Vintage markets bring together a diverse group of people with a common interest in nostalgia. Whether you’re a fan of furniture, clothing, home décor, or rock n roll, there truly is something for everyone.
For a life-long lover of furniture, I sure was late to the party. I’ve been settled in Toronto for many years now and only recently attended my first vintage market. I’ve since attended a few and decided it was time to share my ‘secret’ with those who might read this. Vintage markets happen every few months in the city of Toronto and much more frequently if you’re willing to travel just outside the city limits.
For flea market lovers and treasure hunters, this sounds like a no brainer: of course, vintage markets are awesome! Today, I’m interested in convincing readers who don’t know what they’re missing.
For starters, you don’t need to enjoy flea markets to appreciate a vintage market. As you can probably imagine, I love all purveyors of the past, but considering the amount of curating that goes on by the individuals who show at these markets, comparisons to thrift stores can hardly be drawn. Many of the people showing at vintage markets have very focused collections that can rival displays from a museum. So whether you’re in the mood to shop, or simply be reminded of your childhood, you’ll be thoroughly entertained.
I went to my last vintage market in search of some unique furniture and accessories for an upcoming property I was staging. I ended up finding a typewriter and some great gifts for people whom I usually never know what to buy for. (Why is it that Dads are so ridiculously hard to buy for?) Since nothing says ‘I don’t have time to look for a gift’ like a gift card, I’ve taken to starting my shopping before December as I’ve gotten older. While walking the aisles of the vintage market you’ll be reminded of family members past and present and just may find yourself ready for next Christmas before Easter. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is.
Here are a few of my favourite vintage finds:
I didn’t expect to fall in love with all of the vintage kitchenware. It brought back memories I didn’t even know I had. Colourful and bright, and unlike anything they make today, casserole dishes and salad bowls brought me back to my grandma’s kitchen. Retro is cool, and for the host who is always looking for a way to impress his guests, I can’t think of a better way than to serve up something delicious in something completely unexpected. While I couldn’t tell what decade every dish was from, they were all pretty exceptional in their own way and I found myself wanting to re-decorate the inside of my cupboards with them.
If you or someone you know is a fan of music then you’re in luck! Vintage markets always have several vendors catering to the vinyl-loving crowd, but that’s not where it ends. Old concert t-shirts, posters, and tour merchandise can be found alongside next year’s band inspired Halloween look. With the success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, you can bet that Freddy Mercury and the entire band will be popular costumes next year, and I can’t think of a better place to find everything you would need. While I don’t play any particularly well, I’ve got a thing for vintage instruments and you can find plenty of those as well. Maybe you’re more of jukebox person? Not to worry, you’ll likely stumble across one or two as well.
If like me, happy hour is your favourite hour of the day, then consider checking out some amazing vintage barware. Nothing elevates a great cocktail like vintage glassware. Just ask the bartenders in the trendy bars on Ossington or Queen St. Your Manhattan will simply taste better if you can picture Don Draper using the same glass. I wouldn’t necessarily trade in my wine glasses for vintage ones, but I’d definitely keep my wine in a vintage ice bucket next to an art deco shaker.
When you attend a vintage market with an open mind you never know what you’ll find. The most interesting interior décor comes from mixing different styles and using things in unexpected ways. A vintage market is the perfect place to find something interesting for your walls, or for that dull corner of the living room you’ve never been satisfied with. Homesense is great, but there’s simply more satisfaction in finding the perfect piece from a bygone era.
Old items have a history, and where there’s history there’s usually a story. By having vintage pieces in our homes, our stories become more interesting by association. You don’t need to surround yourself with antiques, but by incorporating one or two of them into the mix in interesting ways, you add style and interest to otherwise ordinary things. You definitely don’t need to bring anything home to soak up the nostalgia and enjoy yourself at a vintage market, but you’ll probably find yourself coming home with something unexpected and that’s part of the fun. I may be biased but I hope I’ve been convincing. Do yourself a favour and check out a vintage market the next time one comes to town.