Stowaway Vintage is a sweet little shop tucked into Melanie Machado's front room. The little shop at Dovercourt and Hallam, just south of Dupont Street, is crammed full of more weird and wonderful vintage treasures than I've seen in one shop in a long while.
When I walk in the door, a mannequin clad in a gorgeous '70s-era sundress with a green and yellow floral pattern ($20) greets me. Surrounding the mannequin is a wall of delightful vintage prints, many of them in ornate antique frames that would be perfect as part of a mixed gallery wall.
A few steps up and into the shop, and you might have the pleasure of meeting Machado's superlatively cute daughter Avielle. As she plays amongst the rack of long '60s and '70s dresses, Machado tells me she and her husband have been collectors for the past 10 years. Machado always wanted to open a shop, but she didn't know it would be so soon, or would be located in her home. But her front window display, which she changes up on the regular, drew in neighbours, who in turn suggested the idea.
"People would see the display and be like 'Can we come in?'" Machado says.
"I was like, 'um ... we can do things that will make it legal for you to come in.'"
The shop, though tiny, is a good fit for the growing neighbourhood. I Love Mom Tattoo Studio is across the street, there are some cute restaurants in the area , and Hub Coffee House is at the intersection, too.
Alongside the carefully curated and accessibly-priced clothes and accessories (a '70s clutch goes for $9, bangles are $3, and dresses run for around $30), you'll also find bins of records. I spot mostly long-treasured classics like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Johnny Cash and Elvis, and all appear to be in good shape (and priced around $15-$30, which gives some downtown record stores a run for their money).
On the walls, you will find the strangest knick knacks and creepy toys from decades gone by. Terrifying '60s dolls and figurines (prices range, but many can be had for around $12) stare down at you alongside Disney treasures that look like they've escaped from nightmares. It may sound like I'm hating on these freaky little items, but I'm not. They're creepy in a unique, special way, and I haven't seen anything like them elsewhere in Toronto.
Other treasures include vintage cigarette tins (which are great for holding weed, and which run for as little as $15), as well as sunglasses, beautiful old photos and postcards (5 for $3), and tons of beautiful Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ paraphernalia to assuage the Catholic in you.
Photos by Derek Flack