Category Archives: Built form

* Construction Update

January 2019

“Meanwhile, work is getting going on the second phase, set to last for 18 months total. The second phase of construction includes the installation of footings and foundations, waterproofing, and the start of work on the central plant for a “Neighbourhood Energy System.” The third and final phase of construction will last 9-to-10 months, consisting of above-grade forming, installation of precast and glass exterior finishes, interior works, and work on landscaping, a new park, and a market.”

*City Planning’s final report on the Westbank development proposal

Please note this report will be considered at TEYCC on April 4, 2017.  View the agenda item here :



*City Planning Heritage Recommendations – Mirvish Village Buildings – MVTG response

This item was adopted without amendment at the Toronto Heritage Preservation Board, March 23. 2017

To see the letter of support from Harbord Village Residents’ Association, click here : Mirvish Village heritage designation


a coalition of four local residents’ associations

REGARDING: Toronto Preservation Board – March 23, 2017.

 The Mirvish Village Task Group – a coalition of the four, local residents’ associations that border on the intersection of Bloor and Bathurst Streets – would like to thank Heritage Preservation Services for their extensive work and attention to detail on this file.

The conservation of 585 Bloor Street and the buildings on Markham Street, in situ, in full volume including the roof-lines, is commendable. The recognition of the historic value of the adaptive reuse of vernacular, domestic architecture is encouraging. We hope that this sets a higher standard for any future development proposals.

On Bathurst Street we are heartened by the preservation of the group of five buildings constructed by T.W. Wilson in 1891. However, we would also like to see the three other Wilson buildings – 760, 758, 756 Bathurst – designated and protected to ensure the rhythm, scale of the storefronts and historic context of the block. As one of the earliest commercial intersections in our area, we think the heritage buildings along Bathurst Street warrant more recognition and conservation.

Preserving these twenty-four buildings out of the twenty-seven buildings cited as having heritage value by the Four Corners Study is very much appreciated and goes a long way to honouring this much-storied and beloved part of Toronto.

Best Regards,

Donna McFarlane


* Westbank’s third proposal Viewed from Street Level

The three images above are of Markham Street, facing north, as viewed from Lennox Street. (Note the mature trees in these renderings don’t exist.)


above: Corner of Markham and Lennox, facing east (towards Bathurst Street) from ground level on Lennox Street

above: the proposed east-west lane viewed from the opposite side Bathurst Street (B streets condo building) 

above: Corner of Bathurst and Lennox as viewed from the sidewalk on Lennox  east (in front the Central Tech swimming pool)

above: the Corner of Bloor and Bathurst as viewed from street level, looking south. B Street condos are on the left.

above: the corner of Bloor and Markham as viewed from the north side of Bloor

above:  the view from ground level in the backyards on Palmerston Blvd.

above: the view from street level on Palmerston Blvd. 

NOTE the renderings above were contributed by Roy Sawyer and are based on Westbank’s. Only the view point has been altered. 

FOR COMPARISON to Westbank’s renderings from an aerial view point click hereviewSupportingDoc (5) (1)

* Photo History – Good-Bye to Mirvish Village & Honest Ed’s

1943 — Ed and Anne Mirvish opened The Sports Bar, a small women’s clothing store near Bathurst and Bloor streets. The monthly rent for the five-metre wide store was $55.

1946 — The store underwent its first expansion, after the Mirvishes purchase a stretch of buildings on Bloor. The shop was renamed Anne & Eddie’s.

1948 — After a further expansion into the adjacent stores, the shop began to sell general household items and was again renamed, this time to Honest Ed’s.

Above: Honest Ed’s 1948

above: parade early 1950s before Mirvish owned Markham Street

1952 — The Mirvishes purchased their first property on Markham Street, directly behind their Bloor Street façade. They quickly proceeded to purchase seven more homes on Markham Street.

1958 — The Honest Ed’s store expanded west to Markham Street, encompassing 6,000 square metres of retail space.

1962 — After plans to build a parking lot along Markham were scuttled, Anne Mirvish established the area as an artists’ enclave, and moved her own studio to the house on corner of Markham and Lennox Streets, most recently occupied by the Victory Café. Christened Mirvish Village, Markham Street evolved into an eclectic mix of galleries, artists’ studios, restaurants, book stores and other independent retail businesses.

above: “Totem pole” on Markham Street, 1967

1968 : residents of Palmerston Blvd won a ruling at OMB to restrict restaurants on the west side of Markham. The bylaws governing Markham businesses have changed many times over the years.

Art Fair on Markham Street (Mirvish Village) 1969.

above : mural painters on Markham Street (Mirvish Village) 1969

1974 — In Mirvish Village, David Mirvish opened an art bookstore, DM BOOKS  as an outgrowth of David Mirvish Gallery.  Since the 1960s the gallery had exhibited abstract artists and colour field painters and sculptors including Jack Bush, Frank Stella, Anthony Caro, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Tim Scott, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons and Milton Avery.

