I Scan The Horizon For You, Mimi

Mimi Braidberg, on the last day of Mimi's Restaurant, September 27, 2007.

Her given name, in the memorial announcement for the Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel, was Miriam Braidberg. But everybody knew her as “Mimi“.

But there it is in the announcement: Miriam (Mimi) – April 1956 to July 2010. Suddenly at home on Sunday, July 4th. Dear daughter of Pearl and the late David. Beloved sister and sister-in-law of Ann and Gary Posen, and Shelly and Gerry Merovitz. Wonderful aunt to Sara and Russell Posen Johnston, and Leslie and Daryl Parat. Former colourful proprietor of Mimi’s Restaurant and recognized as Toronto’s Blintz Queen. A graveside service will be held at Holy Blossom Memorial Park, 40 Brimley Road. (south of Eglinton) at 1:00 p.m. Shiva, 3600 Yonge Street, Suite 424 on Thursday evening only.

And when I say everyone knew her, I mean practically anyone who was in a Toronto band in the 80s and 90s, knew Mimi’s Restaurant.

Mimi, who died way too young, at 54, from a heart attack Sunday, used to feed us most mornings back in the day. Her restaurant – oddly set in the lower right side of the Oak Leaf Steam Baths building at 218 Bathurst – was our clubhouse, our breakfast club, the place where we regaled each other in band stories, commiserated over petty band jealousies and most of all bathed in the approbation of the beret wearing chef behind the counter, hitting play on the VCR clips of Pee Wee Herman, stirring the chili, slamming down the challah toast and pouring out the second, third, fourth and fifth cups of coffee – all without letting the joint fall from her lips (well not always, but I have seen her do it countless times).

She loved the boys in the bands, and was an early supporter of Blue Rodeo, for whom she named her Chili, and would always decorate her walls with posters for gigs by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, she always swooned when tall drink of water Brian Connelly, guitarist from the “Shad cats” (her nickname for the band), came in. Russell De Carle of Prairie Oyster was “Woofy”. She loved Stan Ridgway, Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, Kevin Quain, Fred Eaglesmith, Leonard Cohen, Bobby Wiseman, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, and more Bob Dylan. She got to know Jonathan Richman, whom she lovingly called “Jo-Jo” and whom I think she wanted to fatten up like only a Jewish mother would. And it would have been easy to do that, too, what with all the high calorie, high carb delights she was dealing in. The BR Chili, the New Wave-os Rancheros, the Corn Beef Hash and Eggs, the Challah French Toast or her world famous Blintzes. Set a spell, what’s your hurry. Eat. I’ll make you a plate.

Before she was the matron of the musicians morning  scene, Mimi was a house mate. In the 80’s, I used to live in a house with her and three other people (one of whom was musician Chris Houston), at Bathurst and Richmond, just south of where she would eventually open the restaurant. I remember the week she opened, we all went over to see what she’d done to the place (which previously been run by the bass player from local art rockers The Government).

Mimi made it her own, a combination East Village art house, Betsey Johnson kitsch couture and teenagers bedroom. Plastic toys, a Pee Wee Herman doll, photos of Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood and El Vez on the walls.

It became my morning routine to stumble up the street and plant myself on the counter.  Soon enough her nine counter seats and three four-seater booths were packed with various Cowboy Junkies, a few Prairie Oyster folks, The Skydiggers, Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy, or Bobby Wiseman and Jane Siberry (we always wondered if her songs “Mimi On The Beach” or “Waitress” had been inspired by her).

As her reputation grew, Mimi’s was a key location in the local alternative music scene, kind of like a Toronto breakfast equivalent of CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City. Oh bands didn’t gig there, we just got our heads together there and rapped with Mimi, who would cue up cool songs on the boom box, or VHS tapes on the little portable TV above the pie fridge.

Mimi in action (with furry friend) behind the counter.

