While the rest of the world is admiring Canadian prowess on skis and skates (impressive indeed!), we are presently traveling through Montréal and Québec. Both cities are elegant, beautiful and surrounded by impressive landscapes. Narrow, car-less lanes lined with small boutiques and restaurants remind us of Zürich or Macon or Lübeck or…: all European.
Proud of its continental connections both past and present, Québec’s two major cities have both proven to be good vintage hunting grounds. And with minus 20 degree temperatures, we have truly enjoyed stopping into brocante and antiques shops for more than one reason!
We saw less of Montréal that we had intended as the freezing cold and biting wind literally forced us inside, but we can report that Vieux Montréal is certainly charming; our studio apartment at Habitation Vieux Montréal was superb. On to Québec, Vieux Québec to be exact, where pretty shops and restaurants are housed in well-restored, well-maintained 19th century brick and wooden buildings. Very colorful! Rue Saint-Jean, Rue Saint-Paul, Rue du Petit-Champlain: we have enjoyed them all but for art, brocante and antiques, a vintage lover’s paradise is Rue Saint-Paul, down towards the huge and now frozen harbor.
The sweetest of the shops was, to our mind, Le Rendez-vous du Collectionneur. Run for 18 years by Gervais Tremblay and Thomas Arsenault, the shop caught our eye with a window brimming with old hotel silver: ‘argenterie’: wonderful soup tureens, HUGE casseroles, heavy tea pots and creamers, lots of flatware. They shared that they had bought it all from Château Frontenac, an impressive, massive hotel that overlooks the Saint Lawrence River from Québec’s high rocky banks. Built in 1893 by the great railroads, the hotel has a long and rich history that includes wealthy tourists, Roosevelt and Churchill conferring during the Second World War and Hitchcock film productions. What tales that silver could tell!
Vintage finds here in Canada very often include Inuit Art – telling in its simplicity. There are lots of wooden toys and statues as well as horse related paraphernalia. It is a curious mix of elegant house wares and rugged ‘western’ gear. O Canada: we have enjoyed our visit and our vintage hunts here. Merci!
Looking for a small item to add character to your home, a unique conversation piece, an heirloom in the make, all from Europe without the travel and the search? Or that perfect gift for someone who already has everything. Want to break out of the mass produced housewares and accessories rat race and recycle something special? Please visit our shops: