Mirvish Takes Centre Stage

Meeting Chief Mark Saunders at 11 a.m. on October 10 was on David Mirvish’s calendar. The philanthropist, however, had no idea what was on the agenda.

“I was getting calls yesterday from people who were guessing what was taking place and I kept telling them their guesses were as good as mine,” Mirvish said. “Also, the meeting was supposed to take place on the fourth floor of our office and it was suddenly changed to outside the Royal Alexander Theatre.”

Shortly after stepping out to meet the Chief, he was introduced to “Mirvish”, the Toronto’s Police Service’s newest frontline member.

“My goodness, my goodness,” remarked a shocked Mirvish, when he saw the three-year-old Clydesdale for the first time. “He’s such a big and beautiful horse and he has a white nose just like Honest Ed.

Named after the landmark discount store that his late father – Ed Mirvish – opened in 1948, Honest Ed was retired last year after 15 years with the Service.

“That was his dad’s horse and we thought it would be good to unveil Mirvish to continue that legacy,” said Saunders. “One of the privileges I have as Chief is that I get to meet tremendous people that are always looking out for others. The Mirvish family is among that group, specifically David. The measure of success has nothing to do with your stature or who you are, but your ability to give back and look out for others who need assistance. The Mirvishes have done that on countless occasions and this is just a small token of our appreciation for all they have done for the Service and the community at large.”

A man shakes hands with another man in uniform in front of police horses
David Mirvish thanks Chief Mark Saunders for the tribute Photo: Kevin Masterman
A man in a wheelchair shaking hands with a police officer on a horse
In 2004, Ed Mirvish takes a look at Honest Ed, the police horse named after him, with his son David and wife Anne outside his famed Bloor St. store Photo: Handout

Ed Mirvish loved animals and once owned a horse.

“My dad didn’t have a lot of leisure time, but I remember going out to Woodbine Race Track with him about two or three times,” said his 75-year-old son. “He didn’t keep the horse for a long time, but what I remember was the early morning walks at the track and just inhaling the fresh air.”

Mirvish was acquired from an Ontario farm last May.

“What I like about him is that he’s well-mannered and very calm for a new horse who hasn’t done much yet,” said Training Constable Richard Cooper, who joined the Service in 1996 and has been with the Mounted Unit since 2001. “He’s also good with obstacles and when he’s around people.”

The Mounted Unit has 24 horses, many named after the people or organizations that donated them such as Blue Jay from Toronto’s baseball team, past TPS members such as William after Supt. Bill Wardle, historical references such as Vimy Ridge for the WWI battle, or in honour of community, such as Ogichidaa, a name chosen by students of Indigenous heritage.

Officers in uniform on horseback
Mirvish, centre, the newest horse stopped traffic in front of the Royal Alexandria Theatre on King St. W. Photo: Kevin Masterman

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