"We are coming together as a community to pay homage to the iconic institution which truly was a place for everyone. And then, look to the future of Toronto, and our opportunity to take a stand for inclusion."
Here's a bit of some of the amazing conversations, beautiful art installations and fun that took place this weekend. It was a send-off like no other.
Thursday February 23: Community Hub
A brilliant discussion about gentrification and displacement in the city, part of the free programming that took place in community hub this weekend. Honest Ed's was more than a kitschy shopping experience and represented an affordable space and community hub. Panelists and attendees discussed these notions and what comes next to keep neighbourhoods inclusive and avoid displacement.
Friday February 24: aMAZEment Immersive Art Maze
As Honest Ed says, "Come in and get lost" and that is truly what I did (poetically on purpose or just actually lost is up for debate). The 6 floors of Honest Ed's transformed into an art maze with installations, photography, murals, theatre, dance and more! I was obsessed.
The below mural is by Toronto artists Ness Lee and Tessar Lo and doubles as an interactive art canvas. Upon first glance you don't realize that you can interact with the mural and can create your own drawings by rubbing crayons over raised illustrations on the mural.
Next, I went behind the curtain to find the DAIS installation. All of the displayed signs are collected from actual protests in Toronto.
Life After Utopia by Alexandra Hong, William Pemulis and Sheraz Khan shares memories and hopes for the future. "The artists hope their piece creates a conversation about the stories, experiences and places that connect Toronto".
"I miss when Sonic Boom was in the Annex because those days I would meet friends there before we went to see live music and we didn't have as many worries back in those days"
"I'm from Trinity Bellwoods and I want to the you that Trinity Bellwoods Park is not always bustling with people and that you can experience quietude if you visit during off-hours"
"I hope Parkdale never changes because I love being able to eat four different kinds of roti on one strip of Queen"
The Honest 6ix Residency created giant deconstructed signs mirroring the iconic storefront made from foam, hand-painted and then lit with marquee-style lightbulbs. The detail and texture is incredible.
Street artists BirdO and Getso created this space to explore the birth and death of Honest Ed’s. This was probably my favourite installation! These artists sourced all the props (like a bicycle wheel, ladders, mannequin and cat statue) from Honest Ed's after it closed.
There were so many other great pieces and performers! If you want to see the full line up from aMAZEment click here.
Saturday February 25: Bargain Bash
The official farewell party was unreal. It featured a speakeasy, a swing band, multiple spaces with DJs, art, drink & food stations, a photo booth, dancers on stilts, a Jameson bottle glowstick ring toss and some of the best most outrageous fashion.
There couldn't have been a better tribute/ send-off to this iconic place.
If you need more Ed click here to read 25 pieces of advice from Honest Ed Mirvish
Farewell Honest Ed's