A Day at Canada’s Largest Antique Show

The Christie Antique Show is Canada’s largest outdoor antique market. It happens twice a year so I go twice a year.  Here’s trip number one for 2018 – the spring sale. Tip #1 for antiquing?  Do NOT carry a purse.  Some kind of money belt around your waist is the way to go.  Filled with LOTS and lots of money.

This weekend my sister and I took our annual trip to The Christie Antique Show.  Sometimes it’s our bi-annual depending on how things go in the fall when the second show rolls around.  It had all the makings of a perfect day at an outdoor antique show and yet … I ended up huddled on the grass crying and it’s possible my sister peed her pants.

That’s not entirely accurate. My sister was wearing a dress.

Here’s how it all went down.

There was a bit of a family emergency in the morning which made a slow start, so we didn’t get to the show until around 10:00 a.m.  No matter. It was a stunningly beautiful day, around 30 degrees celsius (86 Fahrenheit) with clouds, so we were offered a bit of natural sunscreen courtesy of whoever is in charge of clouds.  Depending on your religion or lack there of this could be God, Mother Earth or whoever’s in charge of the big game of chance in the sky.  A casino boss for instance.

As has been the case for the past few years, the one thing I’m actually looking to buy at Christie’s is a midcentury modern chair for my living room.  For the first few years I was looking they just didn’t exist. None of the vendors had them or wanted them in their booths. A couple of years ago they started showing up a tiny bit but still nothing too impressive.

Then this year – BAM – there it was.  My *other * sister who was at the show with her friend texted me with a picture and said I had to see it immediately.  She gave us directions to it in the show and off we went.

It was not the exact midcentury modern chair I was looking for (which you can see here) but a very nice version indeed.  But not the exact one I was looking for.  But nice.  But not the exact one I was looking for.  But pretty great. But not the exact one I was looking for.  But it had great worn leather.  But not the exact one I was looking for.  But wow it was nice.

That particular dialogue went on and on in my head as soon as I saw the chair.


I walked away from the chair because …. I mean I think we’ve established why.  Because it wasn’t the exact chair I was looking for.

Plus it was a bit higher price than I thought it should be.  I figured I’d walk around and think about it.  And think about it I did.

That dialogue continued rattling through my brain for the next 3 hours.

And then I started to get worried.  I felt a little unwell.  Probably I just needed french fries.

So I got french fries.

The weird sick feeling I had didn’t go away with the french fries so I knew it wasn’t that I was hungry for potatoes; I was hungry for the chair.

The thought of someone else buying my chair was filling me with rage. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else at the sale.  Not even rugs.  And that’s saying a lot.


I was on one side of the massive sale. The chair was on the other side. It was exactly like Romeo and Juliet if Romeo was a chair and Juliet was – actually I’m exactly like Juliet so the only difference is that Romeo wasn’t a chair. My heart was pounding. I felt ill.  I couldn’t concentrate on a single thing.

It was love.

I grabbed my sister’s elbow and dragged her back to where the chair was so I could see if it was still there.

It was.

I could breath again.

We continued our tour around the massive grounds and eventually circled back to the chair.

My chair.

Which was now sold.  To not me.


And it wasn’t GONE, which would have been the best case scenario for a chair that was sold.  It was sitting exactly where it should be with a teeny, tiny little sold sticker on it that you couldn’t see until you were practically sitting on top of the chair telling the guy you’d come back to buy it.

This, as you might have imagined, is the point in the story where I cry.

Everything after that chair was garbage. I hated it all. It was stupid.

Ironstone?  Hate it.

Cool meat signs?  Hate ’em.

Super-awesome vintage bathroom perfume dispenser.  Dumb.


I couldn’t even buy a rug. That’s how distraught I was.

By the way, if you’re thinking at this point that I’m setting you up for a big turnaround at the end of this story – where it turns out the chair wasn’t sold and I GOT the chair … that didn’t happen.


These chairs made me smile a little bit, but not very much.  They’re really beautiful safari chairs that would normally make me smile very much.  I didn’t do that.  It was kind of a lip curl that could be interpreted as a sign of aggression actually.



Snowshoes. Good.  I didn’t buy my chair, lost out on something I should be sitting comfortably in right now, so I might as well move to the Arctic.

