Honest Eds

Only the floors are crooked!

I had moved to Toronto to attend College. I was a student, working my way through and living hand to mouth. Someone told me about this place where I could stretch my money.

In 2017, they tore it down. Please join me and my special guest, D.G. Kaye, a fellow blogger, writer and Torontonian, while we take a look at what was, and the creature it has become! First a bit of history.

D.G. Kaye – Honest Eds was an iconic landmark to the people of Toronto. It was one of our first bargain basement type structures that sold a lot of low-end stuff with everything from food to vacuums. It was pre, our Dollar Store days, even pre, Bi-way (what was known as a bargain franchise that came along after). Honest Eds was erected in 1948 and was torn down for yet, more condo buildings in 2017.

1950’s – uncredited

The store took up two blocks, facing one of our famous streets, Bloor St., as well as the side street, Markham St. where Mirvish bought up homes to expand the store.  Originally, Honest Eds had the front door of the business on the Markham St. side because the taxes were cheaper than having the entrance on the front of Bloor St. Through the years of buying up surrounding properties, Ed Mirvish eventually extended Honest Eds two blocks long to the corner of Bathurst and Bloor streets, complete with a walkway, known as the Honest Ed Alley.

Resa – I adored walking down Honest Ed Alley, pictured above. I always found street art on my way there. Below, Honest Ed Alley today.

D.G Kaye – Besides the iconic structure, the people who shopped there, and its vast size that grew through the decades, Eds was also known for its great signage, just one of many, ““Welcome, don’t faint at our low prices, there’s no place to lie down”,  full of cleverly written puns as advertising lure, and vast lighting that made one feel like they were entering a carnival – or Christmas.

Resa –  I’ll never forget the first time I saw Honest Eds. It was like a midway without rides. My heart pounded, as my eyes widened. Debby, do you remember the first time you saw Honest Eds? How did you react?

D.G. Kaye – Do I remember? In some of my books I write about my childhood, having to spend every weekend at my grandparents’ house. When I became observant by the age six, I remember passing that corner when my Jewish-Orthodox grandmother (we were not) would take me and my two younger brothers at the time, for a Saturday afternoon longgg walk from her house, just west of Spadina, near Casa Loma, where we’d walk to Bathurst St. and pass Honest Eds as we walked down to see my grandfather at the family business, further south from Bloor.

D.G. Kaye -My grandmother wouldn’t use anything electrical on the Sabbath, so it was a long walk, lol. But my eyes lit up at the glitz and the feeling of amusement park, many Saturdays, it was always a busy corner. I always wanted to go in, but no shopping or money used by her on Sabbath, lol. Only after I moved away from home at 18, did I venture into Ed’s bargain basement prices, a place of everything and anything. Those were golden days.

Above- the way it was just after closing. Below – The way it is now.

Resa – How did you react when you saw the new Honest Eds corner above?

D.G.Kaye – It’s sad to look there when you knew what was there for your whole life. A lot of what’s become of our city makes me sad. It doesn’t have the same anything anymore. Like many other things in life that seem to be fading from our city, it’s another end of an era, the golden days of past. So I’m happy to be reminiscing about it here today with you.

Resa –  Likewise! You mentioned  the funny signage on the building. It sure made me laugh. My fave was “Don’t just stand there buy something!”

D.G. Kaye – I loved their marketing. I didn’t think about the marketing aspect of it when I was younger. But looking back at those hand-made signs, I have to admit how clever the advertising was for back then using puns in their marketing. Very clever and entertaining.

Resa – Markham Street was like a throwback from hippy daze. It was lined with cool cafes, handicraft shops and of course, Mirvish Books, one of Canada’s oldest and most popular independent bookstores.

D.G. Kaye – Exactly. It’s those little nook and cranny places that we knew about and visited that were part of the interest that our city had with its diversity. Places where people could meet other people with similar interests. Now it’s condo mania and people attached to their cell phones. The social aspect has diminished in so many ways.

 Sometimes it’s best not to look back just because of things like this, the big teardown of an era.

Resa – Gate 3 is Markham Street now. There is a house with art on it, but I couldn’t get in. Looks like there are still a few houses left, and looks like they are being torn down.