It felt a little exclusive at times and often I was embarrassed when Mimi played me as a favourite ahead of the people in line, but it was her own private club and be damned if she didn’t like you. She loved originals who were genuine, like Al Mader (“The Minimalist Jug Band”) or Jaymz Bee from the Look People, Moe Berg from The Pursuit Of Happiness. Meryn Cadell. Mary Margaret O’Hara. If you were in, you were in. Luckily, she liked me, and even though I was never famous, it didn’t matter. We got each other. Not that we ever saw it as Studio 54 or anything, but Mimi’s smile was the velvet rope that let you know if you deserved one of her three booths or a coveted spot on the counter.  It wasn’t about what THEY thought, it was all about her own exquisite taste. All I knew was, phew, I was in. It felt good. We talked about tunes while she stirred the Blue Rodeo Chili. She started doing Cafe Au Lait when I mentioned that I preferred it (Coincidence? probably, but I felt like she was doing it for me). Also, I don’t think I ever paid full price for a meal ever.

I’ll never forget one time when I thought I might have an ulcer and my doctor said I should lay off the fried foods for a while. Mimi went out and bought a box of Cream of Wheat and kept it behind the counter just for me.  She was so stoked when Lyle Lovett came in, even if she was pissed that he asked her to extinguish the joint while he ate. She also loved the lady musicians, like saint Joni Mitchell, kd lang, Nina Hagen, and especially Rickie Lee Jones (I think she cooked for her).

And she loved Laura Nyro, and played me lots of her music. Hey, I seem to recall that Mimi flew to New York and saw one of Laura’s last shows…

She discovered Neko Case and Carolyn Mark long before many of us. When my wife Liza and I were leaving Toronto in 1997, we asked Mimi to make some food for the party at the Horseshoe and she lovingly complied. When I got fired from one of my day jobs, I headed right over to Mimi’s and we talked about what the hell I was gonna do next. She loved music. I loved her like a sister and I know she loved me too.

Any great scene runs on the passion of a few committed souls, and Mimi put more than food in our bellies, she put passion into her life and, by example, inspired us all.

If  Toronto was London, I’d vote for one of those blue plaques on the side of her old building. We’ll never forget Mimi, and whether you play guitar or just play your iPod, the next time you play music, send some out to her soul, she loved that.

PS – it’s really sad but I just went to her Myspace page, which she updated up until only last week. On there somewhere, she had shared a few thoughts about having hung up her apron in 2007:

“I can’t say I miss the restaurant so much, but I do miss my Monday Hockey Boys, and feeding my favorite musicians when ever they hit town. I feel so naked not being able to offer breakfast favors in exchange for CD’s and concert seats, my goodness y’all have no idea how far a girl can go on a little good french toast karma! I’m not sure where I’ll end up next, but hope to bump into you soon, the good lord willing and if the creek don’t rise!”

74 Responses to “I Scan The Horizon For You, Mimi”

  1. Thank you Paul!

  2. a wonderful tribute. i never met her but remember you taking me and the CBC crew to her place for your piece on what you love about Toronto. You have painted a vivid picture of what a wonderful woman and friend Mimi was to you and many others. thanks!

  3. This really made me sad…I never once went to Mimi’s – I was intimidated by it! It seemed like one of the coolest places in the world to a kid who wandered Queen Street amazed by what was going on. Now I wish I’d gone in and had some breakfast.

  4. Am I you or are you me? Says:

    That’s a lovely tribute. I wish I’d been in the in crowd. But I was in the out crowd. And it pissed me off frankly. It seemed like the perfect place for me. Maybe I wanted it too much. Maybe she read my desperation. I”ll tell you one thing, your tribute makes me hungry. And I wish the Crest was still open on Spadina. Or Barney’s. Or Stubby’s. Or somewhere like Mimi’s.

  5. Tyler Stewart Says:

    Lovely tribute, Pauly. I loved Mimi and her fabulous food, quirky restaurant and generous soul. She always treated me like a son, and made me feel welcome on Queen St. I’ll never forget the big-boobs cake she baked for me and Barenaked Ladies for our big show at Kingswood/Canada’s Wonderland in the early 90’s. We all laughed as we devoured it on the bus after the gig. Let’s hope another musical generation has a figure like Mimi to inspire, sustain and love them the way she did for us.

