Antiquing isn’t an activity that, until recently, appealed to me. Isn’t it an activity that has people mulling over other people’s cast-offs or collectables? However, my viewpoint changed for a reason I’ll reveal soon.
I’ll admit dog-friendly antique markets are now on my radar. Why pet-friendly? Because I like to take my dog everywhere, so my first foray into the world of antique markets – or in most cases, flea markets – involved taking my dog with me. (Check out our US list here)
My first experience with antique markets began at the Aberfoyle Antique Market – last fall – because the Aberfoyle Antique Market near Guelph, Ontario, Canada doesn’t open for the season until April 30, 2023 (this year) and closes in October each year. The market is outdoors and expansive (100 plus regular vendors). Yet, it’s only open Sundays from 8 am to 4 pm, and on select ‘special event’ Saturdays.
I’ve driven by the Aberfoyle Antique Market many times for years, maybe decades, but have never stopped. Until I did. Then, I discovered a large outdoor part antique/part old stuff outdoor market with (as cliche as it might be) something for every one hunting for unique second-hand and collectible stuff. Some vendors set up on outdoor tables, some are under awnings and some regulars have shed-like permanent shops.
Best of all, dogs are welcome. Really welcome, for the most part. In fact, one person told me their dog considers the event ‘hotdog Sunday’ because every time they visit (which is often) their pup gets a hot dog.
Parking is free. Admission is $5 at the Aberfoyle Antique Market (leashed dogs get in free). And I unexpectedly spent hours nosing my way through reasonably priced second-hand wooden furniture, tables of books, ornamental architectural pieces, antique hardware, dishware from all decades and my favourite: Beswick and Royal Doulton animal figurines.
Yes, that’s why I’ve developed an unexpected interest in antique markets: Beswick ceramic animals. I began collecting them as a kid, saving my money for a couple of cats before I lost interest. Decades passed. Then, before my mother died two years ago, she wrapped and boxed up my small 30-year-old collection and sent it to me.
Since that moment, I’ve renewed my interest in these ceramic figurines, which fortunately are not terribly collectable. Fortunate for me because that means prices for each hasn’t changed much since I had to save my babysitting money to buy one.
What was my first Beswick animal purchase as an adult? Spaniels, of course, followed by more dogs figured I discovered at the Aberfoyle Antique Market. I’ll likely be back with my pup this summer.
But keeping dogs under control at antique and flea markets is essential – there’s so many breakables around! And that might be the reason why many markets don’t permit pups. You need room between vendors.
Here are some considerations when taking your pup to dog-friendly antique markets:
- Keep an eye on your dog, especially if he’s a jumper like my part-Springer, because there’s a lot of breakables around.
- Older stuff smells – maybe not to us, but to our dogs. Be careful your pup doesn’t ‘mark’ merchandise. That’s the main reason many flea markets are not dog-friendly.
- Walk your dog around the parking lot or grassy areas outside the gate before you bring him into the market, so he’s ’empty.’
- Pick up after your dog thoroughly if they do go inside the gates and near where people walk.
- Markets can be crowded – make sure your dog is comfortable in crowds
- Bring a bowl for water and some treats to keep your pup happy – or there’s always the hot dog idea.
- Look for larger outdoor markets – more room for you and Fido is preferable.
- Finally, not only are there things your dog can break, but there are sharp things that can harm your dog.
If don’t plan to visit the Guelph, Ontario area anytime soon, you might still be able to go hunting for aging treasures with your pup. There are several dog-friendly antique markets and flea markets across Canada.
Here’s the dogtrotting list of dog-friendly antique markets in Canada from west to east:
1. Victoria, British Columbia – The Victoria Flea Market
The Victoria Flea Market promises to be the best venue for hunting rare, unusual, and quirky collectables. Every Sunday year-round from 9 am to 2 pm at Trafalgar ProPatria Legion, 411 Gorge Road East, Victoria. Admission is $3 with lots of free parking and leashed dogs welcome.
2. Vancouver, British Columbia – Eastside Flea
This hip market venue, Eastside Flea, hosts about 50 vendors each event – and it’s very dog-friendly (only if your dog stops at the admissions desk for a cuddle). However, the dates of the events vary. Most are Sundays and Saturdays, 11 am to 5 pm, every other weekend, but are more frequent throughout the summer. Admission is $5 at the door. Watch the website for specific dates and themed markets. Eastside Studies, 550 Malkins Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia. And yes, dog friendly.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, Eastside Flea is closing its doors as of June 15, 2023 permanently.
3. Grand Bend, Ontario – The Pinery Market
Grand Bend is a small beach town (that we’ve visited) that has many dog-friendly surprises. The Pinery Market is almost one of them. Almost, because The Pinery is dog tolerant on regular days.
The Pinery Market boasts a 50-year history in Grand Bend and is open every Sunday from May to October from 9 am to 4 pm rain or shine. Dogs can attend the outdoor market on leash, but it’s not recommended by organizers (however, not prohibited).
However, dogs are welcome during Bark-tober Fest, a dog and craft beer festival happening the third weekend in September at The Pinery Antique & Flea Market, 101163 Lakeshore Road, Grand Bend, Ontario. Admission on regular Sundays is $3 and parking is free.
4. Mississauga, Ontario – Sunday Antique Market
Formally in the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, the Sunday Antique Market has moved further west to Mississauga in a former 1940s munitions plant now owned by the City of Mississauga. The Small Arms Inspection Building located at 1352 Lakeshore East now hosts the Sunday Antique Market one Sunday a month from 9 am to 4 pm – the next May 14, 2023. Watch the website for more dates.
Currently, the venue is pet-friendly for leashed dogs, according to the organizers though cautions that could change in the near future. (Let’s hope it doesn’t).
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.
If we’ve missed any pet-friendly antique markets or flea markets near your area or that you’ve visited, please let us know in the comments or at email@example.com