Resa – It was a crazy up and down labyrinth inside. I always got lost, and I always had fun.  Debby, I feel sad. I have a sense of loss, and not just loss. I have a feeling of impending doom about the future. Am I over reacting? Do I make any sense?

D.G. Kaye – It was like a funhouse lol. I’m 100% with your feeling. It does feel sad because it was a symbol and part of the times, our times. We lived in such a great time, and the city was much different back then. I found the city much more interesting back then. I loved Bloor/Bathurst area through my twenties. They had great authentic international restaurants, especially, a few great Hungarian restaurants I frequented often. It feels like the little great hotspots we both knew in our heydays have been taken over by condo buildings everywhere and big businesses, with now traffic laden streets and crime.

Resa – Debby, I found this art of Honest Ed (dated 2017) in an alley near by.

D.G. Kaye – This is such a great likeness in caricature of Ed.

Resa – Honest Ed began the practice of giving away 1,ooo turkeys every Christmas, in 1989. As a veggie, I was somewhat freaked out. However, the people that lined up were not well heeled. Were you aware that Honest Ed gave away 1,ooo turkeys every Christmas? Now Westbank, the corporation redeveloping the site where Honest Ed’s once stood, is keeping the tradition alive.

D.G. Kaye – I didn’t know that for a long time, and honestly, I think you’ve just reminded me for a second time. I’m glad to hear that he was that charitable. I’m also glad to hear the new corporation is going to keep up that tradition.

Resa – Does that make you feel any better about the redevelopment?

D.G. Kaye – I think it’s a great gesture, but no. I don’t feel that iconic corner should look like more building towers. It was a historic landmark – just like what they did with Maple Leaf Gardens. Don’t get me started. 

Resa – Debby, I found this in the same alley as the Honest Ed art. For those who don’t know, the Annex is the area of Toronto which we have been talking about, where Honest Eds was located.

Resa – Debby, I can’t thank you enough for being here today. I’m not sure if what Honest Ed’s has been replaced with is progress, or a Tower of Babel. I do know that I think it is ugly, unfriendly and that I could not have done this post without you.

D.G. Kaye – Lol Resa, you make me smile. I love your forthrightness. You remind me of me. And it sounds like we both wear our hearts on our sleeves. I think that’s an artist thing. I’m with you – a Tower of Babel. I love your honesty, and your giving me the freedom to write here like you – brutally honest. This was so much fun sharing this experience with you. I’m always in awe of the artwork you’re always discovering. It was my pleasure collaborating with you here at your blog. 🧡

DGKAYE

D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, writing from her life experiences and self-medicating with a daily dose of humour. Live Laugh Love and Don’t Forget to Breathe! {click on her pic and go to her blog!}

Pics taken by Resa – 2017 & 2022 (save the old b&w – uncredited)

Toronto, Canada

The Artists:

A friend gave me a gift from one of the handmade signs inside Honest Eds. Everything was sold. These signs sold for $2.00.  A few months later I saw them framed and for sale at a curio place. $125.00. They sold in a week.

 

Dear John,

Did you know it’s Tweety’s 80th birthday?

I don’t take many shots of cartoon street or alley art.

However, having followed your blog – John Howell for some time, and reading many “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” posts, I could not resist grabbing these 2 mini murals.

Yes, they are a Looney Tunes promo, complete with Q codes to go check out the festivities.

I have blurred them out, as I am not an advertiser.

Then I got to remembering capturing other Looney Tunes characters, that are pure alley and street art.

I managed to find some, but don’t let them into your yard!!!!

I’m going to love you and hug you and kiss you and call you George!

Hey, bet you thought you’d never see Porky Pig en Graffe?

Here’s the heartbreak, I did shoot a Wylie & Roadrunner around 2015, but I can’t find them. I never posted it. So, it’s somewhere on one of my 30 memory sticks, which Foghorn has so eloquently reminded me.

Oh, he wants to say a quick hi, to you. “Hi John! I’m not gonna talk forever. I know when to shut up! So I’m going to stop now. You don’t have to tell me twice. Hey check out my bling! The bat? I live in an alley, you know! But hey, let me stop yakking. Like my bandana? You don’t have to tell me 3 times!”