  6. Wonderful, Paul. Thank you. Reading this was like being back inside the restaurant.

    She’d be so pleased to see such a loving and fitting tribute. And she would have loved it even more knowing it had come from you.

  7. Andrew White Says:

    I had the great fortune to be invited to breakfast by Basil Dovovan to Mimi’s and I made it a destination from then on. Great food and great hang.
    Love ya, Mimi.

  8. harriet Says:

    thanks paul.
    thanks mimi i love you so much

  9. Arlene Bishop Says:

    Nice memories, Paul. You’re a good friend.

  10. Thank-you Paul.

    Mimi will be missed by SO many. Her generous soul, her beautiful spirit, bright light and shining smile. Some, like me, only knew her through her fantastic restaurant, and via friends, but I already miss her.

    I talk of her often to my husband, that’s how big the impact she had on me was.

    Take care Mimi… I hope someone can follow in your footsteps, and pick up where you left off.

    *hugz* to all… friends, family, aquaintenances, dogs, cats, and future friends!

  11. Bonnie and Wayne Says:

    A very beautiful tribute to a very beautiful, soulful, giving, funny, loving, smart, groovin’gal. We were lucky recipients of Mimi’s love and we loved her back..we will miss her so much. Thanks Paul, for putting into words and pictures the essence of an exceptional human who made this part of the world a yummier and happier place to be.

  12. Matthew Says:

    What a lovely post/page/blog entry.

    Thank you.

    We’ll miss you Mimi.

  13. Michael Says:

    Nicely done Paul you’ve honoured your friend well. For all the Monday Hockey Boys, we miss you Darling Mimi

  14. Moe Berg Says:

    Very nice job, Paul.

  15. Beautiful tribute, you have really captured the essence of Mimi’s exclusive yet welcoming world. I was never anyone famous either, but Mimi always treated me like a star. She was definitely the most easy-going housemate ever – we shared a house for nearly 10 years, and I still looked forward to our weekly get-togethers. Big Love to you Mimi, wherever your journey takes you next…

  16. thank you for remembering Mimi.
    I loved her. she took care of me many, many times. Back then.

  17. Hey Paul
    Thanks for helping me with total recall. I have fuzzy memories of many Mimi mornings (ie. hash with my hashbrowns) and your words helped me rember the sweet deets. Without Mimi’s Restaurant I’m not sure how I would’ve survived the late eighties and early nineties. She had special prices for friends who were struggling.
    Even though I didn’t play hockey, I was granted a seat on Mondays. I’ve missed her for years but kept thinking “she’ll open another hip joint any day now”…
    I will be sure to forward this blog to mutual friends. Thanks so much Paul!

  18. Mimi was humble in herself but a happening for all who knew her. The Juno Awards should have a tribute to her. Speak up boys.

  19. Megan Oldfield Says:

    Lovely tribute Paul, thank you.
    Thank you Mimi, for everything.
    With much love always.
    Megan & Joe

  20. Thanks for this, Paul. Just like being there.

  21. Thanks Paul; a beautiful tribute for a beautiful person.

  22. martina lamontagne Says:

    wow…i stumbled across this post by Pauly(?). i don`t know Mimi or her restaurant or anyone famous for that matter but let me tell you…this is the sweetest thing i`ve ever read..actually brought tears to my eyes.. i wish i had these memories..sounds like funtimes and great people…if i had a million dollars i would try to keep the place going but it wouldn`t be the same of course. Mimi sure had great friends and through the tears reading this post and all the comments put me in a brighter place today so thank you Pauly, Mimi and all comment contributors for showing me happiness is possible through the eyes of all you kindheartred people.:)

  23. I can’t see my keyboard cuz of the tears streaming down my face. Mimi was wonderful and unique. She always had a smile when I walked in first as a young single music fan, and then welcoming my kids to her quirky breakfast playroom.
    The world has lost a very special person. The next time I have a veggie omlette (which never are as good as Mimi’s) I will raise a cup of coffee to her memory.

