I spent last weekend in downtown Toronto with my wife for a little get away. On Sunday morning, as we often do, we made our way down to the St Lawrence-North Building for the Antique Market (http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/). While the main market (which sells food etc. and is its own adventure) is closed on Sundays the north one is wide open.
You time travel a bit to a different era when you step through these doors. The building is dingy and old and apparently slated for redevelopment. The energy of the people and sellers however is very Sunday morning but with a little more excitement.
The sellers are an eclectic mix of eccentrics and/or collectors. There are the older women with retro hair styles crocheting between sales. There are the earnest looking men- keen collectors of one thing or another- looking out wistfully hoping that someone will agree with their interpretation of the value of their wares.
The stalls are cluttered and crowded- I suppose all of this needs to be trundled in and out each Sunday. Themes abound. Some sellers focus on just one thing while others have a smattering of various items. You can buy everything from old family Bibles, coins, to Star Trek dolls, dated lamps, tired looking furs to art, boots and sheepskin jackets.
From a waste management perspective it is re-use personified. A lot of the stuff for sale is what I see at curb on garbage day (where it does not belong) or better yet at my local Good Will. Pretty much everything has been used at least once and from the looks of things probably a few times. I’ll admit some items look like they are done- but the sellers give it one more try- trying to squeeze out a few dollars and avoid the trash heap.
It is a place of last resort for these items. Uncharitably it is a sort of animal rescue for the items we have in our closets and homes that fall victim to one of our de-cluttering putsches. More charitably these are items that have been imbued with wine aging value that now glisten and beckon us to take a closer look and maybe buy.
Either way it is busy and clearly popular. We rub shoulders with people clutching their Sunday prizes now running home to admire it and perhaps place it on a mantle or in a protective drawer.
We left empty handed as we always do (we have enough stuff) but enjoyed the people watching and the “someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure” ethos in full effect. A few more items did not end up in landfill today.