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Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia’

Prohibition Era Postcard Courtesy of Christian Laub

It is a chilly Saturday morning, but at least it’s not raining. Which of course for Vancouverites like Christian Laub and Mike Sidic this is a welcomed change. They have been keeping a close eye on weather reports all week. As a new generation of bottle collectors, they are also part of the larger community of diggers—modern day explorers who go out and dig for old bottles on empty lots and construction sites. They have already had to postpone this dig a few times, but today is a good day. They are excited to see what this empty corner lot in the heart of downtown Vancouver will reveal.

According to Laub, every bottle has a story and this is what draws him to each new dig. “You just never know what you will find,” says Laub. “The reward is in digging and finding something new and learning the history.” He is a collector at heart who also sees himself as a historian and an explorer, and does not mind the hard, and often messy, work that goes into bottle digging. With a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, as well as a passion for photography and sharing historical details, he has garnered a large and loyal following on his Instagram account @vancityrelics.

“I was inherently born with the collector bug,” says Laub. “When I was four, I was already collecting beer bottle caps from the side of the road when I would go for walks with my mother. It wasn’t always bottle related, but I have always had this urge to collect things.” Laub says he went through a variety of collections including a rock collection, “But that ended when I came to the realization that there were just too many rocks in the world and I didn’t want a collection that was infinite.”

Drawn to adventures, finding treasures, and secret missions, it is no surprise that Laub’s early heroes were Indiana Jones, Tin Tin and James Bond. “I grew up on acreage surrounded by abandoned buildings,” Laub says, “and would often find myself crawling under those buildings looking for old cans, and whatever else I could find.” In terms of actual bottle collecting, it likely started when he was a pre-teen and would go exploring with his father in the B.C. Interior. “We would go out on old logging roads and occasionally I would come across an old bottle in the forest or an old tin can that I would end up keeping,” says Laub.

However, up until recently, he only considered himself a “surface finder,” looking around areas that had history but didn’t actually do any digging. “I only started going out on pre-planned digs about four years ago,” says Laub. “Finding places that had to be dug was a whole new step for me.” Over the years he had heard stories about people digging in the area which eventually became the construction site for Expo ’86. However, at that time, he believed that, “The digging days were over and there wasn’t anything left to be dug up.”

Early straight-sided Whistle Soda Bottle. Photo Credit: Christian Laub

It wasn’t until he moved to Vancouver when things changed. “Someone was talking to me about a guy selling bottles at the Vancouver Flea Market,” says Laub. “And he had mentioned that he had dug them up near the market. So I started to do research and found some places I could dig, and then got lucky.”

Laub’s first official dig was in an area in Vancouver well known to the bottle digging community called False Creek Flats. Up until 1915, it had been a tidal marsh with a network of streams and creeks until two railway companies had it filled in so that they could build their terminals.

For his day job, Laub works as a location scout for the local film industry, which has helped to refine his research and map reading skills (often overlapping historical maps with current maps). “I plotted my first dig out on Google Earth,” says Laub, “and found a spot that I knew had history and that had not really been touched by time.” Soon after digging his first test hole, he was digging up bottles from 1928 and 1935. “I also dug up a beautiful ceramic double sided sign for a paint company,” says Laub. “It had survived quite well in the ground. I kept that one.” He has been going out on digs ever since.

Initially Laub went out on his digs alone. He would post his finds on social media, which quickly began to attract many followers. “When I started out I was what you would call a lone wolf,” says Laub. “I dug alone but then through my Instagram account I started meeting other lone wolves and you get talking and eventually it got to the point where we started to trade locations and then we started to dig together.” Now he rarely goes out on digs alone.

These days Laub is more selective about what he keeps from his digs. In particular, he is mostly interested in early soda pop and distillery bottles from Vancouver. However according to Laub, “The majority of bottles found are from the U.S. or from the U.K., and local bottles make up less than 25% of what we find.” Which makes those bottles even more enticing.

One local distillery that he has been quite fascinated by is United Distillers Ltd. (UDL). According to Laub, “You will get a lot of bottle collectors who won’t give those bottles the time of day because they are not that old and are machine made, which means they were mass-produced. But, I love them because of Vancouver’s history with prohibition.” As a port city, Vancouver played an integral role in prohibition and smuggling alcohol to the U.S. Although B.C. had prohibition, it was one of the first provinces to dismiss it, only lasting from 1917 to 1920.

“One of the sad things with prohibition,” according to Laub, “is that there isn’t much documented in terms of history as local media thought it was a blemish.” As result, he has found very little information on his collection of UDL bottles. “Jason Vanderhill, is one of the only people who has done proper documentation,” says Laub. Vanderhill, a writer, photographer, and digital curator of historical ephemera in Vancouver, has published two books on the topic and has included some of Laub’s prized collection.

Bottles (1910-1920) from recent dig at False Creek Flats. Photo credit: Christian Laub.

For today’s dig, Laub is hopeful about what he and Sidic might find as he dug up a few “breadcrumbs” at an earlier site visit. According to Laub, “These are items that could potentially lead to a cache of bottles and can sometimes even help to date the site.”

They have come well prepared, ready to spend the day digging if necessary. They have hard hats, high visibility vests, steel-toe boots, gloves, shovels and even probes. Although Sidic, who has a proper metal probe, jokingly refers to Laub’s makeshift probe as a “BBQ tiki torch probe.”

