a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Mar, 2007

Looking for feedback, yo’

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

I’m working on a potential written piece about the best thrift shops in Ottawa. What are your favourite places to score secondhand goods? What’s the best place for clothes? Housewares? Kid stuff? Where are you most likely to find that special item to round out your collection? 

Post your thoughts in the comments below or drop me a line via email.


14 Responses to "Looking for feedback, yo’"

1 | Sharon

March 20th, 2007 at 5:31 pm


I like Value Village at times, But you have to look.
For clothes I liked Deja New out in Orleans on St. Joseph Blvd.

2 | liss76

March 20th, 2007 at 6:09 pm


Value Village is good. I like the Sally Anne on Richmond by the MacDonald’s for vintage kitchenware. The best place for cookbooks and other books, by far, is St. Vincent de Paul. I have scored a lot of expensive, out-of-print, well-known cookbooks there for between $0.50-$6.00 each. I check the cookbook section just about every other day. Almost all of my vegan, vegetarian, and Eastern European cookbooks have been found there.

3 | nancy

March 20th, 2007 at 6:11 pm


Book Market! (various locations)

4 | robyn

March 20th, 2007 at 6:32 pm


For clothes, ragtime, hands down. Flora @ Bank.

5 | GG

March 20th, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Have you seen this site?
Ottawa Thrift Guide

6 | andrea

March 20th, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Wow … thanks everyone! GG, that site is a gem. Thanks!

7 | Tali

March 21st, 2007 at 4:50 am


This is so funny! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I see that someone’s posted my ottawa thrift guide site, something that I had always planned to keep updated…until I had two children, of course. I actually don’t even have access to that account anymore.

Anyway, I think alot of my observations are still the same, but I think value village has gone down in quality, and I only really go to the charitable organizations now. Cheaper and better for the community. Also, I realize I totally neglected the all the used furniture places and friperies over the river.

My favourite is probably still St. V de P – now it’s my neighbourhood store, and the only one I frequent with any regularity…

8 | andrea

March 21st, 2007 at 8:04 am


Hi Tali –
I was looking through your list and saw a few things that were out of date so I wondered… :)
Like that little place on Rosemount, I think it’s gone now! Ha. I almost got locked in there once.

My initial opinions about the thridt scene around here (I’m in the West end):

1) VV is overpriced for some things, especially clothing, but you have a better chance of finding something good to wear. i.e. an unworn pair of jeans that is actually in style
2) ONS is a mess. It’s majorly disorganized, especially downstairs. This makes it a challenge, but the flipside is that because of this I’ve managed to find some good stuff there.
3) SallyAnn is hit and miss.
4) St.V is really well run. It’s clean, organized and the prices are okay for most stuff. Some of the books are sometimes overpriced. I spread my donations around, but I tend to shop here the most often.

I once interviewed the staff for a short piece about St.V and a slow-down in donations. They are SUPER people. They work with local church-run women’s organizations. If there’s a woman who comes in (via the church) who’s been abused and is looking for stuff to start a new life/home she doesn’t have to pay for anything. All she has to is bring in a checklist and they’ll outfit her the best they can. That’s why they’re always desperate for general housewares, linens etc.

St.V’s only displays their best donations. I remember the manager telling me a story about someone calling about a mattress they wanted to donate.

The manager asked if it was new.
“No,” came the response, “and it’s stained in parts.”
“Is that the kind of thing you’d want to sleep on?”
“Not really.”
“If it’s not good enough for you, it’s not good enough for the poor. Why should they have to sleep on a stained mattress?”

Another thing: any item that is less than perfect (small tear, missing buttons etc) is either used for rags or shipped to third-world countries. They told me that the only thing that they put in the garbage, is garbage. It’s worth thinking about next time you have a bag of stuff to donate.

9 | liss76

March 21st, 2007 at 8:15 am


St. VdP is my neighbourhood store too. I donate a lot of stuff there and I check in several times a week. I have found some awesome stuff in that place–cookbooks I’ve already mentioned, but I scored a great upholstered vintage 1970’s child rocking chair, my favorite pottery teapot ($3!), wonderful vintage kitchenware, kids’ clothes, vintage children’s books, etc.

I really love that place. Once my kids are in all-day school I’m planning to volunteer there during the school day.

10 | Lala

March 21st, 2007 at 10:06 am


nothing really relevant to chime in with except the shop on Rosemount used to rock. I remember getting nearly new Bass Weejuns there for very cheap. Also the S.A. out on Innes in Orleans used to be a fantastic place but it burned down. I got an old school pram there a few years ago for 12 bucks. Those were the days.

11 | Sheila D

March 21st, 2007 at 11:19 am


I like Mulberry Street. It’s a little second hand/ consignment shop for small furnishings, knick-knacks, lamps, dishes, jewellery, etc. I usually find something I can’t resist in there. It’s in the little plaza with the Bell (telephone) store at Merivale and Capilano, north of Meadowlands.

Mulberry Street 1541 Merivale Road Nepean, ON K1A 0H3 Phone: (613) 228-7791

12 | DaniGirl

March 21st, 2007 at 12:16 pm


Not sure if this is in the same category, but I love the online consignment shop at http://www.zigzagboutique.ca/ for kids, baby and maternity stuff.

There’s a really nice baby – kids – maternity consignment shop on Main Street in Stittsville, but the name of it completely escapes me at this point. It will come to me at 3 am or so…

13 | lori

March 21st, 2007 at 9:24 pm


I’m a huge fan of Hush Clothes in Westboro.

Not exactly thrift, but some great consignment finds. The prices are fantastic!

14 | Tali

March 22nd, 2007 at 8:15 am


I love St V de P because things are priced fairly for a thrift store, and it’s always clean and pretty well organized – the only problem is that everyone gets there before me, and I haven’t found any real treasures lately.

At the moment, I’m looking for some good second-hand furniture places. I need furniture that is not IKEA, but that I still won’t mind getting rid of after the kids/cats destroy it (inevitable). ONS is ok, and the Sally Ann on Carling, but they never have enough, you know?

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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