The Arthur is a vintage decor shop stocking unique pieces tagged with individual histories. Liz Ikiriko, owner of the new store on College at Euclid, tells me the shop was actually borne from her own family history.
"A few years ago I went out to Saskatchewan to help move my grandparents' things out of their home." That's when she discovered a whole collection of unique pieces in her grandparents' possession, things she couldn't possibly bear to see simply discarded.
"When was on maternity leave," Liz says, referencing her previous job as a photo editor at Toronto Life, "it seemed like the right time to really pursue this idea." So she continued collecting items and eventually opened The Arthur, named for her grandfather, as an online shop.
"But this was always the dream," Liz says, leading me through the narrow shop. "Besides, I began carrying things that were just too hard to ship."
The Arthur offers a whole range of vintage pieces, from a retractable science class amoeba chart from 1955 ($180) to an assortment of vintage salt and pepper shakers ($10). With so many varied, unique items, it's sort of hard for me to put my finger on the unifying elements of the collection at The Arthur.
"Basically," Liz says trying to clarify, "I pick things I love. I love well-designed old mechanics, especially since I come from a photo background. I love old cameras, typewriters, things you can still use in your everyday life."
And each item brings with it a story of a past life, some more literally than others. I'm thinking specifically of The Arthur's small collection of army blankets, many with a soldier's name still boldly embroidered in the corner. D. Brock's pale plaid blanket ($65), for example, is currently waiting at The Arthur.
The toys totally win me over, though. There are a couple of tin toy houses--a farmhouse and nursery ($30)--that are printed with meticulous detail inside, and a stack of old games including The Six Million Dollar Man and Chuck-a-Luck, ranging from $10-$30. Plus, for a little vintage make-believe, The Arthur has several custom compiled dress-up kits, including a "Tea for Two" kit with fancy hats, a tea pot, tea cups and more ($70).
Photos by Dennis Marciniak