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Design Stores

The Queen West Antique Centre

Posted by Craig / Posted on August 19, 2008

Queen West Antique CentreIt's a testament to human ingenuity that old stuff which outlived its obvious usefulness can be creatively recycled and add richness to the world. Truly, it can be said, one man's trash is another man's gold. And so I've come to do some antique sniffing.

In all honesty, this area of Queen Street is a bit forgotten. It's a little like a "displaced person" or internal refugee after a long war. In this case, it was the no-prisoners real-estate war of the 1990's. It's not quite in Roncesvalles, and it's way past most of the action in Parkdale. What collects out here is flotsam and jetsam and a lot of antique shops, all huddled together at the end of Queen.

But it's less a place where old things drop off the map than it is a place where things that reached the end of the line are snapped back and born again.

The creatively named "Queen West Antique Centre" used to be a mini-mall for antiques, with lots of vendors and open space, before it died. But the store that's grown up in its place is worth a look-see despite its vague sense of shabbiness and the overwhelming smell of dust and old paper.

Queen West Antique CentreThere's not a lot of it, but some of the seating is occasionally interesting. The overall theme seems to be "Suburban Bungalow", from the days when TV was new and men had yet to walk on the moon. It's all slightly more worn than second-hand places elsewhere, but the prices are definitely much better.

Queen West Antique CentreThey have a good collection of old desks, most of them industrial and made out of sheet metal, though a few look like they belong on the set of a 1970's police movie. Most of them were never meant for home use, and given that they're also just old enough to look out of place these days, they might add the right contrast to the right room.

Queen West Antique Centre
The owner collects items from a most unlikely source: schools. There are things here that were old school when I was in school. They have everything you need to outfit a classroom circa 1960. There are pull-down science displays by the dozen, globes aplenty, old wall maps, art, wonderfully retro school desks and odds and ends. There's even a wall display of old trophies, a sad comment on how ephemeral our teenage years truly are.

Queen West Antique CentreThere's a definite industrial feeling about the mish-mash of things on display. There are bits of machinery and odd mechanical devices, and a lot of painted metal. The huge collection of tables and industrial remains, like trolley carts, come from every style zone of the last 40 years.

Queen West Antique CentreWhat really gets my attention here is the medical paraphernalia. Somehow, the owner acquires old plastic anatomical models with removable parts (don't lose your liver, young man, you never know what question may be on the exam) and anatomical wall displays that are slightly too accurate for my own tastes. And then there are the science charts, like the one with the anatomical map of a starfish or the one with a detailed diagram of a hydra. Science labs were the source of some of these things, I'm sure. Apparently, the model hearts are the biggest sellers.

Queen West Antique CentreThe biggest score is the collection of old medical cabinets. They're shiny and stainless steel and look like they could fit in well in, say, a shiny, stainless steel kitchen, or maybe the right kind of dungeon. They get them in regularly, but they go out just as quickly. And they're not that expensive, given that they're solid metal and glass. They go for about $4000 apiece.

Queen West Antique CentreOf course, like all well-stocked antique shops, some of the material remains in this place were common at one time but are now totally forgotten. Or they're just plan weird. Surely, this stuff has to be useful to someone.

Queen West Antique Centre



Kristin / July 29, 2008 at 07:51 pm
This place should have a higher rating. It's one of the first if not THE FIRST place I would go to look for antique modern, especially 60s teak, furniture. They consistently have a good selection. Last time I was in there I saw Sara Richardson and her crew scoping the place out and filming presumably for one of her interior design T.V. shows. I love this place.
nick / August 19, 2008 at 05:38 pm
nice review. this makes me really want to check this place out!
Danielle / August 19, 2008 at 05:46 pm
I agree with Kristin. This is the best place around. I daydream about a time where I'll be able to fill up my rooms with this gorgeous stuff.
Elle Driver / August 19, 2008 at 06:43 pm
Love it love it love it! I looks like I could spend hours perusing this store. Thanks for the great review!
Adam / August 19, 2008 at 06:55 pm
Very cool! Didn't know this existed. Craig, love your posts so far!
patricia / August 19, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Thanks so much for this review!! I will definitely check this place out!!
DH / August 20, 2008 at 01:18 pm
Good to see a few people are willing to check out this great store based on this review... although, I can't imagine why. Maybe the writer's complete lack of knowledge concerning why people buy and sell antiques breaks down a perceived wall that would otherwise keep readers from entering any store along the end of Parkdale. But trust me, not only is much of the stock in this store not "long forgotten" but it is in high demand. But hey, I guess poking fun at everything is part and parcel of this site... and yet I still read it... crap.
Gary / December 6, 2008 at 08:07 am
Great store! Everything is authentic and either unusual or a rare one-off.
Each time I go there's new stuff. The people there obviously have a great eye. They staff are super friendly and helpful.

