vintage furniture hamilton

Toronto's favourite vintage furniture stores are closing and moving to Hamilton

Many of Toronto's favourite vintage and reclaimed furniture stores are making an exodus for Hamilton.

Parkdale's Queen West Antique Centre and Hideaway as well as the Junction's SMASH have all made the big move and others could soon be on the way.

“The space is bigger and cheaper,” SMASH owner Paul Mercer said. It's that simple. In March, his store made the move after being one of the forerunners of the wave of new businesses near Dundas and Keele.

In 2018, it opened in the Junction before many people even knew where that neighbourhood was.

Hideaway's owner Bill Jarman still remembers when Toronto was littered with vintage and antique stores in the late 90s.

At the time, there was an energy surrounding vintage finds in Toronto and Parkdale was the heart of it all.

But ten years ago, Jarman’s rent doubled and then two years ago, it doubled again. When he opened shop, his rent was $6,000 a month. When he moved out, it was $21,000 a month.

When rent hikes, vintage and “antique furniture stores move locations on mass,” Jarman said.

He is still in the process of moving his shop into the Avon, a 1940s movie theatre in Hamilton.

Hideaway and Queen West Antique Centre were neighbours for over 25 years in Toronto. Now, they're down the road from one another on Ottawa Street, where the new hub has congregated.

After more than two decades in Toronto, Queen West Antique Centre opened Filter Design in Hamilton in September and closed their Parkdale location in December. “Our intent was to keep both of them open,” storeowner Mike Mason said.

But, once their lease was up, their rent became too expensive to keep their location near Queen and Roncesvalles. “I guess that is just how things evolve in Toronto,” he added.

Machine Age Modern, a landmark vintage furniture shop in Leslieville, is now closing too. Signs are up on their windows saying everything is currently 50% off.

Their exodus follows that of neighbour Home James which closed earlier this month after their landlord doubled the rent.

Mason said he would love for Machine Age Modern to join the Hamilton hub. “But, he’s a Toronto boy,” Mason said, referring to Jack Keck, the shop’s owner.

Keck and Machine Age Modern were unavailable for comment.

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