What’s up with antiques?
How antique shopping helps us make mindful purchases while preserving a piece of history.

In today’s age of constant consumerism, merely logging on to social media results in being bombarded with aggressive advertising for the latest products. As soon as you’ve exhausted your wish list, your old purchases seem less exciting, and there are new items to be bought. However, the withstanding popularity of antique goods shows us that some things never get old—or maybe getting old is what makes them special. 

Antiques are a range of items spanning from homeware and furniture to accessories, jewelry, and much more. People often use the terms antique and vintage interchangeably. However, to be classified as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old—whereas vintage items are fewer than 1oo years old—often dating back to the 1930s to 1970s. While still interesting, vintage items are easier to find and often have less historical significance than antique items. 

In November 2023, the City of Mississauga welcomed the iconic Sunday Antique Market. Formerly a beloved Toronto affair at the St. Lawrence Market for the past 31 years, it has recently become an addition to the Lakeview community. Taking place at the Small Arms Inspection Building, on 1352 Lakeshore Road East, the multi-day market features a variety of antiques from Canadian vendors. 

At each display, sellers showcase rare items from around the world. In the suburbs, amid the many monotonous chain retailers, the arrival of an antique market revives the city’s shopping landscape with character and charm. Antique collectors and curious newbies alike are sure to find excitement and community among other invaluable finds at the Sunday Antique Market.  

Much of the value of antiques lies in their craftsmanship. Belonging to a time before mass industrialization, antique goods were created masterfully by hand. Each era bears distinct markers of design seen through its artifacts. Perhaps most associated with antiques are objects of the Victorian period; created during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. This period can be characterized by its furniture carved expertly from deep mahogany wood and cushioned with regal damask patterns. Moving past the Victorian period, the most recent antique period is the mid-century modern era, which favours a clean and minimal appearance using squares and circles in their simplest forms. 

Looking into the history of antiques helps us understand the evolution of design and culture. Studying artifacts from the past can even help us make sense of our present while also predicting what the future may look like. Unlike mass-produced products, antiques carry with them a piece of their previous owners, offering a unique immersion into a past existence. There is truly something special about owning a unique item that has endured the passage of time, and by some strange fate, fallen into your own hands, far from where and when it was first created. 

To purchase an antique is to give a new life to an object that has been left behind. It is to resist the incessant pull of modern marketing, and instead, return our attention to our shared history as people, and ultimately, what makes us human.


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