Pics taken by Resa – 2013 – 2022

Toronto, Canada

Sunflower Power

Each pic of sunflowers has a poem, song, opinion or photo essay behind it. Click on the pic to see what some of our creative friends on WP offer in support of Ukraine.

Above is Holly – House of Heart‘s poem, Sunflowers. She wrote it special, for a post I did on Art Gowns. Behind the “Sunflower Power” image above, is her poem written out.

If you think something about the above looks like Merril -Historical Musings, I agree. Behind this pic you will find her post w/poem “Ghost Light”, written in the wake of – “Russian forces had bombed a theatre in Mariupol that was sheltering many children and elderly civilians.”

Click on the above & you will go to Brian’s blog, Equinoxo 21. See his excellent photo journal essay “Svoboda. Liberté. Freedom”

Tim wrote a parody to “Purple Haze” titled “Ukraine Daze”. It cuts to the chase. The above hazy sunflowers take you to the post/w/video on his blog, Off Center Not Even.

Go to this post on Georgiann Carlson’s blog (Rethinking Life) to read- “Compassion…a poem of sorts”

My addition is Edwin Starr’s “War” (w/lyrics). Bruce Springfield did a heroic version, which is on my current Art Gowns post.

 

A Long Stemmed Rose for Holly

“The rose, a poem of nature” – Aunt Rose Comfort in Baby Doll by: Tennessee Williams

If the rose is a poem of nature, then Holly – House of Heart poems are naturally roses.

One day I found a single long stemmed rose taped to a wall.

I got excited, because I know giving someone a single rose holds meaning. I thought of Holly right away, because of her poetry, and all the fun we’ve had together.

Velvet Tango is an Art Gown I dedicated to Holly. The image of lovers doing the Tango, one with a rose in their mouth, was part of the inspiration for this Art Gown.

I made the gown black for its drama, and decorated it with red lace roses. Here’s a slideshow with more pics of this romantic & dynamic Art Gown!

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Then came drawing the characters based on Holly, that we made up together.

It began with Boogapony Holly, a GoGo Dancer who “Ponies on down” in front of alley art. Then Princess Blue Holly, Rene Rosso & AGM Holly.

Above is RR in a net and roses gown. Below is a slideshow with a mere smattering of all the drawings of Holly characters I’ve had so much fun with.

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I spent good time scouring books and internet for songs, poems, sayings or anything about/or with roses. Everything was so dramatic! Hey, we’re having FUN here with all our Holly characters! Then it came to me. The Hollies!

Cool enough, all this drawing has lead to more characters and more drawing. I’ve even made some $$$ with my new found ability.

Thanks Holly!

Pics of the rose taken by Resa – June 22, 2021

Toronto, Canada

The Artist:

Beach Walk Reflections

It’s my great pleasure to announce a new blog by Frank. His previous blog,  A Frank Angle, where he announced his new blog on October 13, was a fave of mine. His new blog, Beach Walk Reflections premiers on October 20, 2020. (20/20/20?… Is that on purpose?) Here’s an early sneak peek at one of his upcoming posts.

Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay

I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Ever think about seeds? They seem so simple at a glance – even on closer examination. We typically think of a hard, thin outer shell with a softer inside.

On the other hand, this seemingly plain object is the beginning of something new – something beautiful – something useful – a green plant that can be as simple as grass or are grand as a large tree.

Earth’s annual regeneration of seeds for release (many in the fall) – possibly covered by winter snows – yet ready for renewal in the spring so the cycle can repeat – all this with its goal of perpetuating the species.

I think of the farmer preparing the land before planting the seeds. Whether scattering the seeds randomly or planting them in straight rows with distinct spacing, time delivers something that belongs to all of us – bountiful crops and flowers.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

As I walk, trees are sparse – only found on the grounds of some condominiums – although they are naturally found a short distance away from this beach. I think about a forest. Somewhere in that forest’s history, there was a time of one tree – the first tree. One tree that came from a seed. From that one tree came other trees – each coming from a seed.

I think about the sizes and shapes of seeds – from the tiniest orchid seed to a type of coconut containing the largest seed – shapes as squares, oblong, angular, triangles, round, egg-shaped, bean-shaped, kidney-shaped, discs, and spheres. Some seeds with lines and ridges – others perfectly smooth – plus in a variety of colors, and some even speckled.

