St. Vincent de Paul in Wellington West Has Gained a Reputation for its Fascinating Window Displays

Ever since the charity thrift store implemented a new approach to selling items out of their window; people have been flocking to wait in line to get their hands on a particular item. Merchandise is typically on display for two to three weeks before it goes on sale as a first-come, first-serve blitz, resulting in line-ups well before the store opens its doors. St. Vincent de Paul die-hards have camped out as early as 3am in the morning in order to claim an item they have been eyeing.

Waiting in line for a store to open is nothing out of the ordinary in the retails business, when you consider Apple product and video game launches, but nearly unheard of for this phenomenon to take place at a thrift store. Take into consideration that all the pieces making up each and every showcase are locally donated, you begin to appreciate the work involved to create such thematic showcases. It takes St Vincent de Paul window artist, Calere Boudreau, four to five months of curating and planning to assemble a specifically-themed window.


The creativity involved has paid off immensely for the charity thrift store. For over a year now, window displays have attracted line-ups that span half the block that the store occupies. Last year’s Canadiana window drew nearly 80 people before the store even opened, and this year the store is preparing for another successful window sale as interest has been ramping up for the past two weeks.

“The inquiries are non-stop from the day the window is assembled to blitz Friday.” explains window Calere Boudreau. “People want to get their hands on that one-of-a-kind treasure and they’re willing to line-up for it, regardless of the weather, and not even knowing whether it’ll be available once it’s their turn in line.”

That’s the thrill of it.

“We’re making shopping fun again,” says Executive Director, James Strate “It’s reminiscent of the days when people would stand outside department stores, drawn in by extravagant displays.”

When St. Vincent de Paul customers line-up on Friday, November 4th, they’ll have a lot to choose from in the Canadian-themed panorama. Items that are generating high interest include Hudson’s Bay and Ayers blankets, fur trimmed parkas and Canadian art pieces including a numbered reproduction of A.Y. Jackson’s “Red Maple.” Books, art and home decor are also up for grabs.