Canada’s Largest Antique Show Rolls Into Town.

10 acres, 10,000 people and more antiques than you can shake a chandelier at.  This fall, Canada’s largest antique show proved people still like old stuff.


I normally don’t bring my camera to the fall antique shows.  I guess by this time in the season I’m ready to just wander around and enjoy myself, taking in all the things I’d buy if I owned a 17th century French chalet complete with a Frank Lloyd Wright addition and a few outbuildings. With wifi of course.

But then I got to the show and I couldn’t help myself. Because I saw stuff.  Good stuff.

That’s not the sort of thing that you just walk past. You take a picture of it.

I didn’t have my official picture taking camera, but I had my iPhone, which, as much as I hate it (and I do,) is probably a better camera than my old, official picture taking camera anyway.

You know how a couple of weeks ago I was berating you for dragging out the Pumpkin Spice candles? Well, the fall Christie Antique Show is my Pumpkin Spice candle.  It’s my signal to transition from late summer to early fall.

It is also my signal to eat french fries but so is waking up in the morning so we can’t really count that.

THIS year I woke up on the morning of the show and BLAM *just like that* it was fall.  The skies were overcast, it was really cool outside and not one, but TWO hipsters riding down my street had changed the flowers on their bicycle baskets from roses to mums.

Just. Like. That.

Because of the change in weather from the previous 90 days, I dug into the back of my drawer for the cream wool fisherman knit sweater I bought at the LAST Christie antique show, pulled on a pair of boots and headed out the door.

Where I collided with a hipster on a bicycle.

Just kidding.

The show has every style and collectible any antique lover might want including my favourites …

The Weird and the Wonderful

This wig stands really aren’t that strange, they just look it.

I guess you didn’t know you needed an antique donkey head, strength tester.  You do.  The donkey brays louder and louder the stronger you are.

I have never seen anything like these cat fireplace andirons.  You say that a lot at the Christie antique show … “I’ve never seen anything like that before” can be heard from one end of the show to the other.

Like these undeniably bizarre Beatles figurines.

Only 3 or 4 years ago I’d run around at the beginning of Christie’s searching for Mid Century modern chairs.  Not a SINGLE vendor had them.  But recently booths devoted entirely to this iconic era have started showing up.

Mid Century Modern


Antique show booths exemplify my basic decorating aesthetic.  Mix, match, mingle.  That chair with those baskets on that rug is perfect.

These ribbon chairs were the talk of the show. Priced at $1,500 each because they weren’t in great shape, they’d normally sell for a minimum of $5000 each.

A classic egg chair (possibly by Arne Jacobsen) in what looked to be original upholstery.


Honestly.  Everywhere you looked. You couldn’t swing a cat eyed pair of glasses without hitting a Mid Century modern chair.

And even further back in the decades were these two.

I ran into magician Steffi Kay of The Sentimentalists and her fella, singer Richard Herfeld browsing in one of the Christie booths. They looked fantastic.  Steffi’s a mentalist who’s appeared before Penn & Teller and at Hollywood’s iconic Magic Castle. If you click on “The Sentimentalists” link above, you can see her and her magic partner fool Penn & Teller.

What I was half keeping my eyes peeled for was a piece of modern art.  There’s always art at Christie’s although it isn’t a place that you’re guaranteed to find something.  Sadly they didn’t have the Cy Twombly I was looking for. Or the several million dollars I’d need to buy one.


This strange painting had the added benefit of being double sided.  If you took the canvas out and flipped it around you had a whole other picture.

You’re gonna think I’m nuts, but these would look great in a few places.  And no. The garbage is not one of those places.


My favourite paintings are always portraits, specifically those on black backgrounds.


But who doesn’t love a landscape with a thatched roof.

And then there were the regular things you find at an antique show.


Regular Stuff


Silver tea service.  I look at these things and think I WISH we still lived like this. Where every little thing was a ceremony.

Actually.  I guess regular folk didn’t live like this. Aristocrats and royalty did.  And maybe gangsters who were trying to make their way up the social ladder.

Just some pretty things sitting on a pretty tray.


This marble bust made it to the show in one piece, but during its travels the stand it sits on broke in half.  Which oddly didn’t reduce the price of the item by half.


You couldn’t strap it to your wrist and it won’t tell you your steps, but THIS is a nice timepiece.


Being a former rider, anything having to do with the sport attracts me and makes me sad at the same time. Horseback riding has THE best clothing and accessories.