They approach each site with caution and respect. “We dig in a manner so that it doesn’t look like we were ever here,” says Laub who also mentions that they will fill up every hole before they leave. After a quick visual scan, and trusting their instincts, they each chose to begin digging near the property’s edge, next an older graffiti-covered building.

Instead of digging a hole from top down, they decide to “undermine” and go in from the side, which they feel will make it easier for them to find “pockets” of potential bottles with their probes. “This is a different kind of digging,” says Laub. “You need to have a lot of patience and you need to be careful, as the hole could collapse.”

Laub and Sidic at recent dig in Vancouver.

Although they are working together, there is some healthy competition to see “who will get on the board first.” Turns out it is Laub, through his careful probing he finds a “corker,” which is a playful name for a corked bottle. Stamped with Johnson and Co., he guesses this small medicine bottle to be quite old, which makes them hopeful for what else they might find. They continue to dig for a few more hours and find 30 to 40 bottles, but mostly what they call “slicks,” “commons,” or “snotters.” These are less interesting to collectors as they are not embossed.

Although they believed this site went back to the 1890s, there was no evidence through what they dug up. The oldest bottles they found were from the 1920s. This was a bit disappointing, especially since not long ago another digger found the ultimate “dream find” and “trophy bottle” of a Standing Black Bear Ginger Beer bottle (early 1900s) in an empty lot nearby. However, Laub did take home two embossed beer bottles and a 1920’s 12-sided applied top Heinz vinegar bottle.

Despite only unearthing a few treasures, Laub and Sidic are not discouraged. They love this process and will continue going out on digs and making history accessible through what they find and post on social media. “Once construction begins on a site,” says Laub, “there will be one less spot where we can dig and find out more about Vancouver’s history.”

You can follow both Laub (@vancityrelics) and Sidic (@findersclub) on Instagram.

Reprinted with permission from Canadian Antiques & Vintage magazine. For subscription information to Canada’s only national antiques and vintage publication, please call toll-free 1.866.333.3397

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Multiple owners across more than a hundred years. A logger’s lodge way back. A lodge for tourists today. And, now an informal museum too.

Chute Lake Lodge “Museum”

As we drive up the steep and winding gravel road, we can’t help but wonder what we will find when we arrive at our destination. It seems like a long way to go for a story and to see where it all began. But, here we are making our way to the rustic, and rather remote, Chute Lake Lodge. Located in the South Okanagan in British Columbia, about 100 kilometers up in the backcountry past Naramata, the lodge and its now defunct “museum” is what brought us all together for this journey. That and our curiosity to see what treasures we might find.

It all started a few months back, when my friend Elaine, who lives in the area, called and said she had met this antiques and collectible dealer named Blaine Gibson who had just purchased several interesting artifacts from a man who had salvaged the items from an old logger’s lodge. “There might be a fun story there,” said Elaine, knowing that I was on the hunt for something with a “West Coast” twist. Intrigued by the idea of what might still be left to salvage from a remote lodge, I decided to do some digging. And, I won’t lie. I was also fascinated with the notion of talking to a weathered old salvager and his seasoned dealer friend, Blaine.

Turns out the salvager is not old at all, but a 30-year-old man who already established himself as a well-respected salvager in the area. As for Blaine, he is only 26 but has been actively pursuing his passion for buying and selling for the past five years and is now making his living doing this work full time. So like the road up to Chute Lake, this story is already hitting some interesting turns.

Chute Lake Lodge

The drive up to the lodge takes about 30 minutes once we leave the main road, just past Naramata. Elaine is driving and we have invited Blaine along for the adventure. We met Blaine yesterday at his home in Summerland. I had arranged to interview him to gather background information for the story. Although only in his 20s, Blaine is an old soul and a historian at heart.

Blaine loves learning about the providence of items and has already developed impeccable instincts for sourcing rare and valuable collectibles, and then finding the right buyers. He currently sells online, at the Penticton SPCA Flea Market and has a stall at the Carousel Collective in Summerland.

“I had posted online that I was looking to buy antiques and collectibles and this salvage guy responded,” said Blaine as we sat in his backyard. “I have all this stuff to sell the guy said. He mentioned that he originally had six ‘sea cans’ full of stuff, but now only had two left. I guess I was getting the leftovers.” By leftovers, Blaine was referring to one shipping container filled with a vintage jukebox and boxes stuffed to the brim with old bottles and Canadian Pacific railway lanterns and other railway memorabilia. The other container was full of boxes of old tools, “And 20 boxes of insulators that I have dibs on,” Blaine says with a smile.

While checking out the two remaining containers, Blaine managed to purchase a few items such as a small pistol, which the salvager initially thought was a replica. However, Blaine was not convinced because it was covered with elaborate etchings. “I brought it home and did some research and found out that it was an original black powder pistol and even though it was broken, I was able to sell it for $300 to someone locally.”

He spoke of his other purchases with enthusiasm, but when asked if he had been up to the lodge, he said no. He and his partner had only recently relocated back to the Okanagan and have not had much time to explore. As a result, we thought it would be fun to have him join us on the drive up to the lodge.

