Archive for the ‘Flea Market’ Category

Vancouver Marché aux Puces

December 6, 2010

A few weekends ago my friend James and I were driving past the Vancouver Flea Market and decided we would pop in for a look see.

According to Wikipedia the origins of the term “flea market” are disputed, some liken buyers and sellers as being as active as fleas, while others claim that many years ago people and goods at markets were infested with the namesake.

Personally I might be more convinced to side with the latter group of people and suggest that in this day and age the term “bed bug market” may be more apropos.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good old fashion garage/yard/rummage/estate/swap meet/car boot sale. Seriously!

I grew up listening to Telemarket on the local radio station Saturday mornings, folks would call in and let us know where we would be driving my Dad’s 1978 baby blue GMC Vandura in order that we might buy their junk to bring home and store in our basement. In turn a year later we would call the station ourselves and announce our own garage sale, you know, to pay it on forward.

So please, take this post for the spirit in which it’s intended and go support the VFM.

Now then, I think Skynyrd might have said it best with the lyrics…

Ooh, that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of death surrounds you, yeah

Perhaps that’s a little harsh but upon entering the market the smell of death does surround you as you pass the gauntlet of smokers huddling in groups at the front door, it seems the VFM has either not been informed of the new smoking by-laws or has been grandfathered into the smoke wherever you dang well please clause. There is no one smell really, it changes from one aisle or in many cases from one table to the next. Very very interesting smells! There’s the “old mildewy canvas tent that your uncle and four of his buddies slept in back in their air cadets days” smell. There’s the “imagine the odour of 600 heavily ear wax laden ear buds in a Safeway bag” smell. And though I doubt it’s a constant aroma, in our case we had an instance of the straight up “someone at this stall has clearly s@#t themselves” smell. All par for the course of course.

The following images document just a few of the wares James and I found interesting.

Ahhh... is there any other way?

Fairly sure trafficking exotic animals in BC is illegal?

You can buy Gerry Cheevers....

...or just his pads.

Chances are you will have an Elvis sighting.

There are an odd number of bodiless heads for sale, this one no doubt the result of a bull riding mishap.

Everyone thinks they're a hipster these days.

This one looks bitchy! I assume that is why she was shelved down with the stinky old pipes.

Pretty sure human trafficking is illegal too?

No these are not testers! They are gently used bath products for all of your bits and pieces.

Without doubt the most interesting and bizarre table we came across was the one selling old photographs. Thousands of photographs, and none of them related to or a friend of the seller. It turns out there is a market for the buying and selling of other peoples personal photographs.

Seriously, who in their right mind would….I bought two, including the polaroid below of Ray, Steve and a couple of New York Strippers.

Jane Doe

Ray and Steve

I looked up some other flea markets of the world in case you ever find yourself abroad and in need of a stripper polaroid. According to my research Paris’s Marche aux Puces seems to be the oldest and most famous and needless to say I’d bet they are grandfathered in on the smoke wherever you dang well please clause too.

France – Marche aux Puces
Thailand – Chatuchak Market
USA – First Monday Park in Canton
Mexico – The Flea Market in Puerto Vallarta
United Kingdom – Camden Lock in London
India – The Mapusa Market in Goa
Canada – Dr. Flea’s Flea Market in Toronto
Australia – The Rocks in Sidney
China – The Panjiayuan Weekend Market in Beijing
Russia – The Izmailovsky Souvenir Market in Moscow

In all seriousness go check out the Vancouver Flea Market, it’s quite a lot of fun and the only place I know with that much entertainment for $1.


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