  24. Perry Stern Says:

    Thanks for a very thoughtful, truthful, heartfelt tribute. I miss Mimi’s every weekend at brunch time and every time I pass the old joint. Mimi herself was a hoot and could run hot and cold depending on who you were and how close it was to closing, but Mimi’s was always perfection — the picture of the corned beef hash above is just driving me nuts. She was a classic. It was a brilliant place to chill out, read the paper, re-fuel and be entertained by overhearing Mimi groan and moan and laugh about whatever bee had gotten under her bonnet that morning. She made it abundantly clear that she loved music and musicians more than anything and she created an environment that the like-minded found most inviting. God bless her. Thanks Mimi, it was delicious.

  25. […] And Miriam "Mimi" Braidberg of Mimi's Restaurant succumbed to a heart attack on July 4. Mimi was the proprietor of Mimi's Restaurant, situated just north of Queen and Bathurst in Toronto, ON. The restaurant was a regular for the hip music crowd of the 80s and 90s. She was a long time supporter of Blue Rodeo, and even named a chili after them on the menu. Read about Mimi, "Toronto's Blintz Queen," here on The Pulmyears Music Blog. […]

  26. What a wonderful tribute.
    Beautifully written, moving, touching, in so many ways.
    The video selections were all very special.
    Especially the Laura Nyro and Rickie Lee Jones.

    I did not know about this fantastic place or this wonderful person.
    Although I remember the landmark Oakleaf place driving down bathurst and taking streetcars. My Grandfather had a pharmacy at the corner of Bathurst and Dundas from the 50’s till the 80’s. Its now a MacDonalds.
    I grew up at Bathurst and Steeles with Posen’s accross the street and wonder if they were related. They had the first in ground swimming pool I’d ever seen and shared it with all the neighbours.

    Does Mimi’s live on past Mimi?

    I hope so.
    places like this are my favourites.
    Actually any place with challah french toast and corned beef hash.
    But this sounds like it was really one of a kind, made by both the beloved proprietor and the patrons that it attracted.

    I’m sorry to hear this bittersweet story.
    I’ve spent too much time at Benjamin’s over the years.
    My condolences to all that feel this loss.
    And kudos to you Paul for creating such a wonderful tribute.

  27. Thank you for a lovely tribute to my Aunt Mimi. I have printed out a copy for my Grandmother, Pearl, who will enjoy hearing about Mimi from some of “her crazy musical people” (Grandma’s words!) Mimi was an amazing aunt. When my sister Lucy and I were small, she had us over for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party complete with cookies, cakes, and a bowl of sequins “to run our fingers through.” Though her health had not been good in recent years, her death on Sunday was a shock to our family. Thank you again for your kind words.

  28. Lori Yates Says:

    Nice job Paul, thank-you. Mimi was such an important part of Queen St. music history. She kept many a starving artist alive.
    The first time I went there I somehow took a wrong turn and accidently took a step into the steam bath! Dark, murky, weird guys in towels…I booted it out of there as quick as possible! I didn’t go there alot but when I did she was always very friendly.
    The last time I saw her, I was playing at the Dakota and, my buddy Chris Houston was opening. She was extra bubbly and especially happy to see Chris. Its truly the end of an era. Mimi will be greatly missed.

  29. Thank you for this wonderful tribute Paul! This is just so sad…. as the tears roll down my face I recall wiping Mimi’s away and consoling her shortly after she closed the diner …. she felt like she was letting us monday morning hockey boys down and it was really upsetting for her! Well if that’s not Mimi I don’t know what is! She was more concerned about taking care of us than herself! She stayed on at least a few more years than she should have with those bad knees of hers, taking care of her “boys” for our 12:30 – 2:00 brunch every monday afternoon. Mimi would cozy up on a stool behind the glass at the south end of Bill Bolton Arena shortly after 10 am to watch most of our 2 hour skate before heading back down Bathurst to get prepped for our post game feast. I’m gonna miss her ear to ear smile behind the glass after an exciting goal… but what I’ll miss most is how happy it made her to fill our bellies with the best damn breakfast in town! That dressing room camaraderie slid right into her diner… and she loved it! As much as we loved her cheese blintzes! Mimi never had any children…. but for a few hours every monday afternoon, well that changed! 😉 .
    As I wiped her tears away I told her that it was okay if she couldn’t do it anymore…. it was more important for us that she was happy and healthy…. she would always be in our lives…. it was time for a new chapter! Well that chapter was way too short…. we LOVE you Meem, we’ll miss you!

