Annex Pawn is a sea of pirate's treasure, with contents that span everything from the sartorial to the functional. But everything in the store is sprinkled with a little bit of magic, and Annex Pawn feels as much like a gallery as a shop.
Owner Vince Carere opened up a little over a year ago in collaboration with his partner, Madge. Formerly home to Dedora Custom Framing Gilding & Frame Restoration, the sprawling shop now stocks everything from racks of clothing from the twenties through to the nineties, to mid-century furniture to a collection of animal skulls.
It's located along a wild stretch of Bathurst Street, just below Dupont, and surrounded by small galleries, specialty shops, a diner, and a divey saloon or two. The area is quietened by the derelict warehouses lining Dupont to the north.
For me, the collection of stunning vintage garments is the biggest draw to Annex Pawn. On my way in, I drool over a scoopback Pucci bodysuit. In the back of the store, a charcoal grey Alexander McQueen babydoll dress from the '90s ($85) is adorned with tiny gold skull beads, and it's nestled in next to a black crinoline dress with a sweetheart neckline from the '30s ($180).
Alongside the superlative (and, for its condition, reasonably-priced) vintage, Madge does stunning upcycled pieces, like the "gold leaf black chiffon majestic dress" in a skater-esque silhouette ($85).
Annex Pawn does household items as well as it does fashion, though. The place is strewn with antique signage letters ($175-200), a '60s telephone table ($140), antlers ($50), a chalkboard globe ($40), a huge collection of frames and art, old cigarette tins, statues, various antique jewels, trunks, vintage suitcases, and endless other charismatic oddities. Hanging out in here feels like spending an afternoon in an elderly aunt's attic - only it's clean, and well-curated.
I love the place, but the one thing I would say is that visitors should be prepared to spend a little more in here than in your average pawn shop. The stuff is real treasure, it just doesn't come at bargain prices. That said, there's none of the seediness or junk in here that you'd find at many pawn shops, so it's worth a visit.
Photos by James C Lee .