Thanks to a project called Toronto For Everyone, as well as over 300 volunteers and 40 artists, Honest Ed’s received the farewell party it deserved.
For four days the Toronto landmark was turned into a creative space for celebrators and die-hard Honest Ed’s fans to enjoy art, dance, film, and community — pretty much everything that makes Toronto great.
According to Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), the brains behind Toronto For Everyone, the idea to throw an Honest Ed’s farewell party was born after “recognizing the need to say farewell to the iconic institution that was a community hub and second home for many in Toronto.”
“We wanted to anchor the event on a message that captured the values of Honest Ed’s to carry forward — which to us was inclusivity and community. Honest Ed’s was truly for everyone, and Toronto has the opportunity also be a place for everyone if it evolves its natural diversity into intentional inclusion.“
The party, which took place from February 23 to 26, hosted an opening night of food and an open bar paired with a live sign painting done by the original Honest Ed’s sign painter himself, Douglas Kerr.
The west building was transformed into a six-floor art labyrinth called aMAZEment, which included film, dance, and art installations draped throughout the vicinity. A “Town Hall for All” was another main event that occurred throughout the four days, which provided a “community hub” that encouraged anyone attending the farewell party to join and contribute to a discussion on city planning and issues such as gentrification and diversity in Toronto.
All proceeds were donated to the Toronto For Everyone Fund, which is a fund dedicated to creating a city “where we all belong, where we can see ourselves–our cultures, our ideals, our history–in the very fabric of our city.” The initiative is modelled after the philanthropy that was reflected in everything that Honest Ed’s achieved and represented.
When asked about what CSI hopes to achieve through hosting this farewell event, the group stressed the importance of community involvement.
“A sense of community, belonging and hope for the future — as our city evolves rapidly, our commitment to inclusion is more important than ever.”