Kettle Valley Steam Train

As were speaking, we heard the rumble of a train approaching and then, as the shiny black steam engine hauling passenger trains passed above us on the ridge, it announced its arrival with a distinctive whistle. “This is the Kettle Valley Steam Train,” said Blaine as we all waved to the people who waved back to us.

Now a tourist attraction that runs on the ten remaining miles of the track, the train used to be part of much larger railway line that connected the Okanagan to the rest of British Columbia and is an important part of the area’s history, and this story.

Chute Lake was once a critical stop on the railway line in the early 1900s. As this was the halfway point between Kelowna and Penticton the steam engine, pulling both passengers and freight at the time, would need to stop there to replenish its water supply. At the time there was an already established sawmill on site along with a bunkhouse for loggers and at times railway workers.

People came and went, and along the way, many of their belongings were left behind. Items were stored, and sometimes sold, in a building that would eventually become known as the “museum.” Over the years, it grew and became the home for old sawmill machinery and tools, as well as items from the railway.

The passenger service ended in the 60s, and by the late 80s, the freight service also concluded. Most of the railway’s original route has since been converted into a popular cyclist trail, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which is part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Doreen and Gary Reed purchased the property in the 70s and spent forty years transforming the lodge, cabins and surrounding area into a popular resort for outdoor enthusiasts, a labour of love for them both. As it happens, Gary Reed was also an avid collector, especially of electrical insulators. Makes sense as he spent many years before working as a lineman for BC Tel, the local telephone company.

Unfortunately, the Reeds had to sell their beloved resort because of health reasons a few years back. By that point, they had amassed quite the collection of antiques and memorabilia, many of which were kept on display in the “museum” and throughout the property.

As part of preparing to put their property up for sale, the Reeds made a tough decision to sell many of the contents from the “museum” to the salvager, but wanted to keep some on the site to remind people of its history in the area. In a 2013 article in the Penticton Herald by Craig Henderson, Reed was quoted as saying, “I have always felt the collectibles should stay here on the mountain. Visitors love coming up to see the old stuff. I hope a future buyer will keep the museum and the antique store going.”

Once we arrive at the lodge, we are surprised to see how busy it is. There are several cars in the parking lot, including an old rusted Ford truck left as a nostalgic reminder of a bygone era. In fact, scattered throughout the property, like a well-curated exhibition, are corroded tractors, machinery and tools—all left behind to tell the story of a once busy sawmill and railway stop.

The lodge itself has an idyllic and charming feel. Staff direct us to the restaurant where the lodge owner, Kelly-Rae Kenyon has set aside some historical books for me to go through. Kenyon, who purchased the resort from the Reeds in 2018, is also quite passionate about maintaining the historical integrity of the site.

“I don’t plan to tear down the museum,” says Kenyon, “I do find it adds that extra rustic charm to the place and it is important for me to keep the history and buildings the same as much as possible. Guests do enjoy viewing them.” When asked if she has any favourite items, she says she likes it all but specifically appreciates the old wood stoves that were in use right up until 2018. “I also love the insulators,” says Kenyon. “As does my daughter. She wants to decorate her room with them.”

With the exposed wooden beams, thick log walls, and worn wooden plank floors, there is no mistaking that what is now the restaurant was once an important room in the logger’s bunkhouse. After a tasty lunch of Rubin sandwiches and an Italian wedding soup made from scratch, we head out to explore the property.

Our first stop is the “museum.” The lean-to type structure is larger than we expected and there are old saws, ladders, buckets, pulleys, drill bits and so much more, literally coming out of the rafters. It needs some work, as it sustained some damage during a winter storm, but for the most part, it still stands as a wonderful backdrop for Reed’s impressive collection and a tribute to the lodge’s history as a working sawmill in the backwoods of British Columbia.

Blaine is like a kid in a candy store, looking up and down, and all around, with awe and admiration. “Did you see that insulator,” Blaine says as he takes several pictures through one of the dusty windows. “It’s huge. I have never seen one that big before.” In fact, the insulator is just one of many found around the property—in various shapes, sizes and colours. I imagine that Gary Reed would be thrilled to know that his collection of vintage tools and equipment, as well as his cherished insulators, continue to inspire and thrill people of all ages.

Reprinted with permission from Canadian Antiques & Vintage magazine. For subscription information to Canada’s only national antiques and vintage publication, please call toll-free 1.866.333.3397

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 “When I found this,” whispered Gerry Davie, “I knew that it would be one of my most important finds.” And, when he showed it to me, I knew his story needed to be told, but in his own way and time. Gerry, a highly respected antiques and collectibles dealer in Vancouver who specialized in ephemera, was a regular at many of the local flea markets and antique shows. Known for his good instincts and gumption, Gerry was also quite the raconteur with a loyal following.

He had initially reached out in 2013 while at Vancouver’s Retro Antiques and Collectible Fair. “I have a collection of amazing photographs,” Gerry said. “And I think it will make for a real interesting story to tell.”

Gerry invited me to his house in North Vancouver to view the collection in person. The exterior of his home, which he shared with his wife Laura, was ordinary looking. Inside­–a different story. Years of buying and selling antiques gave their home a cozy museum-like quality.