Fries.  Always fries.


An early market basket


I really should have worn a cape. People look so much better when they’re wearing a silk cape.

The last two photos show what I bought at the show.  The wicker market basket and those two ironstone cups.  I also bought a step stool which I’ll show you in another post.

That worked out about as normally as one can expect. Go to an antique show expecting to buy nothing and come home with a market basket even though you grow all your own food and only go to the market to socialize. Perhaps I could use the market basket to bring very small people home from the market. Like a rickshaw.

And the mugs? Well, those I didn’t need. But frankly there are very few things you need from an antique show.  There’s just a whole lotta want.

And some really great stuff.

Have a good weekend.  Still no decision on the floors.

Canada\'s Largest Antique Show Rolls Into Town.


  1. Melissa says:

    That timepiece and candlesticks look like they are straight out of Beauty and the Beast. I bet they also sing and dance.

  2. Lin N says:

    Loved the cat fireplace andirons. But then I’d have to build a fireplace where my woodstove sits…oh wait a minute I don’t have to have a fireplace just somewhere cool to show them off. My wallet is safe tho…I live on Vancouver Island.

  3. Leslie Barnard says:

    Love seeing that antique show! As a mentalist, I am predicting you will have a revelation about the floors- patience!

  4. Kelly VanHoveln says:

    Oh my goodness. I think the portrait on the black background and the landscape below it were my grandmother’s! My mom sold them/donated them to goodwill (I don’t remember which) about 2 years ago when my grandparents moved into assisted living. But THOSE WERE THE PAINTINGS IN HER LIVING ROOM!!!!

    • Karen says:

      That landscape was beautiful!! As was the portrait! I can’t believe they went to Goodwill!! I can guarantee they never made it out of the back door into the actual store! ~ karen

  5. Brenda says:

    I so look forward to your posts about the antique show and just wish that I could go once. It looks like they have the oddest things and I’m grateful that you’re there to share photos of them with us!

  6. Benjamin says:

    You should have totally bought the picture of Margaret’s husband. What a hottie…

  7. susang says:

    I might be wrong but I think the cat’s eyes glow when in front of the fire. I would have bought the cat andirons. already have a wicker market basket – really handy

  8. Patricia O'Riordan says:

    Tearing up that is a no brainer. Why the hesitation?

  9. jaine kunst says:

    LOVED your photos! I have an old market basket with wooden wheels and I keep my umbrella collection in it and a hobby horse. What are you going to put in yours?

  10. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing your fun day out. I like your stuff! Those cat andirons were really sweet too.

  11. June says:

    I’m showing my age here, but I must tell you there is nothing bizarre about those Beatles dolls. How I wish I had the full group. I still have my original circa 1964 George Harrison. He’s held up pretty well except for some long forgotten pet bit through his guitar strap.

    • Barb says:

      I’ve got the 4 Beatle dolls plus 3 of 4 bobble head dolls…unfortunately threw out one whose head had split, John, I believe. Shows my age as well but they’re still my favorite group!

  12. Lynn says:

    Oh my the garden basket is gorgeous Karen so glad you picked it up. The clock is fantastic so is the lamp behind it with the glass shade. Looks like you had a great time the fries look sooo good.
    Looks like you also had great weather for your outing, here in my part of Alberta we are in a completely different season. Mother Nature here has a very twisted sense of humour.
    Luckily or at least I am hoping my beets are still ok … everything else has been brought in. Here is a picture the day after.

  13. Ann C. says:

    Always love your Antique Show tours (and commentary)!

  14. Bev out west says:

    The chair chapter is good! I noticed leather bags behind the silver. Sigh. The basket found a good home. Ta for the tour!

  15. Jody says:

    There are always a couple things I regret not picking up. One was a framed winter scene painting. Woulda, shoulda, coulda ditched the frame and kept the painting. Oh well…..

  16. Pat says:

    What a fantastic end to summer! I did wonder why, in the Sentimentalist’s act, that Steffi Kay had to turn a blank card upside down (or rightside up, however she perceived it) before she could draw the picture of the flower? Why did she even think there was a right or wrong direction? Just wondering.

  17. Jenny says:

    That market basket is fab–that’s definitely the item I would have bought!

    My sister, mother-in-law, and I will be going to an autumn festival tomorrow filled with antiques, handicrafts, and the biggest potted mums you’ve ever seen in your life (seriously, they are like mutants and are a hot commodity). I will NOT be wearing an adorable knitted sweater because it’s going to be 86 degrees (in northern Iowa of all places, when usually we are in the midst of lovely fall weather by now).

