On Monday, when developer David Mirvish announced the sale of the iconic Honest Ed’s discount store in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, speculation began immediately over its future owners and usage.
Yesterday, the Toronto Star reported that the deal will mean an even bigger change for the neighbourhood, as the sale also includes Mirvish Village, an eclectic enclave of independent shops and restaurants that surrounds Honest Ed’s.
Among the stores affected is The Beguiling, a comics retailer that has been a mecca for graphica lovers since 1987, and its companion shop, Little Island Comics, dedicated to younger readers. Owner Peter Birkemoe told the Star: “I always felt that development of this area was inevitable, but I held out hope that it would be the Mirvishes undertaking it.”
Originally a residential area, Mirvish Village has a long history with Toronto book lovers. In 1967, “Captain” George Henderson opened Memory Lane, considered to be Canada’s first comics bookstore, at 594 Markham St. In 2008, architectural book retailer Ballenford Books closed its doors after 29 years in business, and from 1974 to 2009, David Mirvish had his own eponymously named bookstore, which specialized in visual arts titles.
Mirvish, who says he’s focusing on developing properties elsewhere in the city, says the affected businesses will have three years to find new locations.