Ed Mirvish - Theatres and Restaurants

Theatres and Restaurants

In addition to Honest Ed's, Mirvish was known in Toronto for his theatres and restaurants. His first purchase was the Royal Alexandra Theatre, an Edwardian landmark building slated for demolition. Mirvish purchased the building in 1962 and refurbished it, revitalizing the Toronto theatre scene. To liven up the neighborhood and provide patrons with a place to go before and after performances, Mirvish bought and renovated a nearby warehouse building, which he turned into a restaurant. To cut costs, Ed's Warehouse at King Street West and Duncan Street, served a set meal: prime rib, mashed potatoes and peas. Along the same street, Mirvish later opened Ed's Seafood, Ed's Folly, Ed's Chinese, Ed's Italian Restaurant and Old Ed's, which attracted local residents to the previously neglected King Street area and served 6,000 meals a night. One by one, the restaurants closed down. The last was Ed's Warehouse, which shut its doors in 2000.In 1993 the Mirvishes built the Princess of Wales Theatre, the largest new theatre - and first privately financed theatre - in North America in the span of thirty years. In 2001, Mirvish Enterprises signed a management contract to run the Pantages Theatre, renamed the Canon Theatre, for Clear Channel Entertainment (now Live Nation), which had bought up the assets of the bankrupt theatre company, Livent. The first show under the Mirvish banner was a touring production of Saturday Night Fever.

He and his son David operated Mirvish Productions, which staged major touring theatre productions from Broadway and London and which produced and/or co-produced the Canadian stagings of such recent hits as The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Producers and Hairspray. In 1982 Ed and David Mirvish bought London's Old Vic for GB£550,000 (CAD$1.23 million) and spent four million dollars renovating it. Under their management, The Old Vic was celebrated for winning more awards for its productions than any other single theatre in Britain; It never made money, however, and they sold it to its present owners, a theatre trust, in 1998. Ed Mirvish was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for saving the Old Vic.

On 6 December, 2011 the Canon Theatre was renamed Ed Mirvish Theatre in his honour.

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