    Fast Paul

  30. I have never met Mimi. Never been to her restaurant. To be honest, until 15 minutes ago this woman and her wonderful spirit were unknown to me. After reading this tribute, feeling the love that she gave, radiated, I am sad. Sad that I didn’t know her, sadder still for the loss to those that did. I only wish that there were more people sharing the planet with us … Like Mimi. I know a few. The woman who sent me this link, is one of them. Gratitude for her explodes from my heart. As it does for all who loved Mimi

  31. Paul, what a stunning tribute-thank you for putting into words, so beautifully, the unusual, happy, crazy, music-filled, blintz heaven that was “Mimi’s” . I have so many great memories of breakfast at Mimi’s after a late night gig, or just dropping in to visit. Shooting the breeze, as she “performed” in front of that big beast of a stove, flippin eggs, changing videos, laughing, that huge sweet grin spread across her face. I remember when she had to be careful about the weed as she’d been caught smoking by an officer and she was not happy about it! Didn’t stop her though. End of a crazy shift she’s grab a coffee and a joint and settle down to shoot the breeze a bit before she had to close up. Mimi, the “Queen of the scene” and that would mean whatever scene Mimi was diggin’- hockey, music.. Generous, funny, joint-smokin’, cranky, loving Mimi. I’m glad I got the chance to visit when I was back in town a few years back when she was talking about closing up. Thank you, Mimi, for everything. Love you.

  32. Mimi also did some great catering in the RBI days. She will definitely be missed.

  33. I think Mimi would’ve been happy with this tribute but it might’ve been hard to tell as she rarely and begrudgingly dropped her gruff demeanor.
    She always played the curmudgeon with me as I knew that she’d been a nice Jewish girl who went to school with my cousins from Ste. Catherines and she didn’t like being reminded.
    I missed her joint (pun intended)once she closed down as I’d spent many wonderful brunches there with friends and my kids who have fond memories of Mimi’s delicious food and eclectic collections that covered every inch of the place.
    Nobody has mentioned her pies which I considered the best in the world!!!Several pounds of whatever fruit was in season encased in mouth watering pastry overfowing with love….
    My condolences to Mimi’s family.
    She was a unique and creative spirit and will be sorely missed

  34. Thank you, Paul, for your wonderful remembrances of Mimi.
    I might be the only contributor here who didn’t know Mimi’s Restaurant. I knew Screamy Mimi since we were in kindergarten together, grew up in St.Catharines within a dozen front doors of each other, and were close through high school and those few years beyond when we were still trying to figure out what we were going to do with lives.
    I was first enchanted by Mimi in kindergarten and again in Grades 2/3/4 whenever year she used to recite wacky delightful hilarious epic poems to the whole school assembly in a very thick French-Canadian accent. These poems were written by her Dad David and they were, in a word, worthy. I say this because I can still remember the effect of these poetry recitations some 46 years later. She brought the house down. We cheered we laughed, we were astounded. Here was a kid, one of our own, who shoulda been on The Ed Sullivan Show. This recollection is no surprise to anyone who was ever touched by Mimi.
    Everything I’ve read from the many above confirms to me that Mimi stayed true to her calling: she never stopped entertaining and giving to everyone who was lucky enough to be drawn into her orbit. Bravo Kiddo. Mimi, you were The Light in many lives for many years.

  35. Paul –

    I think I’m right that I met you there – if not there, then immediately previous at that house on Richmond. But for my shacking up with Tamara I’d have been a roommate myself I think.

