Kingston antiquity

Springer Market Square offers a quintessential Kingston experience when it turns into an Antique Market. Better known for its Farmer’s Market, on Sundays the square showcases an eclectic array of treasures and trinkets. Hours of searching for furniture, books, paintings, jewellery, clothes and statues barely scratches the surface of this treasure trove.

The market dates back to 1801 and is stocked full of Kingston’s rich history. Items from early days at Queen’s and from the Canadian military are everywhere. It was in Springer Market Square that the Proclamation of Confederation was made on July 1, 1867, making it a fitting place for an antique market.

Vendors sell items from personal collections, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and travels abroad. While the market allows vendors to display items they believe to be historically or culturally significant, some things are just randomly and inexplicably cool. For example, I was very close to buying a mini gargoyle.

Russ Cassidy, owner of Rustique Antiques and frequent vendor at the market, said the age of an item doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more valuable.

“Nostalgia drives the prices. You can tell someone’s age by what they look at,” he said.

I was excited to find Disney-themed drinking glasses.

Among Cassidy’s items was a sextant. It’s a navigational instrument from World War II and was on sale for $325. Hunting for antiques feels like being in a museum where you can hold the artifacts. Other vendors sold old war medallions.

Looking to spruce up your digs before the new school year? The many lamps, paintings and prints put Urban Outfitters homewares to shame. Plus, you can’t beat the authenticity and amusement of a 1950s telephone that you can pretend once belonged to Lucille Ball.

After seeing beautiful champagne glasses, martini mixer sets and crystal bottles, I imagined myself hosting glamorous cocktail parties for friends, while wearing gloves and fancy dresses. I then recalled that delicate glassware wouldn’t last long in my student house. Nor do I own a pair of gloves.

After examining various trinkets, I discovered that it’s a good idea to verify the price of a piece with its vendor. Though I didn’t see people haggling, it seems that some vendors are willing to sell items for cheaper than tagged.

The Antique Market boasts an atmosphere of charismatic vendors sharing things they’re passionate about while engaged shoppers feed their nostalgia. Ask any vendor where an item originated and you’re sure to get a detailed and enthusiastic response. Even if you’re not in the market for a spinning wheel from the early 1900s, you’ll surely enjoy the novelty of the experience.

The Antique Market runs from April until the end of October on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Here are some of my favourite items:

  • Books: $2 to $20
  • Table:$750
  • Phone: $20
  • Maple syrup holder:$8
  • Round tins: $6 to $10
  • Clock :$125
  • Suitcase:$45
  • Trunk:$145
  • Bookshelf:$25
  • Dresser:$15
  • Cookbooks:$2
  • Martini shaker and glasses:$20
  • Gargoyles and Buddha statues: $25 to $125
  • Rings:$8, 3 for $20
  • Wedding dress: $35
  • Bracelets:$4 to $5
  • Harmonica: $6
  • WWII navigating instrument: $325
  • Old magazines:$5
  • Cameras from the 30s:$20 to $40
  • Knife set: $18
  • Disney glasses:$2
  • War medals:$25
  • Spinning wheel:$175

–With files from Kelly Loeper

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