Day Two: Icy Roads and Sidewalks, Fender Benders and Finds

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View from my hotel room in the morning.

I got a decent price on the hotel, which was what inspired this trip in the first place, but its probably because the room hasn’t been updated in twenty years and I think that the thermostat is for decoration rather than function.  But the hotel is in a decent location away from the downtown crowds, so the streets are quieter at night, which is a bonus with the thin, single glazed windows.  So this morning I listed some items on ebay that I brought with me so I could get some “work” done this morning as well.  I did a mass listing for eight Tim Horton’s soup bowls (purchased, not stolen) and a pair of size 44 True Religion jeans.  I typically list Diesel and True Religion as “buy it now” for $39.99, but the final sales showed that I may be able to get more.  Since a got a bid within ten minutes, with a starting price of $39.99, it seems like the Lululemon resale rule applies to True Religion:  The bigger the size, the bigger the profit!

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The fatter the ass, the fatter the profit!

After listing, I went to the $14 breakfast buffet which was included last time since I was staying in a suite but I didn’t think it was worth $14.  The food was lukewarm.  But it was off to my first stops of the day which I took the car out for.  I needed to meet someone that I sold a vintage suitcase to on Abbotsford Bidding Wars and we were both coincidentally in Victoria at the same time.  So in order to make the most of taking the car out on dangerous streets, I went to a couple of home consignment stores: Super Chance and Good Things Consignment. But nothing good was to be found at either.  I also went to a Salvation Army thrift store that was a little off the beaten track but I bought a “Hallmark Keepsake” Eastern Bluebird ornament that I think I can make a few bucks on.  It was in a shopping cart full of stuff and I wasn’t sure if it was stock that was going out on the floor or of the cart belonged to a very enthusiastic shopper.  I grabbed it quickly, inspected the product, and paid.  But it was off to meet my buyer at the Capital City Centre Hotel, which was a former Traveller’s Inn that was renovated and rebranded after that local chain went out of business.

The exchange went off without a hitch, but the entrance was on a hill that was covered in ice.  I was fine getting in, but I didn’t want to careen out of control and hit the cars parked on either side of the road.  As I was inching out, a butter yellow Chrysler PT Cruiser came barreling down the hill and I thought to myself, “I can see this turning out poorly,” and I was correct.  The back end slid out, and he glanced off the bumper of this 1980s Ford pickup.  The impact cracked and dislodged the Chrysler’s bumper.  I proceeded slowly down the hill, which was only 30 meters, and went around the Chrysler.  The driver had pulled off to the side at the corner and while it sustained damage, the Ford was none the worse for wear.  I enjoyed the whole episode immensely.

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Six brass uniform buttons from the Kings Own Calgary Regiment and one from the First Hussars.  Total investment:$3.00

After I parked the car, I did my standard antique store route by walking up and down Fort Street.  My first stop was at a collectibles store simply called Curiosity Shop and I poked through a box of military buttons sitting on the counter, and they were all RCAF, except for the seven above.  I had good luck flipping a mug from a branch of the military for $50 that I paid $3 for, so I thought I would try these.  Time will tell if I do well or not.  That was my only purchase on the former “Antique Row”.  Many of the few remaining shops are closing because the area is undergoing redevelopment.  After my walk up and down Fort, I headed to Command Post of Militaria on Government Street and looked around there.  They have a stack of plates from the Sons of Empire, which was a social club/fraternal organization in Victoria, and they were for sale for $5.00 a plate.  I’ll go back tomorrow and try and make a deal.  I didn’t want to carry around a heavy stack of plates.  From there it was to Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant, which does a really nice buffet.  There was no line, thank God, because these weak vegetarians take forever to shuffle through, likely due to a lack of meat in their diet.

From there, I rounded out my day stopping at the downtown Salvation Army thrift store and on to the Value Village.  That location is easily the busiest I’ve ever been in, and for a time of year that is generally slow for that business, the place was hopping.  The jewellery section is always well organized and they had some jade cufflinks that I’m still considering.  I started at the jewellery and then zigzagged through the housewares and spotted a familiar sight.

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Five plates from Canadian Railway News!  The one at the bottom was individually priced at $1.99.  I’m starting to get an accumulation of these, and I hope to trade them to another collector.

