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The Kerrisdale Antiques Fair has become a much loved and anticipated event in Vancouver. Now in its 16th year, it remains one of the few antique shows still being held on a regular basis. Offered in the spring and fall each year in the Kerrisdale Arena on the West Side, this show brings together some of the finest dealers from across BC as well as from other provinces…many of whom have been doing the show since it first began in 2002.

For Renee Lafontaine, the show’s organizer, setting up a two day antique show back then was a bit of a risk but she was ready. “I had been putting on our collector flea markets at the Croatian Cultural Centre successfully for two years which gave me the confidence to take on a bigger show.” She had also done her homework and initially sought out some help. “I brought on a business partner to help and we selected Kerrisdale for many reasons — the historic venue, great high-density neighbourhood, lots of parking, affluent demographic, etc.”

It was a lot more work to have a two day show and that was stressful at first for Lafontaine. “I totally underestimated what a huge undertaking it would be to mount a new show, and how much stress came with that…I don’t think I slept at all the week leading up to the first show! So much effort and expense had been put into promoting the show, but would anyone come? To this day, I still worry about that right up until we open the doors and the crowds roll in!”

Her fears were just fears. She didn’t have to worry back then nor does she need to worry today…there is an impressive loyal following of people who come to each show rain or shine. And, every season there is a new crop of eager and delighted shoppers, young and old, discovering the show for the first time. According to Lafontaine, there are between 2500 to 3000 people who attend the show over the two days.

And, the reason people keep coming back is because of the incredible amount of work and care that Lafontaine puts into each show. This is also why so many of the initial dealers have also stayed on to do the show year after year.

Westminster Antiques

Westminster Antiques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy and Maynard Cook from Westminster Antiques remember the very first show well. “As every first show, there was cause for great anticipation,” says Maynard Cook. “We weren’t sure what to expect, but as always Renee, the show organizer, delivered. The buyers were excited to be there and the sellers brought a great display of wares. We sold everything from furniture to crystal and kept selling…with the busy crowds until the show closed.”

The Cooks, like many of the dealers, sell a large variety of items that they carefully select for these shows. “We have jewelry, clocks and bears as part of our display. We have found that the higher quality items sell well at this show and we try to hand pick a few of our better items to bring here.”

Original Art Deco Art Glass Architectural Intaglio Glass Pane – Westwillow Antiques

Jeff Harris, who along with his wife Jane run Westwillow Antiques, have also been doing the shows since 2002 and have even had the same spot near the front entrance. He remembers back to before Lafontaine had become a show organizer. “Many many years ago when she was a dealer I was one of the people who encouraged her to start doing the shows. There was a definite need. She is very much at home.” Harris goes on to say “she is wonderful at getting all the ducks in line. That is a side to her that we appreciate…her organizational skills. We respect that tremendously. She also has the ability to pull people into the show…and in this business that is a real art.”

Linda Devine has also been doing the show since the very beginning and has also been in the same spot ever since. “I guess what impressed me from the very first was the size of the crowds that waited patiently until the doors opened. Since then, the show has only gotten bigger and better, so I would never give up my prime spot just inside the entrance. I think I have only missed one show and that was because I was away on safari in Africa!”

Gold and Enamel Powder/Pill Box made by Cartier circa 1925 – Linda Devine

Devine, who sells primarily high quality antique and designer jewellery, has noticed some interesting changes over time. “I have found over the years that the diversity of cultures in Vancouver is now reflected in the diversity of customers at the show. Young people come to look at engagement rings, older people look for items that excite memories and celebrate events such as anniversaries and birthdays.”

For Justin Tee, who sells antique and vintage silverware, the first show offered more than just a place to sell his wares. “I did pick up some new clients at that show that are still clients (and friends really) today.” He goes on to say that, “the only thing that has changed is we now sell exclusively high-end products because that is all the market wants right now.”

German Sterling Silver Cow Creamer c1930 – Justin Tee

Sandy Sieradzan has very vivid memories from when the show was first held in the historical Kerrisdale Arena (which is a skating rink during the winter). “I remember the first show easily, because it was so cold! I think the ice had just been taken up a few days before and we would go outside to get warmed up. One of the dealers across from us, brought in a heating pad and we would all take turns sitting on it.” Sieradzan goes on to say that “It has certainly warmed up over the years. Thank goodness. But as each year passed more and more people have discovered this show, and we are so busy, no one has a chance to get cold.”

