His amazing rags-to-riches tale has been told many times, but how well do you really know the man Toronto affectionately referred to as “Honest Ed”?

Things you might not have known about Ed Mirvish:

  • During the SARS crisis, Ed Mirvish was instrumental in bringing business back to the city, creating discount hotel and theatre packages for $125 and $85 that sold out in 10 days.

  • Mirvish bought London’s legendary Old Vic theatre for $1.23 million in 1982, later selling it to a theatre trust.

  • The Honest Ed’s store sign has 23,000 light bulbs.

  • Mirvish joked that his introduction to show business came when he was a baby, when Rabbi Moshe Reuben Yoelson, father of Al Jolson, performed his bris.

  • Honest Ed’s was featured in the film The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

  • Mirvish had it out with the now-out-of-business Simpson’s department store after he called his dry cleaner business Simpson’s after partner Yale Simpson. He reportedly told the Simpson’s representatives, “Here’s my Mr. Simpson. Where’s yours?”

  • Ed cashed in his wife Anne’s insurance policy, worth $214, to open Honest Ed’s.

  • At the height of their popularity Ed’s restaurants in the King St. West area served 6,000 meals a night.

  • Mirvish was named a Freeman of the City of London for his contributions to British theatre.

  • 60,000 people attended his 90th birthday party.