Pretty lace and cups with a perfect condition scale.  Whatever.

And then something happened that turned my whole day around.

My sister peed herself.

Technically she didn’t pee herself, she got mustard on herself and had to wash it off in the bathroom but it looked exactly like she had an accident.

Of course I found this highly amusing and it was enough to keep me going for the rest of the day.


I even managed to not hate everyone and everything in my path and bought a few things.

In fact …

I’ve shown you most of what I bought in this post.  Not all … but most.


Hidden in these photos are some of the things I purchased in my attempt to fill the deep, deep hole left inside me by “the chair”.

You’ll find out what it is I bought and what I’ll be doing with it all on Friday.

Which, as everyone knows, is the best day of the week to sit in your favourite chair. :(

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  1. Lynne burns says:

    First, I loved this post. It made me cackle and (maybe) spit a little bit on my iPad while people at work walked by giving me the side eye.

    Second…. That’s not the chair for you. It’s a not good Eames sorta knock off and Charles and Ray would have haunted your house if you had purchased it. So, you saved yourself from that.

    The perfect chair will find you…. And you won’t need to hire a priest (or whoever)to cleanse it for you…….

    • Karen says:

      It was good. :( It was really good. It was the right height (very low), had those ugly bars on the back … and worn, worn leather. Boooooo! ~ karen

  2. suzan says:

    reminds me of Brimfield and some of the markets we use to set up at when we were dealers . meet interesting people

  3. Patti says:

    Where is this wonderful show located?

  4. Trisha says:

    I can’t remember a single thing in any of the pictures except those safari chairs. Now I’m sad that I can’t travel time and space to be able to have them for my own. I didn’t even know I wanted safari chairs until I saw those. Oh, and the blue willow salt and pepper shakers. Pretty.

  5. Wendy says:

    Would so love to go to that show,here in Vancouver anything over 50 years
    old is considered antique (including me).Looking for the perfect stained glass piece for my kitchen window……sigh….
    Sure hope you find the chair of your dreams!
    Had a good laugh at your sister’s accident,has she heard of Depends!!

  6. Stephanie says:

    The Perfumatic, the safari chairs and the weird table next to the bug bar stool in the photo above the turquoise furniture. The horse would be splendid somewhere but the chickens might not like to share.

  7. Sabina says:

    I so wanted to go but the gardens needed to be finished…heavy sigh…maybe this fall…

  8. Sher Miller says:

    I would have walked around bawling the entire day looking like a bad cartoonish version of myself. Not because of the chair but because I saw so many things in your photos that I know I could not have afforded because I did not save enough money to purchase.

  9. It was not a lovely shade of caramel, so “no” to the chair – you did the right thing!

    I am guessing the Meat Market sign! :)

  10. Stephbo says:

    I desperately want to go to that sale, but worth my luck, I’d see all sorts of things I’d want to buy-in none of which I could get home on the plane.

    I’m guessing that painting of the boy came home with you.

  11. Terry says:

    I’m in Guelph visiting my son and his fiance. Her parents took me to the Aberfoyle Antique Market, so many things I wanted! But I never would have gotten them on the bus back to Philadelphia. I feel your pain.

  12. Georgia Girl says:

    Hey Karen!
    When I married my second husband in 1978 along with a lot of other stuff from his first marriage there was an Eames knock off chair and stool. It had a little rip and tarnish but what I really didn’t like was that it was a reminder of that time in his life. So I gave it away. What was i thinking!? Guess it wasn’t far enough removed from Mid century to be cool! To this day THE CHAIR haunts me – 😑

  13. Nancy W says:

    Almost perfect…but not perfect…so the perfect chair for you will present itself at some point.
    Love all that stuff…I have a shed full…and attic…want it?? Oh and thanks for sharing your adventure!

  14. Lohi Karhu says:

    Ahhhh, Karen…
    Does “L’Isle sur la Sorgue” ring any bells for you?

    If you like antiques, no, not ‘like’, LOVE, then, in Provence:

    “Antique lovers and art collectors will be gratified by the nearly 300 permanent antique dealers and second hand shops here.
    L’Isle sur la Sorgue hosts antiques’ fairs at Easter and over the August 15th holiday that have given a worldwide reputation to this small city. More than 500 antique dealers and second hand dealers gather here to show their treasures to customers from all over the world.”