A seed has three components – an outer protective coat, the embryo for growing into a new plant, and the food source giving the embryo and young plant its initial food source for growth – all aspects for increasing a chance for survival.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Ever notice how leaves sprout early from a seed? Yes, leaves for producing food for the youthful, growing plant because the initial food source is small.

Seeds hold the potential to produce something new because they contain hope and promise for something new. But not all plants use seeds for reproduction. For instance, mosses or ferns do not  – but seed plants are the ones that dominate the plant world.

This causes me to think about our fertility – that is, the seeds within us. The promises that we hold that can produce a bountiful yield.

Interesting that the sperm of human males are called seeds, but in the plant world, seeds are something produced after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Seeds are mobile, so they must have adaptations to move them around – a method of dispersal. Some have wings to be carried by the wind. Some have barbs, burrs, or hooks to attach to fur, feathers, or even human clothing to be dropped elsewhere. Some are buoyant so moving water can transport them. Others are surrounded by fleshy fruit that will be eaten, therefore the seeds can be exposed and deposited elsewhere for potential growth.

Image by Ortrun Lenz from Pixaby

I remember the large oak trees at my previous home. Each producing a bountiful supply of acorns – but not the same number each year. Each acorn with a coat, an embryo, and food supply. Each acorn is the potential for a new oak tree. However, all those acorns from one tree – a culinary feast for squirrels preparing for winter – so I wonder how many of all those acorns will yield their acorns in time.

Seeds are that structure we plant in fertile soil and associate with terms as vigor, viability, dormancy, and germination. Seeds are also a source for food, oils, cooking ingredients, flavorings, jewelry, and even deadly poisons.

Besides a simple design yielding a complex adult, the seed is also a useful metaphor.

People are hidden seeds waiting to become viable vessels of knowledge. Because every seed has the potential for a significant result, seeds are a symbol for the potential that is in each of us for a positive future – a power of hope and possibility. Teachers hope to plant a seed in students – a seed that develops over time into something valued by others and society – their role in cultivating humanity.

Seeds are the ideas coming to us from thinking. The something that initiated a thought process that leads to personal action for improving life. The seeds of discovery lie in the knowledge of determination through the human spirit.

I think about how each of us has a bright side and a dark side – the good seeds and the bad seeds. Seeds are a symbol for laying the groundwork for future development as planting the seed – but some use planting the seed for promoting negative feelings or a downfall.

Religions rely on the seeds of faith while politics prefers manipulating the seeds for selfishness.

A heart contains seeds of love that are waiting to sprout a new life with that special someone.

I think about how entrepreneurs use “seed money” for starting a new business. I also remember during my youth using “bird feed” or “chicken feed” as a term for a small amount of anything – something paltry or minuscule in amount.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Seeds – that simple, interesting, incredible, and successful biological design found in nature that plays a large role in human life. I don’t recall what triggered thinking about seeds on this day, but it has been an interesting mental journey and exercise as I walk. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Although the first post goes up on the 20th, the blog is up to follow at: https://beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com

While there, find links to Follow on: Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter!

** Note – Frank sent me the video for this post. I selected the pics for this post from  pixaby.com. Hopefully, Frank will like what I chose. **

Live from Manchester – U.K.

Direct from the offices of Professional Moron

Every trick in the book,

All that he can find,

To make you laugh so hard you cry, and blow your mind,

Yet, just when you think you have his hysterical humour number down, he dazzles you with: a serious in depth book, movie, music, artist, video game or sports review!

I, the Queen of Hearts, hereby charge the esteemed editor of Professional MoronMr. Wapojif, (aka ‘Oron, so nicknamed by Resa & ‘Olly – ‘Ouse of ‘Eart)

with recipe crimes involving Marmite and Bovril!

Don’t let his charm and smooth talking ways make you pick any number, say a two,

He’ll always have an Ace up his sleeve!

You never know what you’ll find in an alley. Look, I found a paste-up of a promo shot of The Beach Boys taken in Manchester Sq. London, 1964, a mere 4 hours from Manchester U.K.

‘Oron, don’t go anywhere! In honour of this startling happening, ‘Olly has selected this Beach Boys song, especially for you.

Pics taken by Resa – September 4, 2020

Toronto, Canada

The Artists (at least one of them):

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