A large original framed photograph of the iconic Lions Gate Bridge under construction in the late 1930s was just one of many pieces of art that caught my eye as I entered their home. Next came the solid wood craftsman living room furniture. With a classic design informed by its history, it was sturdy and a bit clunky, but incredibly inviting and comfortable. It reminded me of Gerry. He was big and robust looking, but once you knew him you were immediately drawn in by his kind and gentle nature, his passion for the past, and his ability to tell a great story.

Tucked away by the wall was a basket full of well-worn vintage wooden buoys. Laura said that it was not unusual for Gerry to take on odd jobs or come home with strange stuff. “Like the time I took a condemned ship back to Taiwan,” laughed Gerry, “It was a dramatic comedy but that is for a different story.” Laura was a bit more pragmatic, “Once, in the early 80s, he purchased all the equipment from a YMCA Camp up at Stave Lake in BC. He bought the entire camp, 10 canoes, stoves, tents, Melmac dishes, food, and stainless steel appliances. Most of it he would eventually sell and find a new home for, but not this stuff from Hanne Wassermann.”

Around the corner, on a large oak table were several tongue and groove oak drawers filled with layers of letters, cards, books, and memorabilia—all meticulously preserved and organized. It was in his kitchen, however, that I truly began to understand the magnitude and importance of his prized collection.

In a handcrafted cedar box on a small pine table were hundreds of vintage black and white photographs from the 1920s and 1930s, each carefully separated by pieces of acid-free paper. Ready with coffee, notebook, and a tape recorder, I settled in to hear the full story.

“Twenty-seven years ago the phone the rings,” Gerry said. “It was 1986.” He remembers because he wrote it down. “I answered the phone and there was this guy who said that he had heard that I hauled stuff away. He was clearing a house and needed stuff taken to the dump.” At the time, Gerry was busy and not in a hurry to take on another job. 

“I am not sure how that guy got my phone number,” recalled Gerry. Back then, Gerry who was 38 and married with three kids, did odd jobs with his pick-up truck to earn extra money. “I was doing another job at the time and tried to put the guy off for two weeks but ended up going the next day as he was quite insistent.” When he arrived, the man had everything packed up and ready to go. Gerry charged him $50 for the job.

“I loaded the stuff up into the truck to take away,” said Gerry, “but being a good scrounger, I brought it home first. To my surprise I found cut glass perfume bottles with 14k gold tops, a gramophone in the shape of Kodak camera, and a beautiful pocket watch with numbers that rotated around the hands.” Gerry loved the watch and kept it, but sold everything else. He was just starting to get into buying and selling.

“A few days later, the man called again,” Gerry said. “The guy asked if I would take away another load…this time everything was in garbage bags and he asked if I could take it all for whatever I could sell it for.”

The man, Gerry found out, was the nephew of the woman who had lived in the house for many years. She had recently passed away (predeceased by her husband) and he had come from New York to deal with her estate. In a hurry to clear out the house, he likely did not pay close attention to what he was packing up.

Gerry on the other hand, had learned to go through things before throwing them away. In these garbage bags, were hundreds of signed photographs, letters from European nobility, cards, manuscripts and so much more that represented a snapshot into the life of a woman who had left Austria and eventually made her way to British Columbia (BC) in the early 1940s. Her name was Hanne Wassermann Walker.

“Once I got all the stuff, and over the initial shock, I put it away and then every six months or so I would go through it. And, every time I realized how beautiful and special this collection was. I could also see how innovative and creative the woman was.”

Gerry did not know what to think about the signed photographs, which were mostly of Hanne in different poses, but he knew that they were important and spent a lot of time researching them. Turns out the photographer was Trude Fleischmann, one of the leading portrait photographers of celebrities, intellectuals, and artists (e.g., Karl Kraus, Albert Einstein) of that time. There were also other photographs by well-known European photographers such as Rudolf Koppitz and Dora Kallmus (Madame D’Ora). Why the man would throw all of this away baffled Gerry, but the nephew likely had no idea about her life before moving to Canada.

Hanne was born Hanne Hermann on May 13, 1892 and grew up in Vienna, Austria where she married her first husband and took his name to become Hanne Wassermann. He died during the First World War but she kept his name. She was a dancer, gymnast, and somewhere along the way ended up modeling for Fleischmann as well as other established photographers in Europe at that time. It would appear that Hanna had led quite the life as a child of privilege and was actively involved in the artistic community.

In the early 40s, Hanne met and married George Walker, an Anglican Minister from England, and they moved to rural Squamish in BC. After a year, they moved to North Vancouver and then finally settled in West Vancouver. “She became trained as a massage therapist,” according to Gerry who found letters written to Hanne from people from all over the world, including the actress Hedy Lamarr and Princess Helena of Greece, thanking her for “treatments.” He also found an unpublished manuscript for her own therapeutic movements “Gymnastik Methode” and metal printing plates for flip cards that she used to teach people her exercises.

Hanne’s life intrigued Gerry, he spoke to people who knew her but they were also unaware of her life in Europe. But what really intrigued Gerry were the photographs. Hundreds of black and white images, mostly of Hanne. Some were of her dancing and exercising, others of her posing, and there was even one of her in the nude.

Gerry learned that these photographs were highly collectible and quite valuable. In 2011, the Wein Museum in Vienna Austria held an art exhibit of Fleischmann’s work called A Self Assured Eye. Gerry and Laura attended the exhibit in person and quickly realized that his collection of signed photographs was substantially larger. It was at that point that he knew it was time to do something.

