Stepping inside the giant two-storey building that houses the Waterford Antique Market felt similar to how a chocoholic might feel while staring at a massive chocolate-covered sundae.
With more than 60 vendors housed inside the 16,000 square-foot warehouse, this was an antique lover’s delight. All I could think about was where to start and what should I dig into first.
I am a connoisseur of flea markets, having been a regular at markets in Aberfoyle and Circle M in Flamborough for years. This year when I discovered the Waterford Antique Market on Alice Street in Waterford, which is less than an hour’s drive outside of Hamilton, I discovered a whole other way to go antique shopping. The market is housed inside a large innocuous beige building that was once an old telephone manufacturing building (the Toronto Dominion Telephone Company, constructed in 1914.)
The building’s large size made it perfect for an antique market that first opened here in 1999. In 2016, it was taken over by the new owners, Anna Wilson and Shelley Stanley, who made several improvements and renovations to heighten the great ‘antiquing’ experience. Inside, there’s a multitude of antique and vintage items, including furniture, glassware, antique oil lamps, beautiful ceramic bowls and gorgeous textiles. Many are staged in charmingly displayed booths that inspire ideas for home décor.
Shelley says their customers come from across southwestern Ontario, although they have one special visitor who comes twice a year from Japan and buys lots of items. As Anna said, “We love welcoming visitors from all over the globe! The market is a really great draw for Waterford.”
Unlike the Aberfoyle Antique Market where customers barter with vendors over the price, at Waterford all prices are marked on the item, and the buyer pays for it at the front desk. The advantage is that vendors don’t have to be there at all hours. I found the prices to be excellent. You never know what you’ll find at the market, as one lucky Waterford customer recently discovered. An avid antiquer was wandering around the booths at Waterford when he came across a collection of postcards that belonged to his great, great-grandparents. They dated back to 1912.
It took my friends and I about an hour and a half to visit all of the stalls on both floors, and we surfaced with a variety of wonderful items: two antique ceramic bowls, glass jars that were filled with driftwood for pond plants, and milk jars for my friend’s collection. There are lots of other things to see and do in Waterford aside from the market, and after leaving we drove to Chambers Maple Syrup, which was about a ten-minute drive away. The store used to be a pancake house but now only sells locally made – and well-priced – maple syrup.
After another short, pleasant drive down the road, we came to the Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery Field, which turned out to be the perfect way to end the day. We stood among the purple lavender and felt a light wind carry the fragrant aroma of lavender across the fields. It was glorious. The estate offers outings where you can enjoy a glass of wine or cider as you explore the vineyards, prairie grasses, lavender fields, and natural wetlands.
We didn’t get a chance to visit Ritzy’s Cakes & Eatery or the Whistling Gardens, both of which have made names for themselves in Norfolk County, but after our visit to Waterford we’ll definitely be going back.
by Denise Davy
Waterford Antique Market
Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery Field
Ritzy’s Cakes & Eatery
Northfolk County Tourism