Some people think that vintage shops and flea markets are dusty and full of junk, but that’s where they are wrong. It’s a sad stereotype. I would use charming, nostalgic, and whimsical to describe these types of places.
I love leisurely browsing through a vintage shop. Shelves filled floor to ceiling with knickknacks and pretty dainty china and glass. Toys, records, games from days gone by. Items that were carefully stored away in a grandmother’s attic and are now getting a second chance to find a new home. Combine this with a laid-back drive and lunch at a beloved local hotspot, and you’ve got a fun way to spend a day in Algoma Country.
You never know what you’ll stumble upon: Depression glass and china patterns, beautiful antique and vintage furniture, kitchen gadgets, crazy pieces to turn into trendy home décor, bins of awesome vinyl records, beautiful retro clothing and costume jewellery.
Now, this isn’t the Antiques Roadshow. Most likely, you won’t find a rare collectible that upon sale will have you jet-setting across the globe (or maybe you’ll be that lucky!). Shopping in these types of shops is a great way to decorate your home, whether you’re on a budget, you’re trying to replicate a certain style, or you want an inexpensive way to furnish your cottage. Or, maybe you want to complete a collection of some kind as I did:
Vintage shops and flea markets are also a good source for DIY or upscaling projects, large or small. Here’s an example of a DIY I did. I had a bag of seashells that I didn’t know what to do with, so I decided to make some art. I found some old wooden frames (upon close inspection, I’m sure someone made them). I gave them a good coat of white paint and used some fabric and cardboard to make backings. Using E6000 (the best glue ever), I stuck the shells on the backings. Voila! Instant art!
And sometimes, you’re just looking for an item to use in a particular way.
Where to Shop
Below is a list of places to find vintage and retro items, true antiques and flea market finds. Some of these places also sell new items, handcrafted artisan pieces, or consignment. Shops are listed by the community to make it easy for you to plan a day trip whether you’re a visitor to Algoma Country, or a local looking to explore the region.
Mariners' Cove Antique Co-op
PH: (705) 542-1308
Different vendors selling a variety of vintage treasures, fashions, accessories, furniture and more.
Bruce Mines Old Bank Antiques Market
9190 Hwy 17 East
Located inside the town's old bank, find many vintage and antique collectibles.
Sault Ste. Marie
Rockin Vinyl Records & Collectables
352 Wellington Street West
PH: (705) 255-1404
Large selection of records and collectibles.
The Old Warehouse Market
69 Church Street
Open Saturdays 10 am - 4 pm
Houses 15 talented vendors.
Vintage Games’N Junque
165 Queen Street East
PH: (705) 450-6969
New and used items and collectibles.
The Rad Zone
721 Queen Street East
PH: (705) 945-0911
Carrying new-gen games and retro ones like Super Nintendo, Sega, Atari, Playstation, Xbox, etc and lots of vinyl records.
The Skeleton Key Used Book Store
288 Korah Road
PH: (705) 987-1173
Sells different types of books in paperback, trade-sized and hardcover. Gently used.
*Also the home of Stuff
472 Queen Street East
PH: (705) 450-3337
Specializing in the 1950s and 1960s clothing, jewellery and accessories
The Dragonfly Shop
454 Queen Street East
PH: (705) 450-0449
Charitable organization. Proceeds support the local ARCH Hospice.
620 Queen Street East
PH: (604) 617-0103
Thrift & Consignment Store.
Sandra’s Variety of Treasures
18 Cutler Avenue
PH: (705) 844-9880
One-of-a-kind collectibles, antiques, folk art.
North Shore Antiques
4517 Hwy 17
PH: (705) 849-0025
Open daily 10 am - 4 pm
Antique furniture, elegant glassware including depression glass, crystal. Dealers for 20 years.
SAD's Sunshine Shop
3 Elizabeth Walk
PH: (705) 461-7806
Charitable organization. Proceeds support the local animal shelter
Not Two Shabby Chic Consignment Shop
5 Elizabeth Walk
PH: (705) 827-0939
5 Things to Know When Shopping Vintage and Flea Market Finds
- Bring cash, including smaller bills. Don’t assume all shops take debit or credit cards. You should always be prepared to pay in cash.
- Ask about pick-up policies. Some places may be OK with you picking up items the next day, but others may not hold items.
- Inspect items for damage before you buy them. If items do require some restoration, be aware of the cost.
- Always be respectful to vendors. Don’t assume you can’t negotiate, but be aware that pricing is subjective and varies from place to place. Don’t alienate a vendor by making a low, insulting offer. Unless you have reason to believe something is much less valuable than the asking price, make a fair offer. Expect the vendor to meet you halfway.
- Know the differences between true antique, near antique and vintage:
- a true antique is at least 100 years old and shows a degree of craftsmanship
- a near antique is somewhere between 75 to 99 years old
- vintage is from a certain era. For example, the 40s, 50s or 60s.