Initially he wanted to see if an art gallery would be interested in mounting an exhibit, but when that didn’t work Gerry changed course. In 2019 he consigned the entire collection with Bjarne Tokerud (a rare book dealer) who brokered the sale of the entire collection to the University of British Columbia’s Rare Books and Special Collections department.*

“I was shocked when Gerry said he wanted to sell it all,” said Laura. “I had been bugging him for 30 years to find a buyer. But he was finally ready to let it go and was thrilled that it would stay local, and I was happy for him.”

Gerry’s find was indeed special and incredibly important, especially for Gerry and his family. It is a testament to his great instincts, and incredible resourcefulness, that this collection will be preserved and appreciated for years to come. Sadly, Gerry passed away on May 15, 2020. However, like Hanne’s photographs and memorabilia, Gerry’s legacy and stories will also now live on.

Reprinted with permission from Canadian Antiques & Vintage magazine. For subscription information to Canada’s only national antiques and vintage publication, please call toll-free 1.866.333.3397.

*The entire collection is available to be viewed at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, but due to COVID it can only be accessed remotely at this time.

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Coast Consignment

With everyone spending more time at home these days, deep spring cleaning may have come early for many. As part of this process you may want to make some changes within your home. Whether you are looking to downsize and get rid of some things, or looking to find something new, you might want to consider checking out our local home consignment stores.

Although many stores are currently not open to the public due to COVID-19, most are finding ways to keep their businesses alive by taking appointments or selling online via their web sites or social media sites. This is a tough time for everyone, but local small businesses are being hit particularly hard.

This blog post is my way of creating awareness of these businesses and encouraging those that are able, and in need of their services, to reach out to them. They also need our support during these difficult times.

**I have included store updates as of July 2020 re: Covid-19 closures buy you may want to visit their respective Web sites for more information as we move forward.

CHAMPAGNE TASTE
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Until further notice consignment by APPOINTMENT only.

Champagne Taste offers a unique blend of both new, custom furnishings and curated quality consignment for the home. They have partnered with local manufacturers, wholesalers and importers to offer quality, custom furnishings at fair pricing while still sourcing well-made and transitional pieces from good homes.

Champagne Taste
1101 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC
(604) 524-6068
info@champagnetaste.ca
http://www.champagnetaste.ca

Check out their Web site or Facebook and Instagram for pictures of what they currently have in stock.

COAST CONSIGNMENT (New name but same owners)
Monday: 9:00am – 4:00pm by Appointment Only
Tuesday to Saturday 11:00am – 5:30pm
Sunday: Closed

Coast Consignment’s (Previously known as Consignment Canada) large showroom features a mix of modern, mid-century, transitional, high-end, unique and eclectic used and new furniture, home décor and jewellery.

Coast Consignment
171 Pemberton Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
(604) 980-1110
info@coastconsignment.com
https://coastconsignment.com/

Much of their stock is online on their Web site or Facebook and Instagram and can be purchased via phone (604-760-6027) or email info@coastconsignment.com

CONSIGN iT!
Monday – CLOSED
Tuesday 11am- 5pm
Wednesday – Friday 10am – 7pm
Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday 11am-5pm
(may be closed holiday weekends)

Consign iT! is a home consignment store with an extensive selection of furniture and housewares; antique and some contemporary.

Consign iT!
111-2331 Marpole Ave
Port Coquitlam, BC
(604) 475-2075
consignitbc@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/consignitbc

Can find a listing of items they currently have for sale by visiting their Web site or via www.dealios.ca, as well as on Instagram and their Facebook Page.

THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
Mon – Fri – 4Saturday – – 4Sunday – Closed

The Carriage House is an upscale consignment store specializing in unique, one-of-a-kind items that range from traditional to contemporary to antique.

The Carriage House
104 E Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 215-0187
carriagehouse@telus.net 
http://www.carriagehouseconsign.com/

You can find pictures of what they have for sale on their Web site or on Instagram.

THE SELLUTION QUALITY CONSIGNMENT FURNITURE
Open 7 days/week 11:00am to 6:00pm.
Consignment by appointment, see website for details.

Diverse and ever changing selection of unique collectibles and vintage furniture and antiques.

The Sellution Quality Consignment Furniture
3604 Main St.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 876-4517
consignment@thesellution.ca
https://thesellution.ca/

You can find pictures of what they have for sale on their Web site, Facebook page or on Instagram.

WOW Interiors
Open during regular business hours. See their website for details.
They buy, sell and consign high quality, luxury, authentic vintage furniture, art and decor.

WOW Interiors
1823 W 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 801-6744
sales@wowinteriors.ca
https://wowinteriors.ca/

Can find pictures of what they are selling on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

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There is so much to love about springtime in Vancouver, but for me it is all about the the various secondhand shopping events. From Church rummage sales to flea markets and antique sales…this is a wonderful time for those of us who enjoy the hunt for that special something or even just a practical everyday item. Whether you like to refer to it as secondhand, gently used, previously loved, vintage, or antique — it is something that you are keeping out of a landfill and re-purposing in your own way.

