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.


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!


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.


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.


Vancouver Island: Day Two

Well I’m back in the line for the ferry at the end of a long day waiting to head back to the mainland. It’s been a long hot trip and today I stopped and probably a dozen different stores in search of treasure. But of course it all started out at the campground and after I packed everything up had a shower and checked out I headed into Nanaimo and went to the first thrift store I could find. And wouldn’t you know I actually found something completely new! 

This is a mug from BC Ferries that was used on their very short-lived Pacificat Fleet, high speed ferries that barely saw service before they were mothballed and sold off

What a fortuitous start to the day!  The next thrift store was a bit of a dud but after that I found something that looked a little bit… familiar.  Another BC Ferries mug.

An action shot of the mug as I found it.

Once again I barely got into the car before I spotted another thrift shop and found a plane creamer in the stock pattern. The finds restarting it a little bit more interesting, and a little bit older. The mugs from the BC Ferries date back to the late nineties or early 2000. The creamers made by John Maddock & Sons and the pattern is called Rosebud.

Is it starting to get repetitive!  Because at the next thrift store I found yet another BC Ferries mug, and some other stock pattern hotelware restaurant pieces. I found a stock pattern gravy boat three side plates in a pattern that was used by Canadian Railway News, and two small plates with Evergreen border.

After all this time getting in and out of thrift stores it was time it’s a real antique shops. The first two antique malls didn’t have anything but the third one I found some neat pieces.  A few were plain, but there was an oval bowl from the Tzouhalem Hotel and a tiny butter pat/ice cream shell.  Even though it is from Toronto, I didn’t want to leave it behind.  It had been in the shop for a few years (it also had a dead fly in it) and the price dropped low enough for me.

But now it was late afternoon and the whole reason for my trip to this island was approaching. It was the antique show in Duncan BC and I made arrangements to trade a mug from the Union Steamship Company for a hotel butter pat.  Before making the trade-off I did a quick Buzz around the show to see if I could find any other Treasures but I didn’t find a thing. I did have a nice time talking with vendors and meeting other collectors that have the same interest and giving my contact information.  I’m always looking to buy or trade but I also enjoy seeing other collections of hotelware so I could learn what is potentially out there to be found. I ended up buying a plain restaurant Ware mug to add to my collection as well.

The crowds! Who knows how many were bought before i got inside!

The Coldstream Hotel was near Vernon, BC