Vancouver Flea Markets Get a Makeover

A cross between a classic flea market and a boutique sale, a whole new crop of vintage markets is taking Vancouver by storm

Credit: The Eastside Flea

You’ll find both vintage and antique items at Vancouver’s new crop of flea markets

If you like your vintage markets with a sprinkling of modern finds, you’ll love the new style of flea markets launching in Vancouver

Vancouver flea markets, or vintage markets as they are often known, are getting a makeover. A cross between a classic flea market and a boutique sale, these pop-up shops tap into the desire for one-of-kind, recycled items with a little bit of the cool factor thrown in.

Jill Whitford and Linda Ounapuu started The Eastside Flea, Vancouver’s latest entrant into the vintage scene. Jill is a UBC Sauder School of Business graduate who sells vintage clothing at markets and online, and Linda has worked in small business management in a number of young, creative industries for more than 10 years. She spends her weekends thrifting, always on the lookout for hidden gems. We chatted with them about how this new kind of flea market is providing economic stimulus to local businesses throughout North America.

bcliving: Describe Eastside Flea.

Jill and Linda: The Eastside Flea is a fresh, new Vancouver community flea market featuring a diverse array of vendors from handmade goods, vintage clothing, antiques, art, food and more. We wanted to have all the traditional elements of a flea market, but with a modern spin. That doesn’t mean raising prices and admission fees, but having a well-selected and diverse assortment of local vendors, and creating a clean, fun atmosphere for both the vendors and the public to come out and enjoy themselves. We want everyone in the community to feel like they can take part.

bcliving: How do you define vintage?

Jill and Linda: We consider vintage to be items 20 years or older. The ’90s are slowly creeping up on us. Although there is an antique component to most traditional flea markets, we’re striving to infuse both new and old.

bcliving: Why did you decide to start the market?

Jill and Linda: The concept for The Eastside Flea stems from the success of the Brooklyn Flea in New York City and the growing popularity of modern, community-based flea markets across North America. The operators of the Brooklyn Flea saw New York City’s cultural community take a hit with the closure of several Manhattan local markets in 2008. Since then, the Brooklyn Flea has grown into an inclusive community event providing economic stimulus to vendors, entrepreneurs and local businesses. As there are clear similarities between their story and the current impact that rapid development is having on Vancouver’s arts and cultural communities, we are confident The Eastside Flea will bring the same success to Vancouver.

The Eastside Flea

What: Vintage clothing, antiques, books, records, soaps and more
When: Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: The Wise Hall and Lounge, 1882 Adanac Street, Commercial Drive
Admission: Free

The Beggars Banquet

What: Started in 2012 out of the old Boneta restaurant in Gastown, the Beggars Banquet – so named after the 1968 Rolling Stones album of the same name – features vintage fashion, retro collectibles, dead stock relics, food, flowers and a tight selection of well-crafted goods.
When: The next market is April 19 and 20, 2013
Where: 213 East Georgia, Chinatown
Admission: $2

The Gypsy Market Spring Vintage Sale

What: Started by Vancouver fashion expert Sarah La Greca, the market features one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, stylists, pickers, jewelry, home décor and inspiration.
When: March 24, 2013. More details to come.
Where: Fortune Sound Club, 147 East Pender, Downtown