Here are the sales that I am currently aware of:

Gracie’s Thrift Store
Every Second Saturday, 10am to 2pm
April 20th, May 4th, etc.
803 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (off of Kingsway and 16th)

The East Side Flea
April 6 & 7 (and every other weekend)
Sat/Sun 11am – 5pm
Eastside Studios | 550 Malkin Ave, Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC

Kerrisdale Antiques Fair
Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7, 10am to 5pm $8
Kerrisdale Arena, 5670 East Blvd (@ 41st)
Vancouver, BC

The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market
Saturday April 6 9am to 4pm & Sunday April 7, 10am to 4pm
$6 for one day or $8 both days
The Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre
1190 Cornell Street
Abbotsford, BC

West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 7, 9am to 3pm
695 – 21st Street
West Vancouver, BC

Century House Association Thrift Sale 
Saturday April 13, 10:00am to 2:00 pm
Century House, 620 Eighth Street
New Westminster, BC

Vancouver Flea Market – Toy Show
Sunday April 14th, 11am to 4:30pm $3.00
703 Terminal Ave
Vancouver, BC

Cloverdale Antique Show & Picker’s Swap Meet
Saturday, April 20th, 9am to 3pm $5 (early birds 8am-9am $10)
Cloverdale Agriplex
17798 62 Ave, Surrey, BC

St Mary’s Kerrisdale Rummage Sale
Friday April 26, 5:00pm to 8pm & Saturday April 27, 9:30am to 12noon
2490 West 37th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Fraser Valley Antique and Collectible Club Annual Antique & Collectible Show
Saturday April 27, 9am to 4pm & Sunday April 28 10am to 2pm $5
(early bird Fri Night 5pm-9pm $20 and pass good for whole weekend)
Queens Parks Arena (1st Street and 3rd Ave)
New Westminster BC

Vancouver Welsh Society
Saturday, April 27th, 10am to 2pm Grand Spring Sale
The Cambrian Hall, 215 East 17th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Knox United Annual Thrift Sale
Saturday April 27th, 9am to 2pm
5600 Balaclava Street (just off 41st)
Vancouver, BC

Neptoon Records Semi-annual Spring Record Convention
Sunday, April 28th, 11am to 5pm, $3
Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial (At 16th)
Vancouver, BC

West Vancouver United Church’s Elegant Flea Market
Saturday May 4, 8:30am to 2pm
2062 Esquimalt Avenue (at 21st)
West Vancouver, BC

Pacific Spirit United Church’s Books & Bistro
Saturday May 4, 10am to 2pm
2195 West 45th Ave.
Vancouver, BC

St. George’s School Fair
Saturday May 4, 10am to 4pm
3851 West 29th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday May 5, 10am to 3pm  $5 (Early birds 7am-10am $20)
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive (at 16th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC

St. Philips Rummage Sale
Saturday May 25, 9:00am to noon
3737 W. 27th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (just west of Dunbar)

Vancouver Flea Market – Antique Show
Sunday May 26,  9am to 4:30pm $3.00
703 Terminal Ave
Vancouver, BC

NEW Bizaare Bazaar
Vintage Clothing Sale
Sunday May 26, 11am to 4pm $5 (Cash at Door)
(Early bird 10am $10 Book online at www.smoc.ca)

Hycroft, 1489 McRae Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Retro Design & Antiques Fair
Sunday June 9, 10am to 3pm  $5 (Early birds 7am-10am $20)
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive (at 16th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC

12th Annual Audio & Record Garage Sale
Sunday June 16th – FATHER’S DAY 9am to 3pm Free
Innovative Audio – 13255 78th Avenue
Surrey, BC

 

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At any given point I usually have at least three or four cookbooks in a stack by my bedside. This week’s selection includes Shelley Adams’ Whitewater Cooks: pure, simple and real creations from the Fresh Tracks Café, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Patricia Wells’ Vegetable Harvest, and my latest fun acquisition, Edna Staebler’s Food that Really Schmecks. Mennonite Country Cooking.

I tend to read cookbooks like other people read magazines. At night, and sometimes in the morning, I will go through each of them slowly, hovering over beautiful photographs and interesting stories, usually marking off pages with bits of scrap paper or sticky notes; highlighting the recipes I want to try next and making notes of some helpful tips and techniques. After a few days I will carefully put them back in their designated bookshelf or stack, and pick out a few more.

They are my escape. But also, my inspiration.

From these books, I have learned to become not only a better cook, but a more relaxed one. Cooking has become my way of de-stressing – a mindful practice that starts long before I enter the kitchen. It begins with the hunt for new and interesting cookbooks. And by new, I mean new to me. I prefer to find cookbooks in thrift stores, garages sales, used bookstores, as well as at garage sales and church rummage sales. I especially like it when someone has already marked off their favourite recipes with notes and suggestions. This way I know which recipes to try first.

I also enjoy attending cookbook launches where the author is present and I can purchase their latest book. I love hearing their stories first hand as well as learning about their personal journey with the publishing process. I am usually the one in the back with my hand up asking a bunch of questions. Which recipes stand out most to you and why? Do you have a favourite cookbook (other than your own), and if so which ones and why?

The last question usually leads me on another hunt if I don’t already have the cookbook they mention. From them I have learned about highly respected cookbook authors such as Patricia Wells, Paula Wolfert and Judy Rodgers. And sometimes the answers are surprising and fun. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Yotam Ottolenghi when he came to Vancouver to promote his latest cookbook Simple. When I asked him what his favourite cookbook was, without hesitation he said “Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat.” I have a few of her other cookbooks, but not this one. So a new mission is afoot!