    My son met her when he was about 4 – and immediately remembered “the kinder eggs”. Even if she didn’t show it to everyone all the time she knew how to welcome people. Graeme’s 19 now and knew something was up when we made french toast with bacon this morning.

    She was a warrior – fearless – honest – irascible.

    Her passing is poignant as hell. She’d love to hear it put like that. Really fucking poignant, Mimi. Pass the cream. 5 bucks 5 bucks 5 bucks.

  36. Very sad and shocking news today. I have many great memories of breakfast at Mimi’s after gigs the night before. Mimi shouting “turbulence!” at the room to her old Star Trek videos while flipping hash browns and everyone leaning side to side in their seats in response… Those were the days and you captured them
    beautifully, Paul. A wonderful tribute.

  37. 🙂 .. 😦

  38. A Cooper Says:

    This tribute and its comments very neatly summed up everything I’ve read or observed about Mimi and her restaurant. When I first met Mimi, I received a candid, appraising look and I noticed that when she looked at my daughter that her eyes softened somewhat. I liked her immediately. Everything that was going on in the place was either interesting or entertaining or both. All the things she appeared to value, I admired from her taste in music, video, neat stuff on the walls, and an obvious talent in cooking. She always prepped a great looking plate – the food was excellent….funny that she was always out of white bread though….I scan the horizon for you Mimi. My condolences to her family.

  39. Mike Plume Says:

    I can’t believe she’s gone.
    I will miss her terribly.
    I was lucky to call Mimi my friend.
    Thank you Mimi for everything and I’ll see you when I see you…
    p.s. Thank you, Paul, for writing such a moving tribute…

  40. I worked as Mimi’s waitress back in the heyday (mid eighties), and I have a lot of fond memories of them times. Miss Mimi had her moods, but they were typically a result of the impossibly high standards she set for herself, which she (understandably) expected her hired, hung-over, hand to at least attempt to adhere to ! All it ever took to lighten her up was a favorite customer, song or tv show (I see she was born in April – was she a Taurus, like me ?).
    I served Mimi’s utterly delicious, butter-laden platters to the who’s whos of the then burgeoning Queen St. scene, drew pictures of Spock riding Flipper on her menu board and couldn’t wait for the free lunch she insisted on serving me at the end of my shift. Those were the best times, after closing, when we just ate, cleaned up, smoked up and cranked up the music.
    I’m still searching today for an obscure Bob Dylan bootleg song which only Mimi possessed.
    So long old gal, thanks for the experience !
    With love, Roxanna

  41. Ted Hawkins Says:

    I loved that place…R.I.P.

  42. Mimi’s my first breakfast hangover before sneakydees was invented…the ampleness of my brunch was heavenly….RIP

  43. John Berry Says:

    I am heavy with the sadness of losing a good friend but lifted when I think about her wonderful ways. Missing you already

  44. Thierry Côté Says:

    Beautiful, loving tribute that I think captures the Mimi I knew – both her initial gruffness and, later, warmth, her unparalleled breakfast plates, as well as her unending passion for music and the people that play it. I discovered the place not long after moving to Toronto in the mid-’00s and went there weekly until it closed – it was special little corner of Toronto that we lost when she closed down her restaurant, but the loss is much, much greater now. If it weren’t so warm, I might have cooked a batch of chili today.

    Goodbye Mimi, your chicken salt & pepper shakers will always have a good home in my house…

  45. I am so sad to learn of Mimi’s passing – I was never a regular at the Diner but was there a couple of times with some of her favourite artists and as a result I was accepted and smiled upon by Mimi – a true Toronto original – she will be missed

  46. Denny Mcmillan Says:

    I’m just to sad for words. Thank you Paul, for the photos and words.

  47. Great tribute Paul, thank you. She was truly one of a kind. Though she’ll live on through the friends I’ve made thanks to her kindness and generosity, I’ll miss her dearly. For all the great food and great times, thanks Mimi.

    • That’s our Mimi. Thanks.