On the down-side, if you're used to getting your vintage finds through eBay or Craigslist, the prices might seem a bit high, but considering they do the work in finding the stuff, I think it's well worth it.
replying to a comment from Gary / January 21, 2009 at 01:59 pm
I bought a "Danish" teak dresser there, really believed I overpaid considering I opened the drawers to a strong smell of mothballs and made in Canada stamp at the back.
gildas / March 23, 2009 at 06:23 pm
Hi guys! maybe someone can help me here... i'm looking for a rotary phone that I would actually use as primary home phone. Let me know if you know a place where i can buy one.
Lenni / April 9, 2009 at 07:21 pm
This is by far my number one favourite store. They have great stuff, reasonably priced. We've purchased a number of items over the past few years and every time, the staff have been pleasant and professional.
Jennifer / May 7, 2009 at 05:28 pm
Gloria at The Painted Table (1716 Queen Street West) sells rotary phones that work. I know because I have one from her store.
Kathy.Lee / May 13, 2009 at 01:30 am
At present the company's contemporary artists are: Li Yansheng,Li Derun, Ouyang Zhongshi, Shen Peng, Gao Jinshu, Gao Wei, Wu Jin-liang,Liu Minghuai, Liu Xuanzhi, Yang Ping;Jiang HuiQing, Zhu Zeng-Quan,
Art-Technology products are: Rain Drop Glaze, Huang Jiyou, ceramics, Shandong Cuju,Pottery knives, folding screens、 carved porcelain (Liu Yongqiang, DingbangHai), painting, black, bottles;

Any questions please contact with us!
Gavin / May 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm
just realize most of those artists are Chinese.....I am a Chinese as well, so glad and proud to find this store, I am definitely gonna check the store soon......I need some nice furniture for my apt badly
John replying to a comment from gildas / August 2, 2009 at 02:51 pm
Hey man,
Ask at Studio Pazo on Queen E near Broadview, they have tons on them in the back.
Alexis / August 10, 2009 at 03:21 pm

Can anyone suggest a place that I should contact if I'm trying to sell 10 Castelli metal and wood stacking chairs? I don't have room for them any more and I would like to see them go to someone that loves modern furniture as much as I do! Please let me know. Any helpful hints would be great. Thanks!
Lynda Cooper / August 13, 2009 at 05:09 pm
I have 2 Victorian diningroom chairs for sale (dark wood) covered in gold brocade of the period. Also a Duncan Phyfe table circa turn of century. A pine desk.
erica., replying to a comment from gildas / January 24, 2010 at 07:47 pm
hey if your still looking, urban ourfitters has really cool ones, in black or red
tony / July 9, 2010 at 12:17 am
I have some teak pieces for sale. Roll-top desk and a filing cabinet.
kait / July 30, 2010 at 10:57 am
QWAC! Please get a website! I want to daydream at work about your beautiful furniture!
diane replying to a comment from tony / July 30, 2010 at 11:49 am
please post some pic's of the roll-top desk. It sounds rare.
tony / July 30, 2010 at 11:53 am
diane, please call me at 607-319-4588 and we can exchange e-mail addresses. I can send some pic's to you that way - tony
sarah replying to a comment from kait / August 27, 2010 at 09:00 am
Darin Danford replying to a comment from Alexis / February 24, 2011 at 12:46 am
Do you still have the 10 Castelli chairs?
shyam joshi / September 14, 2011 at 11:25 pm
Iam belongs to jodhpur, india. jodhpur is the haritage city of of india, here is huge collection of vintage & industrial furniture, and exporting to all over the world.
if you are interested, i can help you.
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I have not found what I wanted
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instant approval / January 25, 2012 at 09:42 pm
I have a few question to you, write to those I do not e-mail
auto loans prepaid bangalore / February 3, 2012 at 05:40 am
I’m a long time watcher and I just believed I’d drop by and say hello there for your very first time.
Aiden / May 12, 2012 at 05:15 pm
I concur! completely with what you said. Good stuff. Keep going, guys..
pam / March 3, 2014 at 09:18 am
ALWAYS found what I wanted here. Friendly no-intrusive staff. Great shop, great spot.
Gary C, / January 28, 2015 at 07:21 pm
Great looking shop! I never get to Toronto. Just a simple country boy (now)
I have a small store in Oro-Medonte township, north of Barrie.
I get some very interesting items in and I think that my prices are good because dealers buy from me.
I Also design and build my own creations. If you would like pictures and prices, please let me know.
You can see most of my things on

Thank you.

Gary C.
Gary C, / January 28, 2015 at 07:23 pm
Great stuff!
Caroline Delph / August 3, 2015 at 11:37 am
I have a set of chair & sofa which belonged to my Grandmother. I am 67! It is very beautiful! I have pictures I can send you. Also extremely comfortable. They don't make them like this now days! I can be reached at: 519-688-0611. 20 Maple Lane, Tillsonburg, Ont., CA . In Toronto it would be worth about $3,000 I am told and I am asking 1,000.

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