Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Canadian Idol Top Seven - Ladies....& T.O's theatre community says Farewell, as the curtain falls on a legend

Well, I WAS going to post from youtube as I usually do, but the jackasses at CTV decided that it was copyright infringement and removed the clips from the site. So, unfortunately, I don't have any to share. BUT, here are my top five choices for the ladies:

*Montana Martin Iles
*Carly Rae Jepsen
*Annika Odegard (I wish I had last night's performance to share with you - she was phenomenal)
*Mila Miller
*Martha Joy

I'll share results tomorrow with y'all - and we'll see if I'm right.

Now, onto some very sad news for those of us in the Toronto theatre community.

This morning, "Honest" Ed Mirvish was pronounced dead at his home at the age of 92. This is what was printed in the CTV news story.

The businessman known as 'Honest Ed', who entertained Toronto for decades with crazy slogans at his legendary discount department store, has died at the age of 92.

A statement from the family says he died early Wednesday at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Born July 24, 1914, in Colonial Beach, Va., Mirvish was just weeks away from his 93rd birthday.

After moving to Toronto in 1923, Mirvish lived with his family above their downtown Dundas Street grocery store.

At 15, Mirvish's father died and he dropped out of school to support his family.

He was best known for his world-famous "Honest Ed's" bargain store on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets.

The store featured discount prices and funny slogans like:
'Welcome, don't faint at our low prices, there's no place to lie down.'
'We don't offer service. We have a slogan--serve yourself and save a lot of money.'

In a tradition that began on his 75th birthday, Mirvish gave away 1,000 free turkeys in his store to shoppers every Christmas.

Toronto Mayor David Miller, who is in Cleveland, said Mirvish's passion for Toronto was second to none.

Miller said in a statement that Mirvish could only be described as a local hero who helped to make Toronto the great city it is.

Toronto councillor and deputy mayor Joe Pantalone described Mirvish as "incredibly influential" and crucial to the development of west-end Toronto.

"He has been a pioneer and an icon. If Ed Mirvish had not been around, Toronto would not be the cosmopolitan and the cultural capital that it," Pantalone told CTV News on Wednesday.

"The city owes a lot to Ed Mirvish, that's why this is a time of sadness but also reflection and appreciation. We would not be who we are if Ed Mirvish had not made his contributions in the economic and cultural field."

Mirvish played a crucial role in expanding Toronto's entertainment scene.

In 1963, Mirvish saved the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto from demolition, spending $500,000 on restoring it.

Mirvish and his son David ran Mirvish Productions, staging major theatre productions around the world.

Mirvish bought and restored the Old Vic in London, England and with his son built the award-winning Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 1993.

His theatres hosted such blockbusters as "The Lion King," "Mamma Mia" and "Miss Saigon."
Former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman said Mirvish's contributions to theatre in Toronto were unsurpassed.

"He was a great Canadian and he was a great Torontonian. He loved this city and he was Mr. Toronto and Mr. Entertainment," Lastman told CTV News.

"He brought live entertainment to Toronto. What a sacrifice, what a deal he had made at that time. He took an old shack and he renovated it a put a fortune into it."

In 1978 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and promoted to Officer in 1987. He was also the recipient of more than 250 awards.

In their statement, the family said funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

I had the pleasure of being part of the Mirvish family for three years as an usher at the Royal Alexandra theatre. Ed and his wonderful wife Ann would frequently drop in to see a show, whether with friends, or by themselves. He always had a kind word for everyone on the staff, from the custodians to the management. He never showed his age, and we always said he wore life well.

Those of us who worked for him knew him as a generous man, and one who would have more than likely, filled in for his employees if there was a shortage. He was hands on with all his ventures, giving way more and more in the later years to his son David.

I wish I had more to say on the man. Truth is, his legacy speaks for us all. Without him, theatre wouldn't be the mainstay of Toronto's entertainment district like it is. Without him, we wouldn't have had the pleasure, honor and opportunity to be the premiere city for the hottest show in North America - Mamma Mia. Without Honest Ed's, many underpriviledged families wouldn't be able to furnish their small apartments, or buy clothing for themselves.

Without Ed Mirvish, Toronto would just have been another spot on the map.

He was a legend. He was loved and admired and respected by all who knew him, and all who knew of him.

What a way to go.

Rest In Peace Ed. You will be sorely missed Mr. Mirvish.

Stay sane inside insanity ~ and never forget your towel.


Meribah said...

I had heard that "Honest Ed" had died, but I didn't really know who he was. Thank you for the info! Hugs. :)

Travis said...

That's a lovely tribute to a man you so clearly admire.

I'm having that video trouble with So You Think You Can Dance too. They have clips on youtube, and they have the html code so you can embed them, but then the clips say no longer available.



With love and pride