They sell mostly china and silver, “what we call pretties,” says Sieradzan. “Over the years we all try different things, like furniture or primitives. But for us, the pretties work the best. We had a customer tell us one time, that we were like two old crows, always going for the shiny. Then I guess he realized how he had said it, because he spent the next ten minutes trying to stammer his way out of that comment. We didn’t mind. We laughed, as it was true.”

Lafontaine also has some thoughts about how things have changed since the show first began. “Looking back at the early shows, we had a lot more furniture in the mix…the number of furniture dealers gradually declined over the years as the show evolved into more antique and vintage decor accessories, estate jewellery, ephemera — more “smalls” vs. large furniture pieces.”

Her theory is that people are reluctant to make big furniture purchases at a two-day show, since measurements usually need to be taken and people have to figure out how to get it home. “Lamps, chairs, occasional tables, and other smaller furniture pieces tend to be a much easier sell. And as the buyer demographic has changed over the years, so too has the styles they collect. Victoriana was very popular back when we started and now mid-century Modern is having its moment…it’s always been a cyclical business so it’s anyone’s guess what the next hot trends might be.”

But with all that said, Lafontaine cautions those who think that the show is not for them, “Don’t let the word antiques scare you–antiques and vintage collectibles come in all shapes and sizes…and prices! You’ll find retro mother-of-pearl buttons for $1 and maybe an Art Nouveau lamp for thousands…and just about everything in between!”

When asked what seems to sell the best at the show these days, Lafontaine says “jewellery is definitely at the top of the list, and then decorative accessories in vintage and antique glass, china, pottery and silver.” With an average of 60 dealer booths, totaling over 250 tables filled with everything you can imagine, there really is just about something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned collector, dealer, avid shopper, or just curious, you might want to pop by the show to check it out for yourself.

Kerrisdale Antiques Show
2017 Dates: April 8 and 9 and September 2 and 3
5670 East Boulevard (at 41st Avenue)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Open 10am to 5pm
Admission: $7
Children Under 13 Free with Adult

**Most of the images of the items above will be for sale at the show in April (where the dealer is indicated)

CLICK HERE to get a $2 off coupon for SUNDAY

 

 

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21c-oranaments-3 Whether we are ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And, as many people begin to prep and plan their holiday gifts and decor, my hope is that several will consider buying secondhand. There is so much choice out there, and often quite affordable and fun.

21c-typewriterAs a way to test this thought…I would encourage those of you within Metro Vancouver to drop by the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue) in Vancouver Sunday, December 4th. There you will find the fabulous Retro Design & Antiques Fair being organized by 21st Century Promotions.  With over 175 vendors on site, there literally is something for everyone. Whether you are trying to find a unique gift or deciding to have a vintage or retro Christmas theme, chances are you will be inspired or at least intrigued. They also organize a flea market in the same location, and the next one is set for January 22nd, 2017.

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21c-ornaments-1There are so many ideas for great gifts, everything from vintage jewellery to retro household items and some classic collectibles like records and train sets.

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21c-trainsFor those of you planning to host an elegant dinner party over the holidays (yes…fancy is chic again), you are likely to find some beautiful Irish linens (already ironed and ready to be used) as well as silverware (clean and shiny), fancy china place settings, crystal glasses, silver servers and candlestick holders.

21c-silverAnd, then for those of you looking for something a bit more crafty or you have a penchant for the macabre…you just never know what you will find.

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Retro Design & Antiques Fair
Sunday, December 4th 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday, January 22, 2017 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

 

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DSC_3621Like a well orchestrated dance, the Kerrisdale Arena in Vancouver is transformed within a few hours from a community centre arena to an elegant showcase of all things beautiful. Dealers, and their vehicles, line up early to drive their wares into the heritage building. Come Saturday (April 9, 2016), this concrete space will be hosting the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair.

