The demise of Christie Antique and Vintage Shows is not just the end of a significant local event, it is another hit to the declining antique industry, said a founder of the bi-annual Hamilton market.
“Regular, full-time dealers built that show into their calendar every year,” said Jeff Gadsden, a Christie Antique Show founder, “they could count on two decent paydays every year and that’s no longer available to them.”
Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) announced that they would scrap all future Christie shows in a May 13 release, just days before they would normally host the spring edition. The last planned event was expected to take place at Christie Conservation Area on May 23, 2020, before it was cancelled by pandemic lockdown measures.
HCA, who have been operating the one-day show in both spring and fall for the last 20 years after purchasing it from the Gadsdens in 2010, said increasing costs, weather-dependent attendance and surging interest in activities such as beach-going, picnicking, boating and hiking, were factors in their decision.
“Closing off the park to some of those activities in order to prepare and host large events, like the Christie show, is simply now too hard to justify,” they wrote in a Friday release.
In a 2019 annual report, the conservation authority pegged attendance at a combined 15,000 for both events.
Gadsden said that in the show’s prime, a single-day event on a day with agreeable weather would bring in 10,000 to 11,000 people. In one instance, he recalls a 12,000-visitor day, a number they couldn’t replicate.
The Gadsdens, along with co-founder John Forbes, hosted 90 or 100 dealers at the first Christie Antique Show in 1988, he recalls. By the time they handed over the reins, they had maxed out the area at 310 dealers, and had a wait list of sellers who wanted in on the action. The duo continue to operate P.E.I.-based Antique Shows Canada, which includes the annual Elora market and an annual online show.
A big show like that ending is “a sad thing for the antiques business,” Gadsden says, but the bad news doesn’t end on the shores of Christie Reservoir. The industry “has been in a downward spiral for years now,” he added.
Other than Aberfoyle Antique Market, Gadsden said there is “nearly nothing” in the area.
And for people looking to take up the mantle, he says, “it’s exceedingly difficult to build a new show from scratch.”
Here are some upcoming antique markets in the region
Aberfoyle Antique Market
Every Sunday between April 24 and Oct. 30; Plus two Saturday shows June 11 and Sept. 17.
57 Brock Road South, Puslinch.
Admission is $5 on Sundays, $10 on Saturdays — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Features 100-plus dealers at Sunday markets selling furniture, folk art, collectibles and more. Saturday markets feature many more guest dealers.
Heritage Antique Market
May 23 at Centrepoint Mall, 6464 Yonge St., Toronto.
Admission is free between 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, early-bird admission from 6 to 9:30 a.m. is $25.
Show includes 65 dealers from Ontario and Quebec selling antique art, furniture, jewelry and more.
Ancaster Nostalgia Show and Sale
June 26 at Marritt Hall, Ancaster Fairgrounds, 630 Trinity Rd.
Early admission, for $10, starts at 9:30 a.m. and then the price falls at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. in order to stagger arrivals.
The show features 150-plus vendors selling small antiques and vintage collectibles. Be prepared to pay in cash.
Hamilton Antique Mall
Open daily at 233 Ottawa St. N.
Features over 100 vendors in four levels of booths selling a wide variety of antiques.