a.circle-widget-trigger svg { display: none; } a.circle-widget-trigger { background-image: url( https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/63e253c5214088e885dc9539/6470e96a73d05fa30985020c_people-group-solid.svg; });
Historic site in downtown Toronto gets a new vintage-forward market
Kealan Sullivan, vintage dealer and founder of Sunday Variety Market, outside the iconic St. Lawrence Market South Building. Photo courtesy Kealan Sullivan

Historic site in downtown Toronto gets a new vintage-forward market


Antique shopping returns to Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market as Kealan Sullivan, founder of Hippie Market, brings the inaugural Sunday Variety Market to life June 18

A familiar yet altogether new ritual for shoppers kicks off Sun. June 18 in downtown Toronto with the launch of Sunday Variety Market, the latest brainchild of vintage dealer and serial market host Kealan Sullivan.

For 31 years, Sundays were synonymous with antique shopping in the city’s historic St. Lawrence Market, and Sunday Variety Market aims to bring back the vintage vibes — with a twist.

Despite their shared fondness for the day of the week, this event is not associated with the Sunday Antique Market that previously occupied the white tent at St. Lawrence Market. (That market is still alive and well after vacating the property last May to move to neighbouring Mississauga, with the next event happening on Sat. June 24).

The “variety” in Sunday Variety Market is what makes this one different: It’s not just for vintage lovers or antique hunters.

Yes, there will be vintage home decor and vintage clothing, but Kealan’s also curated a mix of makers, florists, bakers, art dealers and food vendors so that there’s something for everyone.

Catering to a bigger demographic

Kealan has spent her entire 25-year vintage career selling and hosting markets, including Hippie Market, which she founded in 2017, in the city’s west end.

She expects Sunday Variety will draw a more diverse crowd since it’s in the centre of the city and easily accessible by subway — and simultaneously introduce a new way of shopping to people who may be strolling around the popular neighbourhood but not otherwise interested in vintage and antiques.

“Maybe all you leave with is a little artisanal strawberry tart, but you come home with this energetic inspiration because you’ve been able to touch and see patterns and clothing and art and things that people are making,” Kealan says.

“That’s what this market is about more than what it has to offer. It’s a whole experience.”

Explore vintage markets in your area

View event calendar

She designed Sunday Variety Market to emulate the city-centre markets of Paris and New York where antiques, vintage, oddities and collectibles converge alongside bakeries, florists and live music.

Kealan, who spoke to The Vintage Seeker last fall about the rising trend of vintage markets, says this all-in-one market experience is the next logical step post-pandemic, since consumers are trying to balance more activities and busy schedules.

“You have to build interactively with your customer base and pay attention to that,” she says, noting that she shares the same desire for a central shopping experience. “When I take time or make the effort to go somewhere, I want to go to a place that inspires me and excites me, all in one spot.”

All ages and vendors welcome

Kealan has long made space for newbie and small vendors at Hippie Market, but recognizes that the fashion-forward event series has cultivated a highly stylish, younger following that, despite its inclusive mandate, might not appeal to a wide range of shoppers.

That’s why she’s purposefully curated Sunday Variety Market to appeal to a cross-generational audience — and vendor list.

“I hope that the vendors feel that they can broaden their offering and broaden their price points, and be able to show off in a different way at a market that's not established itself as a niche market.”

More than 50 vendors will be showcasing their wares, eats and treats set to the sounds of a DJ set from her husband Alistair Kyle at the inaugural event, with future summer dates to be announced.

Kealan says she is most thrilled to continue building community in the city, and to give consumers more opportunities to support local entrepreneurs.

“It’s not about me — it’s about all of the people doing this in our city, in our province, in our country and beyond,” she says.

“I’m just happy that I’m part of it, that all of us are part of it.”

On that note, you can make it a double-header on Sunday, June 18: Stop by the Sunday Variety Market from 11 am to 5 pm under the white tent at the corner of Jarvis Street and The Esplanade. Then hop the subway to Broadview Station and take the shuttle bus to Evergreen Brickworks, where the Ontario Vintage Market is happening 10 am to 3 pm. For a list of vintage events taking place in Toronto and across Canada, visit our events calendar.

A fresh take on all things old.
Get our free newsletters

Join our seller support network

Become a member
Become a member