    Been there, tried to do it, but the number of items to even try to see…

    Just go.

  15. Su says:

    If you bought the horse sculpture I’m going to be very jealous. Just saying.

  16. Stephanie says:

    I hope you didn’t buy the Eames chair. I had that chair years ago and my toes were glad to see the back of it (and the footstool). Design error in that the really sharp metal on the “legs/feet” stuck out a short distance past the chair and ottoman and would draw blood the instant you got near them. The wearing of steel toed boots is advised while approaching or using this chair although it was comphy once you actually sat in it.

  17. I think you picked up the Corgi(?) cookie jar that’s in the 5th picture, the weird elf looking things above the paint-by-numbers dude, and the Scottie dog lawn ornament that almost goes unnoticed in front of the horse.

    Also, until I read this post I didn’t know I needed a vintage pop marketing sign.

  18. linda says:

    I LOVE all things flea market… Just a gigantic treasure hunt for me! I will have to take the journey North one of these days & check it out! Love tagging along in your adventures!

  19. Dan says:

    I know your exact feeling. Maybe 10 years ago I fell in love with a painting in a gallery in Yellowknife. But it was a lot of money at the time. My boss told me we were getting bonuses that year, and I should get it. I didn’t, because, you don’t get a bonus until you have the money in your bug spray soaked hands.

    I got the money. I called the gallery.



    I still think about that painting.

    • Karen says:

      I HAD THE SAME THING WITH A PAINTING! And it was at this same Christie’s show 3 years ago. :( I still think about it. Often. You you have my heartfelt empathy. ~ karen!

      • Cussot says:

        Totally. I still think about a painting I wanted to buy in a secondhand store in 1978. I can still see it. I tried to dicker because I didn’t have the money and the seller turned me down flat with a sneer. When I scraped together the bucks to try again, it was gone.


  20. Mary W says:

    I’m going with the two wooden/metal bar chairs that look like aliens (two eyes w/ skinny legs). They just seem fun. In the same picture is an arched wooden window frame that would look really good on an outside wall. Can’t wait to see if the other things I picked will show up Friday.

  21. Sheila Johnson-Wolfenden says:

    I looked for you on Sat.,even to the point of staking out the French fry vendor for a while…haha
    The chair was just not meant to be this time…not to worry…your day will come!

  22. Kathi says:

    After you wrote about the Christie Antique Show for years I finally went last year. Beautiful weather, but wasn’t really in the shopping mood. As a result I started to zombie out going up and down all those lanes. Lots of amazing stuff, but hard for me to zero in on anything. Went home with nothing, darn. 😟And I totally understand your dilemma with the chair. When it’s not quite perfect, it’s hard to shell out $1800!

  23. Patricia Jaroslawski says:

    I had a similar experience with a marble rolling pin at at garage sale a few years ago. I still mourn it’s absence from my life but can’t bear to purchase one from aa store because I should have got it for 5 bucks at the sale…grateful for my stupid problem, things could be worse than not having the perfect marble rolling pin. I could have missed out on the almost perfect chair :).

  24. Cathy says:

    I think you bought the upside down wire crate looking thing ( with the tools in it) for your veggie haul this year. And what is the white thing that looks like a toilet paper roll dispenser made to look like a tape dispenser which on some level is pure genius!?
    Then I saw the safari chairs and ceased caring about your chair, your sister, your weather, or if Margaret will adopt a son all dressed in blue.
    And the scale. I want to sit in my safari chair and admire my new-old scale from across the room.

  25. S in Charleston says:

    If it’s meant to be, it’ll be…that chair might have been haunted, or have bedbugs in it! You just never know why the universe conspires to keep your bum away from dangerous seats, but you must have faith that the right chair will make an entrance at the appointed time and place. In the meantime I’m looking forward to the great reveal on Friday!

  26. Barb says:

    It’s got to be that large horse about half-way through your pictures! I’d have to take my entire pension check with me if I went to this!

