Subway Station Art Installation : Tribute to Honest Ed’s at Bathurst Stop

As mentioned in my previous post, Andrea and I checked out an art installation while we were out on Saturday. This is what we saw : the signs at Bathurst Subway Station temporarily given the look and feel of the iconic signs that once graced the walls and displays at Honest Ed’s Department Store.

After running for 68 years, Honest Ed’s, located kitty corner from the station, on the south-eastern corner of Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street, closed down for good on December 31, 2016.

That whole block is undergoing major change (as discussed in this post from when I was there in the summer), so Honest Ed’s will be demolished soon.

Personally, while I understand that it was time for this change to happen, I have a soft-spot for the old place, and felt a pang of sorrow as I rode by it in the streetcar on Saturday, seeing it with its windows all papered over.

^ All closed up and ready to go. ^

I wrote a dedicated story about this fun and economical store back in 2012, when it was very much still in business, so if you’d like to see what it was all about, including pictures of the inside, you can find that here.

Here are a few of photos from that post to give you some context for this art installation, showing samples of the hand-painted signs that were throughout the huge, multi-level store. The often-humorous signs were very much a part of the place. There’s a good 5 minute video all about them and the artists who created them here – Honest Ed’s Sign Painters, if you’d like to know more about the history there.

^ These three photos taken in September, 2012 ^

As a tribute to its “forever” neighbour — the store had already been there for 17 years when Bathurst Station was built in 1966 — it got a make-over.

To quote this Toronto Star article about the switch-up, “The idea for the subway makeover came to TTC deputy CEO and chief customer officer, Chris Upfold, about a year ago. Upfold lives in the area and uses the station regularly.

‘We just wanted to pay tribute to the store and the Mirvish family,’ said Upfold. ‘I think that people recognize the role that a store like Honest Ed’s plays in Toronto. Everyone at some stage has been in there . . . it’s a great opportunity to show how proud we are.'”

Up near the toll booth there are a bunch of the puny-statements that Honest Ed’s was known for, incorporating different stations on Toronto’s subway network …

^ By chance, I happened to get a photo of this saying, as it hung in the store in 2012. ^

The signs were scheduled to have been taken down on the day the store closed on the last day of 2016, but they were still in place when I was there on the 7th of January, so maybe you still have a chance to see them for yourself in real-life. You can see most of them from inside the station, so no need for a second fare payment.

Thanks very much for reading. I hope you have a great weekend,
xo loulou

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3 Responses to Subway Station Art Installation : Tribute to Honest Ed’s at Bathurst Stop

  1. Julie says:

    Truly the end of an era! It’s sad that it closed down, but I can imagine how hard it is to still attract customers considering how much the retail landscape has changed. I hope they are saving the sign and putting it somewhere! Reminds me of Sam the Record Man, the same sort of nostalgia.

  2. Norma says:

    I’ve never seen the store but I love the signs. What a fun tribute. x

  3. Hena Tayeb says:

    great pictures, interesting story.. thanks for sharing.

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