There were no other jeans, though I picked up an interesting vintage puzzle that I will re-gift.  I spent probably and hour and a half browsing, and I will definitely go back in the days to come.

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Day One: Let it Snow, Rain, and Freezing Rain from Abbotsford to Victoria

Today was the start of my three night trip to Victoria, and I planned my journey to make the most efficient use of my time and resources.  First off, I got up early and did some ebay shipping stuff.  I had sold two items in the past day, and since I would miss one of my normal shipping days I prevailed upon my brother-in-law to bring them across the border to Sumas to mail them for me.  I got them both prepped mostly the night before, but I had to print off a shipping label for one in the morning.  I headed off to Aldergrove to leave them in his garage.  Of course this was the first day in a long time that we actually got snow, and it was lightly falling as I made my way to Aldergrove.  I gave myself ample time, so after I left the parcels I quietly entered the house to visit the cat, LB.

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Who can resist such fluffy cuteness?!?!

From there, it was on to the freeway and to the ferry, a journey that included stop and go traffic, rain, snow, flurries, and heavy snow.  I took the Tsawwassen – Duke Point ferry to Nanaimo to visit some of the thrift stores and antique shops up there.  The sailing was fine and in the middle of the Strait of Georgia we found snow flurries and the captain made an announcement that a gray whale was flopping around out there.  So I got to do some whale watching, just like I did on the “Friendship Cruise”.  From there, it was off the ferry and out to Coombs to an antique shop that has yielded some good finds in the past, called “High Class” Junque.

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Nanaimo through the fog and flurries.

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Harbour traffic.

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“High Class” Junque store, site of my first finds.

I poked around in that store for quite a while, and I bought two pieces that I intend to flip on ebay.  Sadly, there was nothing here for my collection.  But the sky was getting brighter, so I spent some time next door at the Coombs Country Market and bought a couple of things to give away for Christmas.  The S.O.S. thrift store in nearby Parksville usually has some treasures but it and the local Salvation Army were both busts, so I headed back to Nanaimo through some very thick snow.

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My finds from “High Class” Junque: A Long Bell bowl made by Buffalo China and a pinecone pattern fruit nappy made by Tepco.  Since they are both American made, there is no place for them in my collection.

I stopped at a few thrift stores in Nanaimo, and there was nothing but crap.  I couldn’t find anything there for my collection or to flip.  I was tempted by some wine glasses at one store, but I wanted to save my money.  The last store I stopped at had a stack of Medalta soup plates that I ended up picking up.  They are plain, but sturdy like the Alberta clay they were made from.  My next destination was the Nanaimo Value Village, where I have had some luck in the past with some vintage crafting stuff.  By now, it was 3:15 pm and it was starting to get darker out.  I didn’t linger too long in the store but I did find a pair of Diesel jeans that I can make some money on, and on on the bottom shelf, I spied with my little eye…

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A Canadian Railway News fruit nappy.  The company has evolved from operating lunch counters and selling newspapers and is now operating such restaurants as Harvey’s, Milestones, Montana’s, New York Fries, and others. 

After this, I headed to Chemainus to visit one of the antique malls, but it to was a disappointment.  I bought a Steitz butter pat that I already had in my collection because it was only $10 and I didn’t want to leave empty handed.  By then, I was tired from the early morning and hungry, so I stopped at a grocery store in Duncan for a wrap, filled up the tank, and drove through more ugly weather to Victoria, and parked in front of my hotel, the Harbour Towers.  At this point, my brain was only working at 30% capacity.  When I walked in, some random guy asked me if I was the driver.  Since I had just parked in a passenger drop off zone in front of the hotel, I said that I was a driver.  Turns out, he thought I was a cab driver and I had to inform him that I was simply a guest at the hotel, checking in.  I hope Day 2 is more exciting.