  27. judy says:

    Ah…my best talent strikes again. to offend where I meant to complement and commiserate. I love that chair-I was young and married with children when that chair was designed-I think? 1959 to now? I meant to say that it looked a little more worn than was good enough for your beautiful home. Sorry…

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I’m not offended. I’m RARELY offended. And the worn bit is – believe it or not – what I like about it. I really like things with age, especially leather! ~ karen!

  28. Elaine says:

    Can’t wait for Friday, Karen! There was a pair of those safari type chairs at a spot in Burlington (now closed) that were in gorgeous condition. My daughter was with me and needing something just that style. They were only $25 each and she was hesitating! Can you believe her … hesitating??? She is clearly not a shopper like me! I told her if she didn’t buy them, she was crazy; they now look terrific in her new mid-century style family room. How I wish I could have made it to the show this year! Maybe this September, I’ll be lucky.

  29. Susan Claire says:

    I just finished looking at “gently used” Eames chairs and ottomans online. Prices are high, so how much was the chair you found at the auction? If it was anywhere near reasonable I would have snatched it up and enjoyed it until The One showed up. Sort of like boyfriends.

    • Karen says:

      It wasn’t an original Eames, it was a copy. Which funnily enough is what I’m looking for. It was $1,800. ~ karen!

      • Susan Claire says:

        Holy cow! Seems overpriced to me. That’s what originals go for!

        • Karen says:

          No, originals go for around $5,000. :/ And that’s for a newer original. An original, original could be around $11,000. ~ karen!

  30. Arlene Stopps says:

    We went to Christie too
    …although when I look at your pictures, I wonder if I was at the same place!
    I love Christie and I look forward to our twice a year adventure!
    Sorry about that chair. Don’t you hate it when you keep thinking about it you should have go it? Years go by and you are still wondering?
    It looked pretty perfect.
    So what IS the “perfect”Karen chair?

  31. Cheryl Young says:

    There is a fantastic shop in Dartmouth, NS that is only selling mid-century furniture that they source from across Canada. Maybe they can find your chair for you :) They also work with an incredible upholsterer.

    https://retrospekthalifax.wordpress.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Retrospekt-946518378765587/

  32. jaine kunst says:

    I feel your pain. That was almost the perfect chair.

  33. Marie Anne says:

    Ha! Your poor sister!

    I know you bought the green planter urn, probably the scale and the brush drying rack, maybe the white chair. I would have bought the darker rug underneath in the photo of the red rug. Totally missed the sale this spring, but couldn’t have gone anyway as I injured my foot.

  34. judy says:

    I know you won’t agree and I know you saw the chair in person and probably sat in the durn thing but IMHO that chair does not…no siree….rise to an appropriate level of sophistication,elegance and general all around, snappy-ness to win pride of place in the residence of the girl with the perfect haircut and multiple talents that boggle the mind. In short the Universe knew (although quite handsome) the chair just wasn’t good enough for

    ! The House of Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Well that’s kind of you to say to make me feel better. But that chair has actually, on several occasions, been deemed the most perfectly designed chair of all time, lol. So I think I could safely let it inside. ;) ~ karen!

      • susan baldwin says:

        But WAS it a knock off? If it was, well, phpfftzzz, fuhgeddaboudit. If it was a genuine Eames chair, you should NEVER forgive yourself, ever.

  35. Marybeth says:

    Write the story of what you would feel like if you *had* bought that chair. It’s sitting in your living room and you sneer at it every day because it’s not the “one”. The chair would feel that, like my mother’s dog would know everyone was looking at it funny after it got a bad haircut. That’s not fair to the chair.

    • Beth says:

      Even worse, what if you bought that wrong chair, and, after sneering at it daily for several months, you discover the RIGHT chair, but now you can’t afford it! Then what would happen? The poor wrong chair would be doubly blamed for being an expensive mistake. As a result of its loss of self esteem, it would break beneath you as you sit down, leaving you with no chair at all, only bad memories, a sprained butt, and a sadder and lighter purse belt.

  36. Lori McCourt says:

    You are funny. We would be friends and just laugh and laugh if we ever met. It is like you are sitting inside my head reading my thoughts. I hope you find that chair one day 🤦🏼‍♀️

  37. Sorry to hear you didn’t get the chair. My sister’s and I went to the show. We got so lost and laughed so hard. I didn’t find much either. We learned that you must always have a paper map and your vehicle should always have snacks in case you get lost. Hopefully you will find another chair at the next show.