      As some may know, there will be a graveside service for Mimi Thursday, July 08, 2010 at 1:00 PM Holy Blossom Memorial Park / Cemetery Section 40 Brimley Road. (south of Eglinton)

      afterward, the JetFuel Coffee shop (address below) is hosting a gathering for those who want to celebrate Mimi’s life and share more stories and love of her. Anytime after 1pm. JETFUEL Coffee Shop 519 Parliment Street Toronto, Ontario

  48. This is a beautiful tribute, very well done for such a sad reason. My husband and I were regulars and Mimi always welcomed us with some homemade compote or a plate of fresh berries, always a little something to let us know we were welcome even if she was too busy to sit and chat every time.
    When the restaurant closed a hole opened in our lives, and I can still not pay to eat breakfast because I was so spoiled by her! Her food was the best because she loved it!
    I will miss her dearly, her strong spirit and individuality.

    Thank you Mimi for being yourself and encouraging the creative in all of us.

  49. Thanks Paul, for this loving tribute to Mimi. I never was a regular at Mimi’s, but certainly spent a little time at there — most often when Mike Plume and his band were in town. The rare Dylan bootleg videos on that small TV were unforgettable, as were the scrumptious breakfasts and beautiful, communal chaos of the place. What a wonderful soul she was. I think we’ll all miss her terribly.

  50. Wow what to say, Mimi was my girlfriend, friend, companion and buddy. 25 years later I am gathering the people from her life to tell them of the loss of a legendary figure. I knew the ride was fun while it lasted. I can see her bemused smile watching us all get together. Much love.

    P.S. Paul, bravo. The hundreds or thousands of breakfasts we shared there were always special. You tribute is perfect. Bravo.

  51. I can’t believe it!
    Saying goodbye to my friend of 32 years…..My dear Meems….my roommate (twice)…my lifetime friend….
    Words cannot express so many feelings and great memories….blue rodeo at queen & bathurst….horseshoe tavern….squeezing a zillion oranges at the cafe….sitting 6 feet away from rickie lee jones’s grand piano in buffalo a couple years ago…tears streaming down meem’s face the whole show….she loved her so much…
    struggling to walk to the casino to play poker to kick some ass…so tough to see…yet such GREAT spirit!~
    walk with the angels, my sister.
    I will miss you SOOOO much, Meem!

    thanks, Paul~

  52. Jack Nicholsen Says:

    Thank you for easing this relentless ache. Beautiful.

  53. Paul… I read the news in NOW today, and eventually found this posting. I knew Mimi about 30 years ago. I’ve posted a small item on my own site, and linked it to this post of yours. I hope you don’t mind.


  54. So sorry to hear,I loved that place,and Mimi.My Son ,from when he was 6,7,8 and on would always want to go to Mimi`s for Breakie.The best damn Breakie in this here town.My thoughts and prayers go out to the family,and i know we`ll all have eggs together once again.RIP Mimi,and keep the fresh OJ coming.Peaceb2allandeverylittletning,Sincerly Sev.

  55. julius p Says:

    paul: thank you. I was lucky enough to have been a recipient of not only a million breakfasts but also of her friendship… and her crazy penchant for clint eastwood, whose numerous images she collected and kept scattered around the place 🙂

    we all miss her.

  56. i’d like to thank harriet for the amazing job yesterday~meems is smiling down with pride~

    Paul; you were missed!
    what a great gathering….crying and laughing and smoking…

    mimi would have LOVED this party~and the food, Lain!

    thanks to everyone for putting this together.

    meems was greatly loved, and will be GREATLY missed by many.

  57. Lynda H Says:

    “…and it stone’s me to my soul…stone’s me just like jelly roll…and it stone’s me…” all my gratitude for the lessons learned mimi, in friendship and respect – keep sharinng your stories everyone – there are so many to tell. god bless you mimi xo

  58. Wendy T. Says:

    Mimi was my younger sister’s friend in high school, back in St. Catharines. You don’t usually pay much attention to your kid sister’s friends, but Mimi was a force to be reckoned with. She was a true original – even at 13. Back then she was into Bette Midler, who I’d never heard of but quickly got caught up on. Mimi was a generous spirit and a true original. I am glad she had so many friends and lots of happy times in her too short life. She’s made an impression few of us ever will and it’s obvious she was much loved. Thanks for this beautiful tribute to Mimi.

