Ed (Edwin) Mirvish

Edwin Mirvish "Ed," theatrical producer, entrepreneur (b at Colonial Beach, Virginia 24 July 1914, d at Toronto 11 July 2007).

Edwin Mirvish "Ed," theatrical producer, entrepreneur (b at Colonial Beach, Virginia 24 July 1914, d at Toronto 11 July 2007). Born in the US, Ed Mirvish came to Canada in 1923 and became well known for "Honest Ed's" discount department store and the several restaurants he operated in Toronto. Mirvish had long been involved with theatrical production. In 1962 he bought the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and in 1982 he purchased the famous Old Vic Theatre in London, England, which he refurbished and restored to its former splendour. With his son, David, he presented many noteworthy productions at the Old Vic, including the Stratford, Ont, production of The Mikado and Michael Bogdanov's modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts I & II, and Henry V. In 1998 the Mirvishes sold the Old Vic Annex to Britain's Royal National Theatre.

In 1993 he and David opened the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, considered the first free-standing privately financed theatre to be built in Canada. The Princess of Wales housed the Cameron Mackintosh production of Miss Saigon, the most expensive production in Canadian theatre up to that time. Other important productions at the Princess of Wales included Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Buddy, Chicago and the magical clown piece Slava's Snowshow.

Ed Mirvish was a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and an Officer of the Order of Canada. He received honorary degrees from Trent University (1967), the University of Waterloo (1969) and York University (1992). In 1998, he and David received the Olivier Award for their lifetime contributions to British theatre.

See also Toronto Feature: Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Further Reading

  • Edwin Mirvish, How to Build an Empire on an Orange Crate - or, 121 Lessons I Never Learned in School (1993) and There's No Business Like Show Business (But I Wouldn't Ditch My Day Job) (1997).

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