"The Flea Market", Sutton's Saturday meeting place
By Manfried H. Starhemberg
It is a Sutton ritual. On Saturdays, from spring to fall, more than one thousand people flock to the flea market on the grounds of the Royal Canadian Legion. The table rentals go into the coffers of the Legion but are inexpensive at $ 10.- per Saturday. This past Saturday there were about 80 tables set up, but the real number is only known by the treasurer of the Legion, as many people push their tables together or rent more than one. Almost all the vendors have been coming to the sale for more than a decade, some tell me they were here 20 years ago. One seller of vintage tools chuckled, "When I started coming here, people were using these tools...".
The selection of "stuff" is eclectic, ranging from thousands of books, the above mentioned vintage tools, enameled metal signs of every description and the usual array of jewelry, knitted stuff, baked goods and toys, household implements and linens. There is even one vendor who specializes in golf equipment and has about 2,000 balls on sale.
Always cheerful, the "Townships Grandmothers" have a table here and local farmers sell fresh produce. Having had a craving for acorn squash for a week now, and having been unable to find one at the local vegetable emporium or the I.G.A., I scored two beauties for less than $ 5.-
The best thing about this flea market is, that it is mostly frequented by people living in the Sutton area, and if a person is not a total hermit, he (or she) will catch up with at least a dozen neighbors, the teacher of the kids, the girls from the I.G.A or the local merchant. One can even invite a friend to breakfast or lunch at the outdoors canteen which serves excellent fresh food at incredibly low prices. And the place is open enough to afford one a stroll through the display areas without being crowded. The merchants as a whole are a cool local bunch, mostly on the senior side, but almost all of them bilingual and friendly and outgoing.
While it is not "Les Halles" of Paris, inside the covered sheds are the good antiques and collectibles and I know of at least two local B&B's which have outfitted some of their bedrooms with things acquired at Sutton's "outdoor shopping mall". The rest of us will buy the occasional book, trinket or that incredibly cool antique fishing rod or a nice bag of home baked goods. This is truly a cherished Sutton tradition that will continue for many more years to come. Join is!