The sandwich board points to a Flea Market and each time I see it I experience the thrill of the hunt! In fact when I am asked where a treasure came from in our island home, I can truthfully say,” my mother, my mother-in-law or someone else’s mother ... and found at the Gananoque Flea Market.”
Over twenty years ago Marilyn Bailey decided to move her antiques into the “Gananoque Co-op" Building at 145 River Street and to provide space for a dozen other vendors to show their antiques and collectibles.
This is an antique-lover’s dream and serves as a focal point for dealers, collectors and shoppers.
When I visited, to take photographs, there were several customers looking at items, including a gentleman, carrying his motorcycle helmet, who said, “You would be surprised what I can fit on that bike” he said, and sure enough he left with an oversized book, one he was both surprised and pleased to find!
There were three of the nine-possible vendors on duty: Barb Sersion, Elva Berry and Joan Norris. All three have been at the Market for several years and other vendors include Wayne Marshall, Irene Steacy, Lynda Furtado, Rod Lein, Cliff Goff, and Gerry Turcotte.
“How do you become a vendor?” I asked. The answer was simple. “You put your name on a waiting last and then wait… because many of us never want to leave. “ replied Barb. We love to meet so many customers who appreciate what we have to offer and many have a story to tell.”
The phone rang. It was a deaf customer calling via a computerized, Bell Canada. program. He typed his question, “Do you sell comic books"? and the operator translated the question into voice. Elva explained “sometimes there were dealers with comic books, but not many at this particular time.” The answer was relayed in text. '
“We often are called by a customer saying they should have purchased such-and-such so we wrap it and post it.”
I was not surprised when Joan Norris said, “We have many visitors to the Thousand Islands so we meet people from all round the world”. As an antique hunter of several decades, I can truly say an excursion to this small building will not be a disappointment. The shelves are packed to the brim with a good reason – the store is only open on weekends and holidays, and the vendors are constantly cleaning, polishing, and changing their displays.
The inventory is very varied - from old ironstone, graniteware, discontinued English-china patterns, lighting, jewelry, vintage clothing, sterling silver, books, art and as many pieces of bric-à-brac you would ever want. If you are looking for a cottage gift, or something that doesn't look as if it came from big-box store, you will find it!
And best of all antique enthusiasts will find a bargain or two… for the prices on the tiny tags are Gananoque, Ontario prices and not the same as Toronto, Boston or London.
"And don’t forget", said Barb, “to look in the back room where all merchandise is 50% off” ( My wicker plant stand, white daisy ironstone dishes and the trunk full of toys for the grandchildren all came from that room!)
Shopping habits have changed over the years and possibly young couples may not be as interested in crystal glasses as they once were, but one habit remains the same ... the thrill of the hunt to find that missing piece ... and visiting the Gananoque Flea Market will not be a disappointment.
By Susan W. Smith - Republished with Permission