  59. I grew up as a child in St Catharines with Mimi and always remember that she was ONE OF A KIND…so so sorry to hear of her leaving all of us but then it is wonderful to read all this beautiful tribute to her and what a mark she made for herself in toronto and how she touched so many peoples hearts…..

  60. Peter Ward Says:

    must have been 25 years ago my first breakfast at mimis. I am so happy my son had breakfast there too. mimis was so special. so everyone. I’ve been sad for the last couple years when I pass the baths and remember. now I’m really sad that mimi is gone too. but like all great people they live on with us if we care. Let’s all try to b a little more like mimi. (dill weed in the potatoes is a good start) peace.

  61. Dave Klym Says:

    Mimi, I’ll miss you and will never forget you… your guitar straps still help me get over the stage fright. I was hoping to see you at the Pee Wee Herman show on broadway this fall; I know you’ll be there in spirit. Somehow I’ll still be looking for you.

    Thank you Paul for the lovely tribute. I’m still in shock.

  62. I went to high school with Mimi and unfortunately lost touch after that and am so sorry we did as I read the numerous truly heartfelt tributes to her life. She was way ahead of her time, so avant garde in the ’70s and it’s very sad to learn of her passing at such a young age. Her memories will certainly live on in the many hearts she touched…

  63. Effie Muldoon Carson Says:

    I left a response to the tribute in NOW magazine but just today found this one. Thank you to everyone for sharing memories of Mimi. She was my very first friend in school. The first Show and Tell I remember in Kindergarten was of course Mimi. A very generous and creative girl from a very young age.
    I moved out of the neighbourhood after grade 2 but we remained friends into high school. We had lots of sleep overs, shopping at Pen Centre and downtown St. Catharines.
    We reconnected a few random times in Toronto for fabulous gab fests. My Mom was as excited to see her as I was.
    I remember Mark and Debbie also.
    I found out about Mimi’s passing yesterday and I have been thinking about her for 2 days. She’s hard to forget.

  64. Only just found out.
    Great post, thanks.
    I sat at the end of the counter for a while, I miss her.

    • Hey Nick, I’m sorry that I had no contact info for you. I missing too. A lot. I miss all my breakfast friends.

  65. Thanks Paul this is heavenly to read-Mimi was big piece of a lot hearts. Thank you for putting this together.

  66. Nice for me….thanks for you nice blog.

  67. Tomorrow night, Sept. 8th, is Mimi Fest at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.
    15 Artists performing in tribute. Everyone someone who she loved and someone who loved her.

  68. Can someone do us all the favour of an account of Mimi Fest last night? I just read about it (the day after). Wow. Wish I could have been there. But I live in Ottawa and need a few days notice to organize things before slipping out of town.
    Are there any recordings? That would be really sweet.
    Shine on, Mimi, shine on.

  69. largeesspaul Says:

    Beautiul piece, Paul – thank you very much, sorry it took me so long to find it. I miss Mimi keenly still. She was unique and amazing, and you’re right, being favoured by her was an honour no money or bribe could win, and thus a priceless affirmation in itself. I was lucky enough to become a welcome face at Mimi’s – kept that old VCR and boombox running for a few years, back when I was a freelance technician (never cleaned so much evaporated butter out of any other gear in my life) ;o)
    I brought a friend there for the first time, just after a horrendous medical procedure, and I don’t believe I have ever been able to lift anyone else’s spirits as fast or well since. Not only did she take a shine to him right away, she had him sipping a coffee puffing a joint and trying her latest homemade preserves, before he could even unfold the menu. Bliss was not something he was expecting that day!

    Funny thing how such outstanding love and cantankerosity can be combined so powerfully, but I can’t help thinking the one was worth a hundred times more for the other. Suffered no fools, but shared with genuine souls and seekers gladly, and with unstinting generosity.
    She will not ever be forgotten by any who knew (and thus loved) her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: