The infamous discount store located on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor Street in Toronto, Ontario will be shutting down for good on December 31st, 2016. Opening in 1948 and managed by icon Ed Mirvish himself, Honest Ed’s gave Torontonians a sense of humbleness and familiarity with their quirky marketing tactics and out of the ordinary carnival-like atmosphere (Owens. A, 2016). However, what really gave the store its infamy, is their hand painted signs and posters.


(Peake. M, 2015)


Honest Ed’s was well loved for their brightly painted signs, mainly consisting of the colours red, blue and yellow. Being the quickest to paint, the store used a consistent Slash typeface for their signs and posters (The Honest Ed’s Identity System, 2014). The design has played a crucial part in forming the identity of the store, and even Toronto in the 1950’s.

With Honest Ed’s due for closure at the end of the year, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has set up a temporary display at their Bathurst Station to pay homage to the iconic store (Owens. A, 2016). Signs around the station have been replaced with hand painted ones in the style of the discount emporium’s bright coloured posters. The walls of the platform are decorated with clever puns and witty banter, a well-known and well-loved marketing tactic used by the store.

The display is set to last until the store closes down for good, however, the TTC is currently working to make the display a permanent one (Owens. A, 2016). Honest Ed’s visual character was such a necessary part to make the store successful and iconic to Torontonians. Their notable typefaces gave the store a life of its own that thrived in the 1950’s.


Peake, M. (2015, April 9). [Honest Ed’s Signage]. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

Ghosh, A. (2016, November 17). Honest Ed’s Bathurst Station Display [Digital image].

Owens, A. (2016, November 2). TTC pays tribute to Honest Ed’s | The Toronto Observer. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from

The Honest Ed’s Identity System. (2014, March 10). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from