  18. Eileen says:

    Those andirons…although I hate brass and don’t have a fireplace. Those french fries! I do have a great gaping maw to accommodate them! And drawstring waist pants….

  19. Christine says:

    Know what l got at Christie? Gravy on my Smythe blazer l found at Value.

    • Jo says:

      Would love to know Which Value (village?) you shop at…I’ve found some fantastic things there too, but never a Smythe jacket…yea you!

  20. Kat says:

    I scrolled pretty quickly through the photos and two made me put on the brakes. First the Beatles dolls as I used to own that complete set when I was about 10 years old. No idea what my mom ever did with them. Second was the market basket and tried to figure out how I could make one for myself.

  21. Edith Spitz says:

    I would have bought the cat andirons and I don’t even have a fireplace.

  22. Sabina says:

    I actually knew about the show ahead of time and was planning to go until an ear infection took its hold on me and I felt like I was a zombie walking around in a cloud – not exactly a look to have crossing the border – or trying to make decisions on buying stuff. It was a fabulous fall-like day (and trust me, I’m not ready to let go of summer) I’m glad you found some great treasures. I did think about you whilst eating my french fries that afternoon, not as good as the french fries in the box though. I was so looking forward to those french fries at the show, they’re just like the ones we had growing up at the beach :)

  23. Marilyn Meagher says:

    I love that basket.

  24. Sideroad40 says:

    The market basket is OBVIOUSLY for carting around fresh garden produce at the community garden…. :)

  25. Claire says:

    I love, love, love those cat andirons!! I also don’t know how anyone walks past ironstone without buying any….

  26. Kim says:

    I am wearing my fisherman sweater as I read this. Yours looks perfect on you. Happy you showed a picture. I totally would have snagged those market baskets too. Very clever! There is a big show here in Victoria on the 22nd which I am trying to think if I can go to. My husband is taking the kitchen cabinets and my kids have two ballet classes and birthday to go to that day. So what I need is a second wife so that I can go.

    As it is I will be responsible and sneak off to a thrift store when my daughter is at the birthday. Perhaps the responsibility gods will smile upon me and I will score something epic.

    Thanks for doing this post! I love to see what you get at the markets. And the markets themselves. Ours are all indoors in the fall because it is more likely than not raining. Outdoors just seems more fitting.

    Also excited about your floors and the pharmacy cabinet.

    ps. I know you put your life out there to be read, but I still need to mention: if I seem to take an inordinate interest in it is likely due to the fact that I simply don’t read any other blogs.

    pps. And also that you’re awesome.*

    *how to make it out that I’m not a weirdo while not being insulting at the same time. 😆

    • Karen says:

      “*how to make it out that I’m not a weirdo while not being insulting at the same time. 😆” Don’t worry, you’ve struck the perfect complimentary balance while offsetting any weirdoness. ~ karen!

  27. Mary Edmondson says:

    Forget the wig stands. I lust for the concrete cherub holding the urn – just as it is. I also want the suitcase sitting in front of the ribbon chairs. My style is not mid-century modern. It’s more Wabi Sabi with some valued antiques and some beat up wood furniture pieces of grandma’s era. Along with way too many old things acquired at various antique fairs & stores. A real conglomeration of all things old – that suit an antique such as me.

  28. Jan in Waterdown says:

    I absolutely love love that black background portrait… would have had a hard time walking away from it. At the same time, those portraits make me a little sad too, wondering who they were and why their family ditched the painting. Kinda like your Margaret…

    • judy says:

      I always imagine they ran out of descendants. Our family has pictures from unknown dates in metal ornate frames and no one to inherit them. Three sons and no grands,of course the sons are only 54 and 58 so……..?

  29. Grammy says:

    I am so stoked that you bought the market basket! Looking through the pictures, that’s the only thing I said to myself, “Oh, I’d buy that market basket!” Do I need it? No. But like you say, there’s a whole lotta want when you go to antique shows. So, I’m glad you got the basket. You’ll think of something cool for it.

  30. Robert says:

    It surprises me a little that you didn’t buy the orange alien as a year-round decoration accent

  31. Tina says:

    Now see, this time of year I wake up and think “maybe I’ll have a note from Karen asking if I’d like to go along to the sale!” But I never get one. Phooey.

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