1,200 free turkeys gone in an hour

Dec. 4, 2006 at 2:22 PM

TORONTO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Thousands of people braved the cold in Toronto to camp out for a prominent Jewish businessman's annual free giveaway of 1,200 Christmas turkeys.

The giveaway has been a tradition in the city for 19 years as a show of gratitude from retailer and theater mogul "Honest Ed" Mirvish at his garishly signed department store.

Sunday was the first time Mirvish, 93, didn't attend. The role of greeter and turkey dispenser went to his son, David Mirvish and staff, who also put a Christmas fruit cake into bags along with the frozen turkeys, the Toronto Star reported.

Several people camped out for 16 hours in sub-freezing temperatures for one of the free birds, which were piled under a sign saying "Ed's in a fowl mood."

With retailing foremost in mind, recipients had to weave through the store and up three flights of stairs past discount merchandise before reaching the giveaway site.

The giveaway ended just over an hour after it began, the report said.

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