DSC_3552Little by little, it all comes together often without a hitch. Renee Lafontaine has been running these shows for 15 years and she leaves nothing to chance. She meticulously organizes every detail: from the initial set up of tables and curtains at 6:30 am by the rental company, to the timed drive in of every dealer, and then moving out all the vehicles making room for the final set up.

DSC_3565Dealers are also well organized…having packed and labeled everything well in advance. They only have one day to get in and set up their booths before the doors are open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (April 9 and 10, 10am to 5pm).

There really is something for everyone. Here you can find Native Art and Artifacts, to vintage and antique jewellery, ornate silver platters and sterling flatware, to Mid-centuy Modern decor. You can also find memorabilia and collectible items from the quirky to the sublime. There is even vintage clothing and accessories along with housewares (that still work) from the 50s to the 70s and beautiful linens. Also for sale are beautiful works of art from well known European and Canadian artists and one-of-a-kind jewellery. There is even a guitar, with it’s original case, that dates back to 1830, a restored navy signal light from a war ship and unique pieces that defy description.

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Owl Pendant

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DSC_3610Kerrisdale Antiques Fair
Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10, 2016
10am to 5pm, $7 admission
5670 East Boulevard at 41st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia

TIP…if you visit their Facebook Page you can download a $2 off coupon for Sunday only.

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Fort Langley MarketFive Best Places to Acquire Antiques

1. Antique and Collectible Shows
These shows are the perfect venue for shoppers who like having a lot of selection all under one roof. In Vancouver check out shows by 21st Century Promotions and in Cloverdale visit those by Antiques by Design.

2. Auctions
For those of you who like the idea of bidding and competing for antiques, auctions are the place for you. Some worth checking out are Maynards, Love’s, Team Auctions and those held by Ken Passmore.

3. Daytrips and Roadtrips
There are so many wonderful antique/secondhand/thrift/consignment shops and markets throughout BC. Plan a day checking out local neighbourhoods like Main Street in Vancouver or downtown Fort Langley at the Village Antiques Mall.

4. Rummage Sales and Estate/Garage Sales
Regularly check your local classified listings for any of these kinds of sales as they are often great places to find deals if you know what you are looking for (Craigslist is good for garage and estate sales). I personally also enjoy heading out on the weekends and just seeing what I can find with good signage on the road.

5. Digging Through Your Own Past
One place often overlooked is in our own family’s attic or storage facility. Here you can find beautiful pieces of jewellery, china or furniture that are just waiting to be handed down to the next generation.

Five Reasons to Shop for Antiques

1. Form and Function
It is a fun way to create your own unique style with key pieces that are beautiful, functional, and often made to last.

2. Eco-Chic
Items which are considered antiques, vintage or retro are all environmentally friendly. By re-using or re-purposing them, we are extending their life and keeping them out of landfills.

3. Cost Effective
Compared to newer items, antiques are good value for the quality and price as they can be seen as investments, often increasing in value over time.

4. Conversation Piece
Each antique or collectible will likely have its own story to tell; whether it is about how and where you acquired it or where it originally came from.

5. Locally Sourced
Purchasing antiques frequently supports home-grown businesses, many of which are family run and vital to our local economy.

Five Things to Keep in Mind When Antiquing

1. Be Prepared
Do your homework and have an idea of what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay. It helps to also research what the going rates are for some items.

2. Be Mindful
When out purchasing antiques it is easy to sometimes get a bit lost in the moment with some bigger purchases. Be mindful of what you can afford to pay and what you have room for in your car and at home.

3. Be Nice
It is important to be respectful when negotiating a price for some items. Although bartering is common practice, going too low or being rude can be quite off-putting for sellers.

4. Be Open
Allow yourself to be spontaneous if you find something you absolutely love. If you go away to think about it, chances are it will be gone by the time you come back.

5. Be Aware
Most people selling antiques are reputable and knowledgeable and are often experts in their field. But do be careful when purchasing antiques online or at garage sales etc.

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Antique Register 1Although there are a lot of church rummage sales this weekend, there is also a long standing antique show being held at the Queens Park arena in New Westminster. The Fraser Valley Antiques Collectible Club (FVACC) is hosting their 22nd Annual Antiques and Collectible Show.

