Vintage Magic in PEI: Ice Boat Rarities and Island Uniquities

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Not far from the Confederation Bridge on the Prince Edward Island side of that engineering marvel a scenic backroad leads to the cozy town of Cape Traverse and two of the best antique shops in all of Canada’s Maritime Provinces: Ice Boat Rarities and Antiques and, its sister shop, Island Uniquities and Antiques, which is just a few hundred yards away down PEI Route 10.   Both shops are housed in 19th century buildings — one an old church  and another a former masonic lodge — that have been masterfully restored and updated by owners Larry and Jane Dugdale.

The exceptional assortment of antiques, curios, artwork and furniture on offer started as a personal collection of the owners that eventually morphed into the well-organized groupings that seem intentionally curated for visual delight.  The Ice Boat building features the former church’s simply designed but stunning original red, blue, green and yellow stained glass windows, which cast a warm, luminous glow throughout the place.  These shops deserve to be called galleries as much as anything else.

If you’re into stylish old or reclaimed furniture, these shops have you covered; automotive and industrial neon, check; vintage toys, thermometers, oil cans, model boats, duck decoys, postcards and ephemera, tools or farm implements, check to all that too — and a great deal more!  Of particular note is the collection of whimsical painted wood sculptures and other artworks by noted PEI folk artist, Kerras Jeffery, who sadly passed away last year at way too young of an age after battling a long illness.  The Ice Boat Rarities shop serves as almost a museum of some of his brightly colored pieces and the shop also features a marvelous cloud-painting by Jeffery on the ceiling of its largest room.

In addition, the staff in both places are super friendly and helpful and the prices are about the fairest I’ve seen for antique shops anywhere.  These places are definitely worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

More information about these terrific shops can be found at their respective Facebook pages here: Iceboat Rarities and Island Uniquities.  More about Kerras Jeffery and his art is available on the Backroad Folkart blog here, which was formerly written by him and is now maintained by one of his relatives.

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The Daring Canadian Pulps: Oh, My!

Spurred on by a wartime ban on the importation of non-essential foreign goods, including the lurid magazines from below the 49th parallel commonly referred to as “pulps”, the Canadian pulp magazine industry flourished during World War II and the decade after.  Like all good pulp publications, the featured stories often blurred the lines between fiction and reality and routinely served up tales that were risque, grisly, shocking and as often true as not.  Avid readers ate up this stuff!

Adding to its diverse holdings, Library and Archives Canada acquired in the late 1990s a core collection of pulp magazines dating back to the golden post-War era of such publications.  These cover images are from the Archives’s fascinating “Tales From the Vault” exhibition.  Of these covers, I think my favorite might be the fairly simple red-and-black layout above that promises dirt on a Vancouver cult and Winnipeg’s pock-marked Frankenstein. I’ll bite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shades of Toronto Graffiti (Part 1 – Overview)

Toronto, being the big city that it is, has more than its share of diverse street or wall art, more commonly called graffiti.  This isn’t every one’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to ignore the creative expression that goes into these highly stylized works.

Among the varieties to be found gracing the corner wall of an old building, on either side of the occasional alley way or wherever else you may find these quirky pieces are classic graffiti tags, the enigmatic or humorous character scenes, the images laden with social or political messages, and designs that are as much about vibrant colors as anything else.  I took a lot of shots of these recently, so have broken them up with some being posted here and others planned for a later set of shared images.

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Similar Posts on O’Canada:

∅ Ossington Avenue Graffiti

∅ Montreal’s Vibrant Walls of Graffiti

∅ Wall Art a la Montreal

Fred Herzog’s Vintage Vancouver

Fred Herzog, Bogner’s Grocery (1960)

I’ve seen the street photography of Fred Herzog previously but a brief essay by Geoff Dyer in today’s New York Times Magazine prompted me to look anew at Herzog’s work.  Herzog came to Canada in the early 1950s from Germany and from the late 1950s through the 1960s pioneered color street photography in his adopted city of Vancouver.  His candid shots provide a splendid if unvarnished documentary of the city and its people during that period.  The vintage images also subtly illustrate many things that have changed in Vancouver and other urban areas throughout Canada (and America) in the past several decades.

More of Herzog’s work can be seen at Vancouver’s Equinox Gallery and on its website.

Fred Herzog, 2nd Hand Store Boy (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, Alexander Street (1967)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville Street from Granville Bridge (1966)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville/Robson (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, White Lunch Granville (1959)

 

Photo Credits:  Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery

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