Yotam Ottolenghi Book Signing 2018

And all of this has further deepened my love affair with cooking and cookbooks.

With so many recipes and cooking information available on the web, I am often asked why I still bother to purchase cookbooks. My answer is simple, I don’t believe that print is dead. Especially when it comes to cookbooks, new and old.

Although you can go online to find just about any recipe, it doesn’t give the whole story. A digital search works just fine when in a hurry as it is efficient and practical, but it lacks the piece that provides the context and the extra bits of information that I love so much. And where would I put my sticky notes?

Working on cataloguing my cookbook collection.

Good cookbooks evoke a sense of place and time, providing us with a picture of how people live. They preserve traditions and recipes, capture stories, and are entertaining. They also encourage us to find our own voice in the kitchen. This has certainly been true for myself.

I will continue to add to my rather large collection of cookbooks while also finding new and wonderful recipes to try. There is always room by my nightstand for at least one more!

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Show us yours and we’ll show you ours. Nearly one in every three people in North America collects something. People collect for pleasure. They also collect to remember, to preserve, to belong, to make sense of the world.”

This is what was written at the entrance of the Museum of Vancouver’s (MOV) exhibit that featured 20 Vancouver collectors and their rather unconventional collections last year. It was a beautifully curated show that invited visitors to enter into the fascinating, and sometimes unusual, world of collectors. Guests could also become part of the show by sharing their own collections on red and white post-it notes that were placed on the walls around the entrance and through a digital display that featured contributions to the hashtag #MyCollectionatMOV.

The show was the brainchild of Viviane Gosselin, the Senior Manager, Curatorial and Curator of Contemporary Culture at MOV. “I have been working in the field for 20 years and meet so many collectors”, says Gosselin. “Collectors are my experts. They know all the details. They have specific knowledge, bridging between public and private knowledge. Museums are always relying on collectors.”

“But because each show takes two to four years to set up”, says Gosselin, “we can’t offer a show or do justice for every collection.” As a result, Gosselin had “collected” several collectors over time. Even though she couldn’t offer each of them a solo exhibit, she believed that “it was worthwhile to pay attention to their world and their passion and doing it as a way to study the phenomenon of collecting.”

This eventually led to the idea of a group exhibit that would explore “the act of collecting, the collector’s vision and the role collections play in building identity, public memory and social connections.” But more specifically, it was meant to potentially provide insight into the questions of why people collect and if private collections affect public consciousness in any way.

When asked which collectors stood out for her, Gosselin had many but highlighted three in particular: Melanie Talkington, Rob Frith, and Kyle Seller.

Gosselin was impressed by Talkington and her collection of corsets. “She learned to make corsets by deconstructing them and turned her collection into a viable business.” Talkington, who has been making, selling and collecting corsets for over well 20 years, owns Lace Embrace Atelier, which is located in Vancouver.

From her very first purchase of a red wool corset in 1997 and after years of collecting, it is no surprise that she is considered a corset expert and has one of the largest antique corset collections in the world.

“I now have over 300 antique corsets, hoops, garters, stockings and children’s corsets,” says Talkington. “My collection has shaped my lifestyle. I created a fun and interesting business out of my passion for corsets. It has taken me around the world to work on museum exhibitions, participate in trade shows, and make new acquisitions.”

Sharing her knowledge, and educating others around the many different roles corsets played in our history, continues to be important for Talkington. In 2013, the Louvre Museum in Paris borrowed 40 of her corsets for The Mechanics of Underwear exhibit and plans to make her private collection more accessible to the general public by creating a museum in the back of her retail store.

Another, standout for Gosselin was Rob Frith and his display of vintage concert posters. “You can tell music has played a big part in his life.” And indeed it has.

Rob Frith owns Neptoon Records, Vancouver’s oldest independent record store. Although Frith has several items that he collects, the concert poster collection is one that is near and dear to him. “Music means everything to me. Posters are an important part of that. I have thousands and thousands of posters. Most are from Vancouver, but I have some from all over.”

He acquired his first poster when he was 12 years old. “I was always interested in art, especially art that was interesting and weird. My dad was a builder and had bought a house that had been rented by draft dodgers. He took me to the house to help clear it out and on the walls were several concert posters. I was blown away by the artwork and took them home and put them up on my bedroom wall.”

From then on he started to notice them all around Vancouver. He also went to his first concert when he was in Grade 8 and started to casually buy posters after the shows. Eventually his passion grew to include records. This led to him owning a record store and creating his own record label. “I have also reissued records and the posters have come in handy for those projects.”

Sharing his collection with a broader audience also matters to Frith. “I feel that this collection is important, it is a historical document. I have let people use my posters for illustrations in books, LP and CD releases, newspapers, magazines, television, and movies.” He has also been scanning images of all of his posters and placing them on his Facebook page.

Kyle Seller is another collector who stood out for Gosselin. Several of his vintage pinball machines and arcade games were on display at the MOV. All were in working condition and people could play some of them for a dollar or less.