This is a nice show that draws in a unique set of dealers (over 200 tables) to what was once affectionately known as the bottle club show. The show is being organized entirely by the members of the Fraser Valley Antiques Collectible Club. There is a lot of free parking around the arena and it is pretty straight forward to find, but if you are new heading to New Westminster I would suggest you Google Queen’s Park, 3 Avenue, New Westminster and once in the park just follow the signs to the arena.

You can read more about the club and the show in a blog I wrote a few years ago…Digging Up the Past… At the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Show

Admission to the show: $4
April 25-26, 2015
Show hours: Saturday: 9am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 3pm
Queens Park Arena, New Westminster

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Vase2This weekend you might want to check out the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair which is being held at the Kerrisdale Arena (East Blvd at 41st Ave) in Vancouver. The show is offered both on Saturday and Sunday – April 18 & 19 from 10am-5pm. Admission to the show is $7 but if you go to their Facebook Page you can download a $2 off coupon for Sunday. There is no early bird admission for this show.

The is lots of parking in the area but you do need to be careful where you park. This area is highly monitored by parking enforcement and they will tow if you are in a no parking area or if you go over your time. There is a lot beside the arena that is free and part of the community centre, but it does fill up quickly. There is also a paid lot across from the arena but you need to pay for parking over the phone.

This is a great show with lots to see. With over 60 vendors you can find a little of everything. Check out their Web site to see pictures and to learn more about the show.

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Antiques There are a few shows coming up this weekend, March 21 and 22, 2015 that might be worth checking out…especially if it continues to rain. In Vancouver on Sunday, March 22, the 21st Century Flea Market at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive) is always a great way to start the day. Doors open at 10am ($5 admin. fee) but for the eager early birder, you can come in any time after 7am for $20 (kids under 13 come in for free with parents). The benefits of paying the extra money is that you are likely guaranteed a parking spot and you get first dibs on everything as the dealers are unpacking and setting up. I would suggest coming in around 7:30am or 8am as by then most of the dealers will already be done. However, coming in earlier gives you an opportunity to chat with the dealers and find out if they might have what you are looking for. And, anytime before 10am is also nice because you beat the crowds and have time to really see what is on display in each booth. Either way, always a good show to check out.

There are four rooms with over 175 vendors who specialize in everything from shabby chic to 50’s kitsch, collectibles and memorabilia to jewellery, vinyl records, china, folk art and Native art and artifacts. Parking can be a bit stressful. Although it is free, the lot beside the Croatian Cultural Centre gets full early with the early birders. You can park on the street and in the neighbourhood, but do check out the parking signs as they will tow if you park in a no-parking or resident only zone. You can buy lunch and snacks on site, often a great hot meal for a very reasonable price. But being the coffee snob that I am, I would suggest bringing your own coffee (Starbucks and Blenz at Commercial and Broadway). Best to bring cash but there is an ATM on site if you run out (however the user fee is quite high). Gale Pirie will also be on site to do verbal appraisals for $10/item (or 3 for $25). This is a great option if you have something at home that you are not sure what it might be worth or where it comes from.

If you are in the mood for a road trip, you might want to head out to Abbotsford to the AIndustrial Chic 2ntique Expo at the Tradex Exhibition Centre (1190 Cornell Street). This is a two day show: Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. The admin. fee is $7 and lots of free parking (kids under 13 come in for free with parents) . This is a nice show with dealers coming in from around British Columbia and some even come in from other provinces. What I like about the larger two day shows is that you will find larger items including some exquisite furniture from a variety of eras. Last time I was there I also noticed of lot of very cool industrial pieces that were the perfect blend of functionality and rustic charm. But like other antique shows, there will be several other items to discover including china, silver, jewellery, vintage and retro clothing/accessories, folk art, memorabilia, collectibles, Native art and artifacts, and so much more.

There is also an antique identification clinic on site, $12 per item. If you plan to be there for a while you can have lunch and snacks onsite and there is also an ATM machine for those extra purchases (but be prepared for high user fee). Again, I would suggest bringing cash but some dealers may be able to accommodate credit cards. If you are not sure how to get there, check out their Web site for directions and transportation options.

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