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Toronto antique market returns Nov. 26 with sold-out show; move ‘right decision’ says owner
Photo: Rachel Claire/Pexels

Toronto antique market returns Nov. 26 with sold-out show; move ‘right decision’ says owner


The famed downtown market returns, this time to neighbouring Mississauga

As Toronto’s Sunday Antique Market prepares to host its first event in a new space this month, founder Marlene Cook says she couldn’t be happier with her choice to move the long-running show out of the downtown core.

“We are sold out at 138 tables for the Nov. 26 show,” she says. “A lot of the [vendors] who called me hadn’t wanted to go downtown. This was 100 per cent the right decision.”

The Nov. 26 market — a holiday special held on a Saturday — boasts 57 per cent more tables than the downtown markets did during COVID, Cook says.

The market’s new permanent home is the Small Arms Inspection Building at 1352 Lakeshore Rd. E. in neighbouring Mississauga, Ont.

Starting Jan. 15, 2023, markets will resume once a month on Sundays.

Downtown ‘wasn’t conducive’ anymore

The city centre had become an increasingly difficult place to host the market, says Cook.

When she decided to shutter Sunday Antique Market operations in May, constant road closures and vandalism were plaguing the neighbourhood where the Sunday Antique Market ran for 31 years. (Most recently, on Oct. 31, 10 local businesses had their storefront windows smashed in, which BlogTO says is an ongoing issue.)

Ahead of the final weekend, both the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway were closed for maintenance, and ongoing construction on Lakeshore Boulevard East, Jarvis Street and Market Street made the market’s home at St. Lawrence Market’s South Building essentially unreachable for dealers to load in and for customers to arrive by car.

Having hosted the Sunday Antique Market and other long-running vintage shows in the city for decades, “I never in a million years dreamed I would veer out of the downtown core,” Cook says. “But it wasn’t conducive to hosting an antique market.”

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‘Need to think of the future’

When Cook announced the new location for the Sunday Antique Market in September, reactions online ranged from relief that the market was returning at all — it had been unclear if Cook would resume — to disappointment from downtown residents that it would be located outside of the core.

But Cook says the site — which is accessible from downtown via a 20-minute drive, or via bus, three-minute taxi or 13-minute walk from the Long Branch GO station — is going to be an improvement for both sellers and shoppers.

“For shoppers, there are better dealers,” Cook says. The Nov. 26 show will include a varied selection of antiques and decor, art, collectibles, records, postcards, vintage clothing and nostalgia items. “We have such a mix right now,” she says. “People will not be disappointed.”

On the dealer side, “we’ve got a lot of great new people who didn’t come to my markets before. They are just so happy about it. It’s very exciting.”

The Small Arms Inspection Building itself, a heritage space that was built in 1940 for a largely women-led workforce to support war production efforts, is the right kind of place to host a market that brings in large items such as antique furniture and rugs, Cook says.

The venue, which lies on the border of Etobicoke and Toronto, is open concept, wheelchair accessible and offers 160 free parking spaces. Local restaurants are within walking distance.

“I need to think of the future.” Cook says of the market’s new home. “This is a long-term thing, and this area is really up and coming.”

To see other vintage and resale events happening in Toronto and across Canada, visit our events calendar.

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