Seller bought his first arcade game (Bubble Bobble) when he was 16, and still has it today. His collection has since grown to include around 60 and having to be creative with storage has led him to build a unique career for himself. “With my business, East Van Amusements, I restore pinball machines and rent pop-up arcades in pubs and other establishments around the city.”

According to Seller, the pinball and arcade market has found new life in Vancouver. “There are pinball leagues with regular tournaments and a massive culture for collecting.” All of this is good news for Seller as he continues to find new and exciting ways to be a part of that community and grow a business that fuels his passion.

In terms of why she thinks people collect, Gosselin suggests that it is related to how people see themselves. “It is tied to their identity and is an identity building process. As you build your identity, you are building yourself. They are always in that process of building, selecting and following their passion. Starts with intuition and interest but then you become more knowledgeable. And you get to know yourself better in relation to different topics.”

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Seahawk Auctions held its 63rd auction last spring on March 19th, 2017 at the Engineers Auditorium in Burnaby, British Columbia. Although attendance at the auction was down slightly, their online presence was quite good with 125 bidding online. According to Seahawk’s CEO, Bill Neville, “the lower numbers at the actual auction may have been due to spring break and that other antique shows were also being held on the same day.”

There were about 375 items up for auction and those attending in person were privy to a few extra pieces that were not listed online. Although they are still finalizing all the sales from the day, Neville estimates that total sales so far at around $120,000.

Some of the auction highlights for Neville included at 19th Century Plains beaded pipe bag with different geometric designs on each side as well as a 19th Century Plains beaded belt and belt pouch with geometric designs and brass tacks. “Both had very nice bead work,” says Neville “and it is not often that we see the belt and pouch together, they tend to get separated over time.” Both did quite well at the auction, with the pipe bag going for $1,800 and the belt with the pouch being sold for $3,500.

In general Neville feels that the market for harder to find items, like the beaded belt with the pouch and totems by Ellen Neel, continue to do well and the more rare obscure items like the Dick Hawkins totem, are even doing better. However, according to Neville, “middle of the road items, such as baskets with some damage, are not doing as well. Collectors are just not as interested. In the past these utilitarian items did quite well, even with a bit of damage, but not so much these days.” As a result the market is more saturated and they don’t move as quickly.

And every once in a while, something totally unique crosses their path that doesn’t quite fit what they normally sell but is still considered quite special. For Jeff Harris, from Westwillow Antiques, this was a collection of RCMP memorabilia that included three 19th century items collected by Constable P.M. Rickard of the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP). There was a buckle, a RNWMP vest pin, and a pair of spurs and a horse whip with the Canadian Crest. According to Harris these items came from Constable Rickard’s great granddaughter. But what truly impressed Harris was that these were all purchased by a local RCMP officer who actually collects RCMP items. “Not sure how he found out about them as this is certainly not what this auction is known for,” says Harris “we almost expected these items to disappear into obscurity but there is a real sense of gratification and feeling of success when these types of items find the proper home of a collector who will really enjoy them.” Together they sold for $425.

On a different and much sadder note, the West Coast is mourning the loss of a world renowned and gifted artist. Beau Dick, who was a master carver, Indigenous activist, and Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief from the ‘Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, passed away on March 27th. Several pieces of his work have been featured in past Seahawk auctions, leaving quite an impression with Jeff Harris who knew him well. “His work was always well respected, especially by carvers. He not only had a hand for carving but his painting ability was perfect, he had a steady hand. He will be admired for many years to come. His greatness will be rediscovered over and over by the pieces that he has done.”

“He was a great carver who passed away way too young,” says Neville. “Of all the carvers we will remember him forever.” Harris agrees and goes on to say “He was quite the character and had mastered the shamanism of his culture. He was born with forms and shapes in his mind…he was a natural. I still felt that he had a lot in him to give. He had that magic to always be amazing. He knew a lot of the myths and stories and deeply understood them, and this informed his work.” Dick was only 61 when he passed away.

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It is that glorious time of year when many of the local churches and community centres have their annual spring rummage and thrift sales. Here are the dates for the ones that I know about so far.

West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 23 from 9am to 3pm
West Vancouver Ice Arena
786 – 22nd Street
West Vancouver, BC

Knox United Annual Thrift Sale
Friday April 28th, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9am to 12noon
5600 Balaclava Street (just off 41st)
Vancouver, BC

St Mary’s Kerrisdale Rummage Sale
Friday, April 28, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9:30am to 12noon
2490 West 37th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

St. Philips Rummage Sale
Saturday April 29, 9:00am to noon
3737 W. 27th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (just west of Dunbar)

Gracie’s Thrift Store
Saturday April 29th, 10am to 2pm (and every other Saturday)
803 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (off of Kingsway and 16th)

West Vancouver United Church’s Elegant Flea Market
Saturday May 6, 8:30am to 2pm
2062 Esquimalt Avenue (at 21st)
West Vancouver, BC

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday May 7, 10am to 3pm  $5
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive (at 16th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC

The East Side Flea
May 19-21 (and every other weekend)
Friday 6pm – 10pm, Sat/Sun 11am – 5pm
1024 Main Street (Ellis Building)
Vancouver, BC

South Granville Senior’s Centre Spring Bazaar
Sat. June 3, 10:00am – 2:30pm
1420 West 12th Ave.,
Vancouver, BC
A $7 soup & sandwich lunch will be served from 11:30-1:00

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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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