Since the advent of eBay, we have come to believe that our junk is valuable to someone out there. Going to flea markets, you can see this for real. We are now afraid to throw anything out, since today’s garbage is tomorrow’s collectible.
The term ‘flea market’ has two different meanings. There are the real flea markets where finding a flea is possible, and then there are the wannabes – the newer type that popped up here in the 1980’s selling new stuff in order to skirt the no-Sunday shopping law.
The true flea markets mentioned below sport tables and glass cabinets full of collectibles, antiques and junk all mixed up side by side. Browsing through them is fun, not only because you really score deals, but because they recall memories of your childhood in the cups your mother used, the black jaguar figurine from the breakfront, the radio in grandma’s house and loads of toys you played with.
If you’re about to clean out your home or that of your parents, here are some of the items I have noticed that are now selling as collectibles: ashtrays, cigarette lighters, fountain pens, pen knives, kitchen appliances (toasters, mixers, blenders, utensils like ice buckets and tongs), hard luggage, frisbees, fat Schwinn bikes, change purses, tools, vacuum cleaners, and always toys in their original boxes (sometimes the boxes are worth more than the toys inside ). However, when selling some I discovered I hardly got enough money to justify storing them all these years.
Here are a few in the greater Montreal area that will give you a driving destination for a adventurous day out into the countryside:
St-Eustache: At the drive-in (exit 14, 25th Ave) on Autoroute 640 o. (450-472-6660). Open all year, Fri 11-9, Sat & Sun 9-5. Here’s one of the biggest indoor/outdoor flea markets (has sometimes reached 1,000 vendors), with lots of old housewares, fabric, new clothes, hubcaps, fishing tackle, sunglasses, phones, decorative objects, art supplies, fresh veggies, baked goods, watches and toys. Inside the building: horse gear, dolls, statues, candy, belts, knobs, purses, carpeting, dried flowers, hats, bridal bonbonnieres, hair products, vacuums, baby gear, jewelry, athletic shoes, computer gear and more.
Lachute: 25 rue Principale (450-562-2939). Open all year, Tues 5-5, Sun 8-4 (June-Sept). A well known flea market for collectibles (here the vendors arrive on Mon and the dealers work all through the night with flashlights buying up the best deals before it even opens on Tues morning at 5 a.m.). There’s also fruit, vegetables, clothing (old and new), old furniture and furnishings, tools and farm animal auctions (on Tuesday). A building houses antiques and reproductions.
Carignan: Super Marche aux Puces, 2375 ch. Chambly or Route 112. Open all year Sat & Sun 9-5. This one is big, with perhaps 500 vendors situated outdoors and indoors. The merchandise, half old and half new, consists of clothing, jewelry, collectibles, fishing gear, old LP’s, vacuums, crafts, makeup, electronics, used motors, used and new tools and tires.