[URBAN NOTE] “Why losing Mirvish Village is like losing a piece of Toronto”
CBC News’ Amanda Margison writes about how the end of Honest Ed’s, far from being limited to the store itself, will also end the adjacent Mirvish Village neighbourhood. Honest Ed’s had created an maintained this unique neighbourhood for decades. The disappearance of Honest Ed’s, and of Mirvish Village, will leave these creators and businesspeople bereft.
A tree-lined side street so unique to Toronto that it became known as a village will empty out next month with long-term tenants bemoaning a loss of an important part of the city’s history.
Mirvish Village, the stretch of Markham Street located in the shadow of the iconic Honest Ed’s building, has been home to art studios and one-of-a-kind shops tucked into brightly painted century homes for decades. But by the end of January, approximately 70 tenants — including those who have worked on the block since the 1970s — will be evicted.
“The magic of walking a few meters from Bloor where the car traffic is heavy and noisy and finding a village, it was only a block long but it really was a village,” said Darrel Dorsk, one of the residents who has received an eviction notice.
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Mirvish Village is part of the 1.8 hectare parcel of land at Bathurst and Bloor Streets that Westbank Development Corporation bought from the Mirvish family in 2013.
Westbank plans to build a new condo and retail project in the area in an effort to “breathe new life into this unique neighbourhood.” Those plans, however, have not been approved by the city and may not be until the spring.
Westbank spokesperson Anne O’Hagan said the plan is to preserve many of the heritage houses on Markham Street, while interspersing townhouses and slim towers that could be up to 29 storeys tall.