I hope you guys had as nice a weekend as I did.
I had the chance to visit Ottawa and some friends for the weekend, so I lined it up it with Ottawa’s largest outdoor garage sale – The Great Glebe Garage Sale – in the hopes of scoring some great finds for our home, and of course for bragging rights that I managed to get up an obscenely early hour on the weekend (a feat for me).
The morning started for me when the sun woke me at 5:45am.
From that point on I figured I would just lay awake and not actually be able to sleep, so I got up and out the door in good time. Not wanting to face the chilly morning (it was below 10c at 7am) without caffeine, I stopped at Starbucks on my way to the Glebe. Hot coffee makes for warm hands and active bowels. It was a trade-off that had to be made.
All the newspaper articles will tell you that you should walk or bike, but that at all cost you should avoid driving to the Glebe. Because I don’t know Ottawa that well I had decided to drive. I didn’t want to spend an hour on the OC transpo (an unlikely scenario), or get lost on foot carrying a million things.
I was also under the impression that I would magically find parking, because these things happen to me sometimes. Sure enough, I quickly found a parking spot – which I took as a sign that there would be more closer to the action.
I was wrong.
I promptly spent the next 30 minutes zig-zagging the streets looking for parking. I eventually found something just outside the limits of the sale zone and decided to “park now or forever hold my peace.” PRO TIP: Take the bus next time.
I had been smart enough to bring a recyclable shopping bag with me, and thank goodness for that, because I didn’t want to be hauling things in my hands or my very small purse the entire time. I was designed for speed and comfort, not necessarily style.
Once I entered the sale zone I entered “antiques roadshow” mode and kept to the rules of perusing: no eye contact with the vendors, no touching, and haggle for everything. Time to be discerning and not come home with shit I don’t need!
The sale is a mix of people selling things on their front lawn, and seasoned vendors flocking wares of dubious origins and values in the shared spaces. There are a few food vendors sprinkled-in for good measure. I apply my perusing rules mainly to the people with stalls, because they tend to latch onto you like leaches if you even so much as glance at their table. The homeowners usually don’t care enough to pester you.
I saw many things while shopping – a little bit of something for everyone. From antique teacups and saucers for 1$, to Royal Doulton China patterns at 8$ a plate. From cupcakes and home-baked goods to MPPs and MPs setting up promo booths on their lawns. From kids toys for 25c to antique wind ’em-up toys. There was everything in between as well; want a blender or a canoe?
I didn’t want to spend more than 20$, but I went with a bit more just in case I found something I HAD to have… which happens from time to time.
I ended the morning with: a needlepoint pillow depicting a medieval deer in rich shades of red (pictured below), a small bowl to hold my jewlerry in the bathroom, a cookbook and two cameos in ornate frames. I look forward to installing them in the house and showing you guys.
I could have even come away with a chandelier for 10$! Ten whole clams.
I love a good garage sale, and even more so when it’s a neighbourhood wide sale. Below are my tips for shopping the Great Glebe Garage Sale:
– Bike, walk or Bus it in.
– Bring a recyclable shopping bag.
– Get there by 7am for the best deals as most vendors are set up and ready for business. There will also be fewer people so you won’t necessarily be jostling for space on the sidewalk like you are after 9am.
– The Churches have some of the better loot. It’s mostly from homes where the occupants are too old to put on a sale and brave the crowds, so they give things to the local churches which go through the process of sorting and selling everything.
– Bathrooms are available in the churches, but they encourage a donation of some sort (a loonie does the trick).
– Carry a least one fiver and some change to start the day with, because early in the morning no one has change for your 50$.
What tips do you have for the Great Glebe Garage Sale?
Like the knit elephant and the saddles? Those were seen at one of the churches for a BARGAIN price.
They also had this great set of cutlery from Thailand with this beautiful handle.
You could have even purchased a canoe! for the low, low price of 1800$
If you want to read about the Great Glebe Garage Sale from the Ottawa Citizen, check out this article.