Sometimes you just stumble upon a hidden gem! This happened to us this past Saturday when we checked out the “I Am Western” art exhibition at cSPACE in the renovated King Edward School (both the art and renovated school are outstanding).
Off The Beaten Path
Heading back, a lime green sign saying “Vintage Shop” with an arrow, caught our attention! I thought it rather strange given there were no retail buildings in the direction of the arrow, i.e. 23rd Ave S.W.
With the curiosity of a tourist and the wanderlust of a flaneur, we decided to investigate.
Sure enough. At the corner of 30th Street and 23rd Avenue SW sat a small commercial building that I had never noticed (probably because I have never been down this residential street) with a sign saying “Art of Vintage” and arrow pointing to the back alley.
Who knew there are two little commercial businesses facing the back alley - one being a vintage store? I pride myself in being in the know when it comes to funky and quirky places in Calgary, but this one had escaped me…til now.
A great display of vintage wares out front, an open door and a friendly welcome made for a great first impression. We immediately fell in love with this quaint shop (maybe 800 sq. ft.). While the place was packed with vintage artifacts, the pieces were beautifully curated and displayed in lovely vignettes. It had a definite museum/art gallery feel to it without being highbrow. We also loved that all the items had clearly marked prices, which could be easily seen even on items on the top shelves. And some of the price tags even had “rent me” prices (think movie props, weddings, dinner/cocktail parties).
We also liked the variety of items. If you are interested in vintage suitcases, this is the place for you. There were also some lovely vintage typewriters, radios and clocks too. One of the most interesting pieces was a 1880s medicine glass kit consisting of two small beakers (a shot glass-size one and a tiny cylinder one) in a leather case – very cool.
I personally liked that they had lots of “manly things,” from old baseball gloves to pipes.
Soon we were chatting with Lori Oliphant, Co-owner/Master Picker of the store (the other Co-owner is sister Heather who was combining at the family farm in Saskatchewan). This Saskatchewan connection was evident with the vintage Saskatchewan licence plates and we quickly realized this was a key source of artifacts.
Lori told us they have been open since the beginning of 2017. How had I not heard?
She also introduced us to Andrew Holmes, the go-to guy responsible for all of the lovely vignettes. It turns out he has professional window display experience with plans to create a wonderful window display for those wandering the back alley.
That could be an interesting night walk!
Andrew promised to let us know when the window display is up and also to invite us to one of his vintage tea parties using many of the treasures in the shop and hosted in private homes. That would be very fun. I hope they serve Lapsang Souchong tea!
For a fun, off-the-beaten-path place to go, we highly recommend “Art of Vintage.” Whether you’re in the market for an interesting piece of furniture, a unique collectable from your past, or an unusual gift for a friend, you may just find it here. Link: Art of Vintage
It is now on our list of “hidden gem” places to visit regularly.