Sharing one of my favourite Treasure Hunting spots: Thursdays at St. George's

I'm always on the lookout for sweet deals on vintage home decor items, costume jewelry, and older books.   Happily, one of my favourite weekly treasure hunting spots for all of these things is just a ten minute stroll from my office.   If you happen to be downtown on a Thursday at lunch, the Boutique in the basement of St. George's Anglican is a delight.

The shop is open on Thursdays from 11am-2pm, and the entrance is a discreet side door on Stanley (corner Ave. des Canadiens, a block south of Rene-Levesque).  There's usually a red sandwich board on the sidewalk outside when the shop is open.   When you walk in, head downstairs and turn left.   There's a small room before the main space, and this is worth stopping in.  It's chock full of fun fabrics, curtains, table cloths, the occasional lampshade, and other house linens.   I've picked up gorgeous Irish linen tea towels there for $2 a piece, and they make me grin every time I see them hanging from our stove.

All photos from St. George's website.
When you walk into the main space, the amount of 'stuff' can be a daunting.    I generally start on the left and browse the room in a clockwise direction.   First, there's the display counter filled with pretty costume jewelry and tiny tchotchkes for the home.   I once found a leather valet box filled with vintage cuff-links there for $5!    Behind the counter, mounted to pegboard, are an assortment of frames and framed artworks.   From needlepoint to watercolour, postcard sized to "hang over a fireplace" huge, the prices range greatly here, but there are steals to be found.   The jewelry counter faces the kitchenware section, which contains all manner of mugs, glassware, vintage tins, and the last time I was there I was THISCLOSE to snapping up a full 8 piece set of 1950s robin's egg blue cookware for only $30, but someone got to it THREE FEET before I did.  (The screaming caps are totally appropriate here!)

I bought one of these vintage clay crocks to hold utensils.
The next section is menwear.  I don't spend a lot of time here, but I do still like to drop in to look at the kooky ties, and to admire the fabric and workmanship of some of the vintage blazers and sportcoats.  I once scored the Perfectly Worn Brown Leather Satchel here for $5, dragging it out from under a pile of cheap backpacks when I caught a glimpse of a brass buckle.

Next up:  the women's section!   There's a rack of belts,  a small table filled with lacy slips, folded printed scarves, and other oddities.   There's a wall of shelving filled with carefully folded sweaters, as well as tote bags and purses.   I always find beautiful vintage evening clutches here, but since I don't need/have space for them, I have yet to pick one up.   The rest of the women's section is comprised of a rack of jeans (I generally steer clear), a round rack of blouses and skirts (I spend time here as the average per item price is $5), two tall display racks with dresses, suits, and some rather extraordinary vintage items.   I once spent several minutes debating a matched lightweight wool three piece consisting of a pencil skirt, collarless blazer, and MATCHING swing coat.   I left it behind, as it needed alteration, and would have ended up in the back of my closet.   Most of all I needed to reign in on my urge to Rescue All the Beautiful Things.   There is a selection of shoes, a rack of nightgowns and robes (most quite Sears-y, but with the occasional gorgeous wisp of display-worthy antique lace) and a large rolling rack just groaning with coats.

In the middle of the room are more home decor items, vintage paper ephemera (many lovely cards at $0.25 a piece!), and the table surface where the helpful volunteers will help you tally and wrap up.  Tip:  if you have several pieces, you can always try to bargain.  It's not always successful, it is a charity shop after all, but hey, a budget is a budget!

My last stop is the well-stocked book section, organized by category, and most priced between $1 and $5.   I've found lovely coffee table books here to give as housewarming presents, at a fraction of the retail price.  I love opening the older books and finding vintage bookplates.

So there you go!  Weekly treasure-hunting, right downtown!  Perhaps I'll see you there sometime?


Mary Jane

P.S.:  Last week's $10 find - brass bookends!  (They were attached to rather sad wood bits, which I wrestled off with scissors as soon as I got them back to the office.)