For more information on the history of Mirvish Village see “A Village Grows on Markham Street” by clicking here:  :

above : The Bathurst flank of Mirvish Village, part of “Blackhurst”.  To see more about Blackhurst click here:

above: Honest Ed’s pharmacy window, 1975

above: the much debated, candy-coloured,  “Brotherhood Totem Pole” in Mirvish Village ,1977 . 

1977 advertisement for Honest Ed’s

To see other Honest Ed’s Bargain flyers :

1970 to through 1980s.   DM Books sold the Sunday New York Times at a discount, ran weekly specials on new and overstocked books, and featured hard-to-find material on art, design and literature as well as cookbooks and travel books – always with an aim to sell good quality at good value in the tradition of the parent store, Honest Ed’s. When The Museum for Textiles was a part of Mirvish Village – before it moved to its permanent home on Chestnut Street – the DM Books installed textile exhibitions.

Five Cent Daze at Honest Ed’s

Five Cent Daze at Honest Ed’s

above; facade of Honest Ed’s in the 1970s before the “big sign” 

1980 — “West Ed’s Annex” viewed from Bathurst Street looking north during reconstruction of the streetcar tracks

1984 — The Honest Ed’s store completed its last expansion, adding another 5,000 square metres of retail space, spanning  Markham Street to the east and Bathurst Street to the west. The Honest Ed’s sign, hailed as the largest marquee outside of Las Vegas, featuring 23,000 flashing light bulbs, was completed the same year.  Popular TV star, Mr. T , visited Honest Ed’s for a book signing, one of many in a long line of promotional stunts orchestrated by Ed Mirvish.

New sign under construction, 1984

above: customers await the store opening under the the scaffolding to erect the new sign.

above: “new” facade of Honest Ed’s in the 1984. For more on the relocation of the sign to the Mirvish Theatre on King Street, click here:

above: 1984. Crowds on the street following the book signing by the popular Mr T. 

Above : crowd outside Honest Ed’s await the annual Santa Claus parade along Bloor Street.

1987 — Ed Mirvish hosted the store’s first turkey giveaway, a tradition that would continue every Christmas until 2015.  For more background :

2007 — One of Toronto’s most colourful characters, Honest Ed Mirvish, died at 92 years old.  A memorial was placed in the store’s front window.

Ed Mirvish died in 2007.

2009 –– A unique enterprise, David Mirvish Books, closed. See:

2013 – Anne Mirvish,  artist and contributor to the success of Mirvish Village and Honest Ed’s died at 92 years old.

Honest Ed’s and the surrounding Mirvish Village were put up sale for (an unconfirmed) $100 million. In October, the property was purchased by Vancouver developer, Westbank Corporation.

above: Honest Ed’s window display

closing 2016

2017 – Westbank submitted to Toronto City Planning the third version of their proposal to develop the site.

You can view BlogTO’s photos of “abandoned” Mirvish Village here :

For more about An Honest Farewell for Ed’s see:

For the new addresses of the businesses formerly located in Mirvish Village see

To watch the Toronto Star’s coverage of the removal of the Honest Ed’s sign click here:

** A special thank you to VINTAGE TORONTO on Facebook for their fantastic on-line archives of photographs.



* Westbank’s Third proposal to redevelop Mirvish Village and Honest Ed’s

On January 16, 2017 further revisions to the application were submitted. When compared to the May 19, 2016 plans, the January 16, 2017 plans have further reduced the proposed density, made additional adjustments to the height and mass of towers and street-adjacent buildings, increased the size of the proposed public park space, incorporated additional heritage buildings, and incorporated changes to the pedestrian environment and parking and loading areas.

The proposed development includes a number of mid-rise and tall buildings, ranging in height from 28-storeys on Bathurst Street, and stepping down toward the south and west. A total of 23 of the 27 listed heritage buildings on the site are being retained and incorporated into the development.

The revised proposal comprises a total of 804 residential units in 59,883 square metres of residential floor area, and 15,253 square metres of new non-residential uses. The overall density of the proposal is FSI of 5.69 times the site, inclusive of retained heritage buildings, and 5.29 times the area of the site, exclusive of retained heritage buildings.

Access to underground parking is proposed from Lennox Street. A total of 480 underground vehicle parking spaces, 14 underground loading spaces, and 1038 bike parking spaces are proposed on site.

The application also proposes 1150 square metres of on-site parkland and a new 440 square metre day nursery.


Renderings : viewSupportingDoc (5) (1)

Other supporting documents

See all three of Westbanks’s submissions here: