On the Road for Antiques

Posted on October 11, 2013


Since Thanksgiving weekend is the last long weekend before the chill sets in, I would want to share what I have been busy about for the past few months. I have been bitten by the antiquing bug lately and have been doing short trips away from Toronto to find gems of the past. I justify the 100 – 200 km drive by saying it is for work. I have been more and and more infatuated of using antiques to adorn my shoots as it seems to give me that sentimentality and comfort. So if you have time to spare this long weekend, do some of these short drives. I am sure there is a treasure for everyone to find. The list are arranged from closest to farthest.

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Inside Toronto
1. Roncesvalles neighbourhood, Toronto
If you cannot get yourself to drive out of Toronto this weekend, consider a stroll by Roncesvalles Avenue out on the west of Toronto, from Bloor all the way to Queen. The streets are lined with charming shops of old and new. And if you get hungry, do try to stop by Cafe Polonez, old world comfort, the Polish way.

Driving East
1. Cobourg, ON
Just less than 100 km away from Toronto, the short drive is relaxing on a lazy weekend morning. Bringing my first cup of coffee for the drive, I planned to have a late brunch by one of the popular locale spot at Cobourg, The Buttermilk Cafe. Popular for the waffles, that was what I had for that morning. Fluffy and not overly sweet, it was the perfect match to my strips of bacon. After that breakfast, I spent about an hour going in and out of small stores on Cobourg’s main street. Such a charming little town and so close to Toronto.

2. Port Hope, ON
When I exhausted all that was in Cobourg, I drove just 7 km going back west and I ended up at Port Hope. Most of the antique stores are in Walton St and just like Cobourg, it was lined with with small stores and restaurants. Be ready with your good shoes as the street goes uphill. You can have a comfortable time-out by Cartona Goodies, a Asian fusion cafe, that would let you sit and have coffee and enjoy free WiFi. I recommend accompanying your coffee with their almond cookie. I guarantee the two are a perfect match.

3. Pickering Antique/Flea Market
On my way back to Toronto, I could not help but swing by Pickering to indulge in more antique browsing. The Pickering Antique Market This antique mall is open all week long and the collection can entertain you for hours. The vintage X-Men comics alone cost me a lot of time as I could not resist sifting through a massive pile. The prices though are a mix, some reasonable and some almost similar to the prices I saw by Roncesvalles. Know your prices before investing. :)

Driving West
1. St. Jacob’s Market, Kitchener and Waterloo, ON.
This place got me hooked with antiques. I have a separate post of what you can find in here. To make the drive worthwhile, it would be best to come here Thursday or Saturday as a farmers market matches the vibe of the antique mall. There was a recent fire that damaged the main farmers market building but I heard that the vendors are back, set up temporarily by the parking lot. Make sure you have a day to spend when visiting. When the farmers market close by 3pm, you can swing by the St. Jacobs Village. See this earlier St. Jacob’s market post for more details

2. Aberfoyle Market, Guelph ON
Aberfoyle Market only opens for business every Sundays during spring to fall. The choice in this market is remarkable mix of every knick knack imaginable. All for a variety of prices, so be sure to shop around. Don’t hold off too long as you might tend to forget and someone might swipe your find. Be sure to spend a day with good shoes as the booths are outdoors. This trip was worth the drive as I found a charming bench for a sweet price of $18. Good solid wood, how can one resist that? On market grounds, you can find Cafe Aberfoyle. Food at standard Canadian comfort foods and serving size are quite generous. Pace yourself with the poutine. Two order we split four-ways and I was very full when we finished.

Driving North
1. Hwy 11, Orilla ON
On both directions on Hwy 11 by Orilla, ON, would be small businesses selling reclaimed wood and second hand furniture and fixtures. Going north, I was so heartbroken locating a white hardwood coffee table that I could not buy. Priced at $30, it was clearly a bargain. Problem was it had no hope of fitting in my Honda Civic and I have no place for it at home. I wish there were more finds like it in Toronto. On my way back to Toronto, I stopped around the same area and got myself rewarded with an old hardwood door. Such things always make their way as table tops for my photoshoots.

2. Huntsville ON

I have professed a love of Muskoka many times and its rows of stores with antiques are part of the reason why. You could find a good shop on the same line as the Nutty Chocolatier. Where you decide to spend the longer time browsing, I leave it up solely to you to decide. :)

3. Dwight ON
Just by the fork of Hwy 60 and Hwy 35 are a cluster of small thrift shops and antique stores. Be sure to check them out as they do have interesting collage of things of yesteryears. I get a kick of trying to figure out an item that I have no inkling of what it was. I revel at the simplicity and ingenuity to make do with such a gadget and compare it to what it is now.Good coffee you can find by Erika’s Cafe.

Now as I look at this long list of road trips, I find I have that itch to travel back to each place. I cannot do that this weekend though. I plan to do the ultimate antique road trip to Baltimore. For sure, I would blog about that too. Have a good weekend treasure hunting!

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