The Great Glebe Garage Sale: Vintage and New Things in the Same Place!

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Photos by Andre Gagne

Since 1986 the Glebe Community Association has held an annual event in which local vendors offer vintage and contemporary things for thousands of curious people and antique buyers. This event, of course, is the Great Glebe Garage Sale. Taking place in the popular Glebe, a famous and amazing neighborhood bordered by Bronson Avenue, the Queensway, and the Canal, this year's event ran from from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 27th.

As a first time visitor I found more interesting things about this event than going to buy vintage accessories, toys or old books, and stuff. It's a festive atmosphere, full of joy and enthusiasm for the coming summer, people enjoyed and –even – exchanged advice and opinions on books, and objects that reminded us of childhood, adolescence or special moments of our lives, comparing the past with the present.

Unlike when you go to a mall and buy something new, the Great Glebe Garage Sale allowed people to buy treasures with more history, more value. You could say that stories and memories marked every single thing displayed, in excellent conditions, and ready to continue accompanying moments for a new owner.

Hope is the last thing that is lost for those who participate in these events. Many people exhibited their collections of films in VHS, records, video games of the eighties, and collection of comics and cartoons difficult to remember, all in the hope of selling them, giving them for free, or "getting rid of" them.

Other visitors were seeking the more curious objects. Many were not clear about what they wanted, but they still hoped to find that "something" that would make it worth the time in the search, something to take home happy. Others just came out to share in the beautiful weather.

Many people were proud and, with a smile on their faces, showed off their lucky finds when people asked them with surprise and admiration: "where you got it", "how lucky you are, I was looking for it", "no, I cannot believe it, you bought a relic at a good price."

The event also allowed us to interact and exercise by walking or even riding a bike while sharing a drink a lemonade made by kids with hot dogs or hamburgers,. We also enjoyed the music of locals playing  songs like "La Bamba" or "Don't Worry, Be Happy".  We were happy to see how important it was for some people to give their cars a day off and leave it at home since this was a time of outdoor recreation and fun!

You cant' see everything. It's impossible. You always leave with the feeling that you could have gone to more places, more streets. Time never will be enough to see things in detail, talk to people and listen to stories, even when, in my case, we were being guided by a local, expert in this event, and cool person. Anyways, in each block there were different types of food and desserts, in each street, you found stories of non-profit organizations which help build a better society.

Every year The Glebe Garage Sale tries to bring something new to its visitors and shoppers while contributing to environmental and social missions. This year, we were able to see volunteers wearing green hard hats who gave you a free tree. The goal was to distribute as many trees as possible and to get one tree for every resident in Ottawa, as part of the Ecology Ottawa’s Tree Ottawa campaign which seeks to plant 1,000,000 new trees in Ottawa.  

Simultaneously, the Glebe Community Association and the non-profit organization Kind Canada were promoting a culture of kindness through posters with suggestions of acts of kindness, and volunteers sharing stories of kindness and generosity on social media of all visitors on this topic. All this, for a Canada strengthened in its kindness, and its instinct to serve and to live in a healthy and harmonious coexistence with the community. 

In addition to these activities, the Glebe Community Association and the charitable organization the Ottawa Food Bank worked together to encourage people to donate 10% of proceeds to raise, this year, $12,000 (and they gave issue tax receipts for donations). However, if you could not attend the Glebe Garage Sale and you are still interested in donating, there are more ways to donate to this organization, just visit its website and get information on amount donation, locations, projects, among other things.

The most surprising thing was to see that the event developed in total calm and order, despite the huge number of people; as well as implementing the social and environmental awareness transmitted during the event by Ecology Ottawa, Kind Canada, Ottawa Food Bank and The Glebe Community Association.