  38. Shirley says:

    So it’s time again for our annual/bi-annual WWKB (“What Would Karen Buy?”) Contest. My top choice: either the Safari chairs, the kitchen scale, the three oval wooden baskets, the perfume dispenser, or the glass table with the sleigh legs. Or perhaps all of them, to make up for the pain of losing out on that chair. Is there a prize?

  39. Gigi says:

    I’ll play “ I Spy, What would Karen buy?”
    Magazine rack, clothes brush, sparkly chandelier, butter pats, bowler straw hat?, small white scale AND margarita popsicles, wine barrel, trunk for storage, crown, toast rack, taxidermy, apron or linen towel. Oh, maybe the simple wooden stool too. Can’t wait to see on Friday!!

  40. Lez says:

    Oh Karen, I feel your pain!
    Please tell me you bought that GORGEOUS little chair,( on the table with the doll on the Chaise longue)? The white one with the crown material.
    On looking again though, is that all doll’s furniture? I can SO see that little chair in your lovely home! Even if it was just for your cat by the fireplace!

    P.S Your sister should wear a mustard colour dress to the next fair! :)

  41. Charlsie says:

    I would have bought the nymphs in the canoe and I saw an awesome wooden bucket. Please do not have passed up that awesome round brush! Of course I would have bought fries too. That perfume dispenser, wow. I liked the horse, but I’m Texan and have to. I also saw the tall ladders, but I just picked one up off the curb. You go to Antique Fairs, I go thru trash heaps. Can’t wait to see what you got.

    • Karen says:

      Pfttt. My house was decorated with stuff from the trash for the first 10 years of living here. I am not opposed to curbside shopping. ~ karen!

  42. Centi says:

    I do hope you bought that horse… that would be quite impressive as a favorite seat!

  43. Susan U says:

    I have two of those safari chairs. Sitting in my attic. Love them. Need to bring them down and use them again. I am sorry you missed out on your chair, but it will come along in time. You just gotta believe.

  44. Karen says:

    It’s that big horse, isn’t it!? For your front yard!

    • Monica says:

      I was hoping the same thing! Only I thought it could be a great mascot for the community garden plot. :)

  45. MrsChrisSA says:

    We have to wait until Friday??? Pffft!
    Feels like we being punished because you did not get the chair (just kidding!).

    Can’t wait!!

  46. TucsonPatty says:

    I thought maybe the copy of “The Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough’s painting might be a good match for Margaret but I don’t think it’s big enough so it’s not that. Perhaps one of the crowns because even though they’re crowns fit for a king you’re actually kind of the queen here, so it could be that. Then I thought I saw some tiaras also so maybe on of those. I give up. But a good time was had by all except for you, so.

  47. Kim says:

    The not quite wanted (but still wanted) chair you missed out on his my dream chair! Also I know that feeling. Exactly it.

    Also that is the best flea market I have ever seem in my life.

    But wait. Here’s my favourite part: 9 times out of ten when the universe (& my delay) causes me to miss out on a purchase like this (cast iron kitchen sink that was too expensive, curved church pew that should have been straight, character house that was in the wrong neighbourhood) the right time after (long short. Doesn’t matter), I find: perfect vintage sink, right straight church pew, dream home in the best neighbourhood.

    So I believe in you and your weird knock off vintage eames lounge with the built in footstool. I believe you will find it. And if I find it for you I’ll ship it accoss Canada to you. ❤️

  48. Bronwyn says:

    Second picture in – that’s a “paint by numbers” job isn’t it?

    I know how you feel not wanting to buy something but desperately hoping no-one else does either. Can’t wait until Friday’s post.

    • Karen says:

      It is a vintage paint by number. I’m quite drawn to them. ~ karen!

      • Mary W says:

        I love that painting – he is looking at you no matter and the art style is fabulous. Probably very expensive as the vintage paint by numbers are really popular but there is something about him and his clothes and background that I keep looking at. Hope he will show up again Friday.

  49. G Chapman says:

    Schadenfreude: a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else, easing the pain of one’s loss of a mid-century chair. ;-)

  50. Linda Bryant says:

    Can hardly wait for the big “reveal”!

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