Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The signage at Bathurst station is getting the Honest Ed’s treatment for the rest of 2016.
Honest Ed’s, Toronto’s most revered discount store (founded by the local legend Ed Mirvish), will close on December 31 after nearly 70 years of business. As a tribute, the nearest subway station is giving itself the Honest Ed’s design treatment.
For the rest of 2016, Bathurst station will be covered in signage that pays tribute to the hand-painted prices and puns synonymous with the store’s image. With a TTC-themed twist, riders will come across slogans including “TTC is the best value, Landsdowne,” “Give us a Finch, and we’ll take you a mile,” and “Been there, Dundas.” They’ll also have to navigate their way around the station with Honest Ed’s-style directional signs—a radical departure from the austere sans-serif ones seen throughout the TTC.
While charming, it’s rather strange to see a public entity pay such a thorough tribute to a private business. The gesture, however, seems to have hit a soft spot for nostalgic Torontonians who have seen the city change dramatically after decades of growth and new wealth. Brad Ross, the TTC’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications, received a deluge of responses on Twitter asking to make the transformation permanent after he shared photos of the Bathurst makeover earlier this week. Ross says there will eventually be a permanent tribute to the store inside the station.
The site where Honest Ed’s now stands is slated to become part of a mixed-use development known as “Mirvish Village” in the coming years.