Photos: James Bombales
The site of Toronto’s famous Honest Ed’s department store is once again buzzing with activity. The beloved retailer closed its doors in 2017 to make way for Mirvish Village, a brand new purpose-built rental community by Westbank. Demolition of the building, including many of its iconic signs and marquee lights, took place through 2017 and 2018, followed by framing and forming work on the development’s four-storey parking garage.
Today, the 4.5-acre site at Bloor and Bathurst Street is packed with heavy machinery, scaffolding and five tower cranes as construction on the mixed-use community progresses past grade level.
On the western edge, Markham Street is closed to traffic and pedestrians as many of the homes on the street will be preserved, renovated and incorporated into the new complex. The rear portions of these homes have been demolished and the interior connections have been temporarily sealed off with wood panels.
The facades of several other heritage buildings scattered around the development will also be preserved including the Wrigley Building at 585 Bloor Street West. The three-storey brick frontage, which dates back to 1906, is currently being held up by a bright yellow exoskeleton of steel supports. Similar steel frames are visible at the corner of Bathurst and Lennox Street, where a row of heritage facades will become the southeast gateway into the community.
When construction wraps up in 2022, Mirvish Village will consist of a vibrant mix of rental residences, affordable housing, public spaces and retail amenities. Modern towers designed by Henriquez Partners Architects will be joined by low- and mid-rise buildings as well as a series of micro-towers, which are narrower and have a smaller floorplate than typical buildings in Toronto. Markham Street is also planned to re-open as a pedestrian-friendly street lined with restaurants, boutiques and a new public park.