designed as somewhat of an optical illusion. To enter, you had to take off your shoes, which was practical and also perfect considering it was in the old shoe department.

"Anamorphicism" by Birdo x Getso. The "Create" side represented the beginning of Honest Ed's with new, in-tact equipment. "Destroy" was the end of Ed's.

"Anamorphicism" by Birdo x Getso. The "Create" side represented the beginning of Honest Ed's with new, in-tact equipment. "Destroy" was the end of Ed's.

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"Life After Utopia" by Alexandra Hong, William Pemulis and Sheraz Khan. This was probably the most interesting installation. It was a participatory exhibit where visitors were able to fill out their own tag, writing their favourite neighbourhood, hidden gem, memory, or greeting. Included were musings on the SkyDome, Queen West, and the Danforth. And of course the joker who hailed Satan.

"Life After Utopia" by Alexandra Hong, William Pemulis and Sheraz Khan. This was probably the most interesting installation. It was a participatory exhibit where visitors were able to fill out their own tag, writing their favourite neighbourhood, hidden gem, memory, or greeting. Included were musings on the SkyDome, Queen West, and the Danforth. And of course the joker who hailed Satan.

Perhaps the most powerful piece was the collective effort of DAIS called "ART1ST". It combined sculpture, painting, drawing, paste-ups, and found objects with music in a very special space. This mural is by MissMe.

Perhaps the most powerful piece was the collective effort of DAIS called "ART1ST". It combined sculpture, painting, drawing, paste-ups, and found objects with music in a very special space. This mural is by MissMe.

"Faded Stories" by Lauren Vaile. Old faded histroical photographs of Toronto landmarks were copied onto old books.

Pasted on the exterior window.

So, you don't really get to talk to a real ghost but it's almost like that.

So, you don't really get to talk to a real ghost but it's almost like that.

In one stariwell a giant blackboard was made and chalk provided for anyone to write or draw anything they wanted. Here a family make their mark.

In one stariwell a giant blackboard was made and chalk provided for anyone to write or draw anything they wanted. Here a family make their mark.

"Lost Sounds of Toronto" by Yonge Street BIA. As the news of venues like Silver Dollar Room closing turned into outrage at Toronto's planning and licensing committees, this installation was born. It was made in the guise of a musicians bedroom to remind Torontonians of the loss of our live music venues. Visitors are welcome to write down their own thoughts and memories about live music in Toronto, toss them into the messy room, and the Yonge Street BIA is archiving them.

"Lost Sounds of Toronto" by Yonge Street BIA. As the news of venues like Silver Dollar Room closing turned into outrage at Toronto's planning and licensing committees, this installation was born. It was made in the guise of a musicians bedroom to remind Torontonians of the loss of our live music venues. Visitors are welcome to write down their own thoughts and memories about live music in Toronto, toss them into the messy room, and the Yonge Street BIA is archiving them.

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Still, we persist.

Still, we persist.

This tag spoke to my soul. I think any Toronto kid who grew up in the 90s feels the same. Queen West lost a great deal of its spirit when Speaker's Corner disappeared, Much was gutted, and one big retail or food chain after another moved in. Gone is the grit and the crowds of skate punks, goths, squeegee kids, Big Bop, and ravers. In came the UGGs and Lululemons.

This tag spoke to my soul. I think any Toronto kid who grew up in the 90s feels the same. Queen West lost a great deal of its spirit when Speaker's Corner disappeared, Much was gutted, and one big retail or food chain after another moved in. Gone is the grit and the crowds of skate punks, goths, squeegee kids, Big Bop, and ravers. In came the UGGs and Lululemons.

This feels like the exact place I paid for those pacifers back in the day.

This feels like the exact place I paid for those pacifers back in the day.

KIZMET32 and WOLFLIKEME.

KIZMET32 and WOLFLIKEME.

A youth choir performs the last music Honest Ed's walls will ever hear.

A youth choir performs the last music Honest Ed's walls will ever hear.

Artist Callum Schaub after his last painting performance.

Artist Callum Schaub after his last painting performance.

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