Introducing: The Arthur, a College Street house of curiosities in a 350-square-foot space

Introducing: The Arthur, a College Street house of curiosities in a 350-square-foot space

Roseanne enthusiasts might enjoy this bingo blast from the past (Image: Clay Stang) 

The place: Local vintage hunters are already spoiled for choice when it comes to shops with a quirky retro bent, but online fave The Arthur Co.’s new College Street space is like a perfectly curated exhibit of old-school curios. First-time retailer Liz Ikiriko has transformed the narrow, 350-square-foot room on College (formerly home to a bright pink jewellery boutique) into a rustic general store befitting her love of unique antique housewares and accessories.

The stuff: Inspired by her late grandparents, Ikiriko (a former Toronto Life photo editor) parlayed her keen photographer’s eye into a passion for collecting quality vintage goods, launching an online shop last fall while keeping an eye out for a physical storefront. Elongated wooden shelving is crammed with items sourced from estate sales and auctions across Ontario and the U.S., including the requisite antique typewriters and cameras, and film-worthy luggage and hat boxes, all in mint condition. “I’m excited about finding something with a bit of history to it, where I can then share a bit of the story with the person who buys it,” Ikiriko explains. Customers have allegedly already asked to purchase display items, like the massive metal letter A lit up with bare bulbs that towers along the back wall (unfortunately for them, it’s not for sale; the industrial prop found its way to The Arthur via the Amsterdam Brewery).

The shoppers: It seems the locals—from the middle-aged neighbour who popped her head in to declare, “Finally, a decent store’s opened in my neighbourhood!” to passersby who linger in front of the shop’s enticing window display—are keen to welcome The Arthur to College Street. “I’ve been happy with how many men have been coming in,” Ikiriko says, noting that the shop’s woodsy vibe is a bit more masculine than that of a typical vintage store. “I was thinking of the 30-something new homeowner (people like me) that wants to decorate their home on a reasonable budget. People have been saying they can’t afford true art, but I’m offering some classic alternatives with a modern aesthetic. It’s not your granny’s antique shop.”

Our favourite things: It’s hard to miss the forest-green portable Remington typewriter in its custom wooden box with leather handle ($95). Perched nearby is a round wire bingo roller ($100) that comes complete with all its numbered balls—a rare find that Ikiriko jokes will be tough to give up. Folding antique softwood washtub stands (currently displaying merchandise) can double as low coffee tables or nightstands ($100 each), while large-scale scientific posters like the three-by-four-foot Spirogyra diagram from 1941 ($180) would make for distinctive wall art. New accessories by independent designers also find their way into the mix—Yah Bags’ roomy messenger bags fashioned from vintage Canadiana materials from the 1950s ($125–$200) have been popular; Gwendelicious necklaces ($25–$50) featuring sweet vintage-inspired pendants (tiny penknives, acorns, old typewriter keys, even a mini working harmonica) were among the first items to sell out, but look for them to be back in stock soon.

The Arthur, 550A College St., 416-972-0725, thearthur.co