“I collect these objects to learn from them. In some moment these things are going to teach me something. For me, this is like a library. These are my books.”
– Jose Bedia in ARTNews, Summer 2000
It took me quite some time to wiggle my way around the antique scene and try and find out where best to buy antiques and collectibles. I am sure you have some of your own favourite spots – just like I do. There are many different avenues but these are the avenues I choose:
Antique Stores (dealers’ shops)
Antique stores generally have a little something special for everyone.
Despite increased online sales, you will continue to find antique shops popping up in your local town. They do not always have a large online presence so sometimes you really have to walk around or rely on word of mouth to find these stores. One of my #1 past-times is grabbing a coffee and treasure hunting through stores in Centretown, Ottawa. When I am feeling the travel bug I go out of town to Almonte , Merrickville, Arnprior and Alfred.
Sometimes I use Google Map and search specific streets or towns that I think may have some hidden gems. My next walk will be to visit A Fine Thing Antiques and Donohue and Bousquet. I haven’t been to these two downtown Ottawa area places in a while.
Specialist Dealers’ Shops
I have seen some of these speciality shops in my neighbourhood. These shops have speciality items or areas of focus such as Fine Art, Jewellery and Militaria. They may seem like they will have higher price tags however this is not always the case as they have more of the same inventory to shed.
Since they have a specialization these dealers will usually have more knowledge about an item and it’s worth. A great example of a specialty shop would be Military Antiques Toronto who is linked to Army Outfitters and has established a reputation for authentic, high quality military collectibles.
I have reaped the benefits from going to indoor and outdoor sales run by churches, charity organizations and community groups. There is always such an array of items. You can’t beat the thrill of digging at these sales. Community (neighbourhood) garage & yard sales are also an excellent way to find everything and anything in one place.
A BIG bonus is you save gas money and get a bit of exercise when checking on these sales. Make sure you read your local newspaper, bulletin boards or online neighbourhood portal to keep updated on sales and events. For the Ottawa area Used Ottawa, Kijiji and Craigslist are my go to places.
There is nothing like a weekend Saturday and/or Sunday flea market. Why are they great? Tons of vendors are under one roof. Sometimes these vendors are outdoors as well. These events can differ from jumbo sales and they tend to be re-occurring and may contain both new and used items.
As a wee one I enjoyed rounding up the family and heading out to the Larose Flea Market just across the river in Masson-Angers, Gatineau. Flea markets are fantastic because there is a whole lot to look at and some friendly faces. Plus you can bring your doggy (usually) too.
Festivals and Fairs
It is always good to know what is coming to town. I find there is always a diverse array of items at festivals and fairs for sale. The City of Ottawa Spotlight calendar has a good listing of festivals and fairs.
Estate Sales & Auctions
I am an estate sale and auction addict. In my post Estate Sales, Auctions and Content Sales Mania earlier this week I shared all my estate sale and auction go to resources. I will never forget this one-liner I heard at an estate sale held in a dilapidated barn. The old man was so sweet and after I asked him about a few things he said, “I am the oldest antique in here.”
Consignment & Thrift Shops
There is a chance you may find an amazing piece but generally these places sell lower-end antiques and collectables. Items are donated and usually vetted first by antique dealers. At the end of the day – you never know. I have heard about a few people finding mega finds these stores.
A few places I recommend are St Vincent De Paul Store (1273 Wellington St. W) and The Church of St. John the Evangelist Community Shop (275 Elgin Street). The Salvation Army Thrift Store and Value Village also have a wide variety of items.
You can also browse Apartment613 and Couch Assassin on the regular to make sure you don’t miss out on any antique shows, sales or events.
In a later post I am going to share some of the best places to purchase antiques from online. I am also excited to report on antique tourist spots real soon. I was born in Mississauga, Ontario so the Sunday Antique Market in Toronto is one spot that will make the list.
Good luck finding a piece as unique and expressive as you are.
3 thoughts on “The Best Places to Buy Antiques and Collectibles”
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