Vancouver and the Value Village Circuit

Vancouver is an interesting quandry when it comes to collecting for me.  Do I want to make a trip into town on the off chance that I might find something?  It usually a fruitless search but the occasional find plants a seed of doubt in my mind.  I try to rationalize such trips by tacking it on to something else:  A visit to an art exhibit at UBC, picking up a Sunday afternoon shift at one of our western library branches, or in this case, doing a partial Value Village circuit.  My intentions are to always get to the antique shows at the Croatian Cultural Centre as it opens but true to form, I got there half an hour later than I intended (due to a combination of stopping at the bank, grabbing a coffee, and the distractions of cute cat videos on the internet)

I found adequate parking, entered and muscled my way through the first room of antique vendors.  The show organizers cram as many tables as humanly possible into the venue, leaving little room for the shoppers to maneuver.  Its like a game of Pac Man, avoiding people and looking for a clear path between the tables, and trying to get down every aisle.  I was surprised that I actually found two treasures.

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A dinner plate from the St. Francis Hotel, which was located in downtown Vancouver across the street from the current Waterfront Skytrain Station and Seabus Terminal (formerly the CPR station.  The envelope is from Buscombe & Co, the company that imported the plate from England.  Follow the above link for more information about the hotel!

I purchased both items from fellow members of the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectibles Club, and I was very glad to get them.  If this was the only find of the day, I would have been satisfied.  Although I didn’t need anything else to justify the trip, there were multiple Value Villages beckoning.  The first one I went to is south of the Croatian Cultural Centre on Victoria Drive, and is often more trouble than its worth.  I had to go around the block twice to find parking, and there were no collectible treasures to be found.  But anything for the collection would be gravy on top, because I was really searching for things that I could resell on ebay.  To fund my collection, home repairs, and holidays, I buy and flip thrift store stuff.  Its mainly designer jeans from Diesel, but I also will do True Religion and 7 For All Mankind.  I found a couple pairs of jeans, spotted some Lego in a display case that was missing all the mini figures, and saw some interesting folk.  When I was checking out the Lego, there were two women at the checkout taking their sweet time.  But they were wearing furry costumes, but without the heads.  There was no good opportunity to take a picture, but though it was odd, I support their personal expression.

After leaving the store on Victoria Drive, I headed back to Grandview Highway and to the Transcanada to go to the Value Village on United Boulevard in Coquitlam.  I had way better luck with the parking situation there, and was able to enter the store promptly.  I started my circuit of the store at the jewellery cases, and seeing no cufflinks, I started zig zagging through the housewares.  I searched the dishes down the aisle from bottom to the top, and when I reached the very end on the top of the shelf, I saw the telltale sign of a stack of hotelware:  Thicker rounded edges.  Since they were on the top shelf, I couldn’t see if they were a stock pattern which I have seen a lot of at this location.  I reached up, pulled them down, and the shock at what I found was matched only by the sticker price:  Six Western Canada Steamship Company side plates for $12.99!

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Western Canada Steamship Company plates in the basket that barely rolled.

I would have paid more for a single plate, and was over the moon.  I like to use this pattern when I have people over for dinner, and I have quite a few place settings.  Dishes from WCSSCo were much more common a few years ago, but the supply has dried up.  When I first started collecting, I found a cereal bowl at the Maple Ridge Value Village which got me interested in the pattern, and I later picked up a box full of the dishes at an antique show.  I’m very lucky to have found these.  Of course I hoped to find more and scoured the shelves to no avail.  I tracked down a rolling shopping basket that still had partial functioning of the wheels (also a Value Village rarity, where the basket wheels are more lint than wheel).  The rest of the store was a bust, so it was on to the next stores.

I ended up visiting three more: Two more in Coquitlam (North Road and Lougheed Hwy) and Maple Ridge.  I bought an assortment of jeans, a book, and a Scene It Marvel boardgame that will end up on ebay before the Christmas rush is over.  Maple Ridge had the added bonus of running into a colleague from the Pitt Meadows Library whon I don’t often see anymore since I am full time in Clearbrook.  All in all, it was one of the most successful and exciting trips that I’ve been on to the thrift stores.  As I write this, I’m on the ferry to Nanaimo where I will hopefully find more treasures before I head down the Island for a three night stay in Victoria.

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This shows the pricing difference between stores.  $9.99 for a modern Vancouver Club cup and saucer.  This was spotted at the Value Village on North Road where an older fellow was also seen walking around wearing a Mexican poncho.