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‘It is a destination’: vendors, collectors say antique and vintage growing tourism in Regina

‘It is a destination’: vendors, collectors say antique and vintage growing tourism in Regina
WATCH: People are travelling from across the country to shop for collectibles in the Queen City, according to Ada Bennett of YQR Vintique Market.

As a young girl, Ada Bennett accompanied her father on shopping trips to buy fine china for her mother.

“My mother was allergic to flowers and so my father started buying her Royal Albert Petit Point china,” said Bennett on Thursday morning, standing just a few metres from a similar set for sale in YQR Vintique Market, the non-profit she is now managing at 1279 Osler St. in Regina.

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“To me, vintage is love. That’s the expression of romantic love.”

Bennett is one of eight vendors comprising the co-operative, the sixth place in the neighbourhood selling antique, vintage, second-hand and/or used items.

People are travelling to the city from across the province and country to shop for collectibles in the Queen City, she said, and they’re looking for things that are fairly accessible to dealers and enthusiasts here.

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On the north wall of the market, which officially opens on the weekend, hangs a vintage British American Oil sign, priced around $1,400.

“This sign would sell for five to six times more in Toronto,” Bennett said. “We can get it easily because it’s available here, but they can’t, so they’ll pay for that rarity.”

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Saskatchewan’s heritage plays a significant role in the vintage and antique scene in the province. From the tabletop to the tool shed, much of what’s on display at YQR Vintiques either directly or indirectly highlights the province’s rural roots.

While agriculture continues to be a major economic driver, some farming traditions  –  and the things that go along with them – have become less prevalent over the years.

“A lot of things that were sitting in barns are now starting to come out of the barns,” said Bennett, noting that trend has been accompanied by an uptick in interest in “farmhouse style” decor, “a sort of antithesis to the modern style.”

She sees social media, particularly picture-sharing sites and apps, as both driving the craze and people to the Prairies to find what they’re looking for.

Dean Milton began collecting as a teenager with an interest in cars from the 50s and 60s.

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Dean Milton began collecting transportation and automotive-themed items as a teenager. Now, his collection includes a little bit of everything.
Dean Milton began collecting transportation and automotive-themed items as a teenager. Now, his collection includes a little bit of everything. Adrian Raaber / Global News

“Then after that, it was all about anything to do with automotive, gas station memorabilia, oil and gas, any kind of car parts, something shiny that kind of went with cars that you could put in a garage,” Milton said, thinking back on how he came to acquire so many licence plates, toys, cookie tins, figurines, stamps  –  and the list goes on.

“I just like old things and I think it was because of my grandfathers who lived on the Prairies and had old items in their homes,” he said. “Typically, people collect what they grew up with.”

Milton has grown his collection through his travels across North America, but a lot of what he has did come from garage sales and flea markets in or around Regina.

“I think it is a destination. I think people from outside of Regina come to the city on the weekends and they want to check out some of the antique and vintage items for sale. I definitely do,” he said.