Just off of Bank Street lies a bubble-gum building full of retro-wares. Ragtime is a small business on Flora Street that prides itself on selling authentic vintage clothing and accessories from the early 1900s up to the late 1990s.
The smell of faded perfumes and the musk of vintage leather greets you at the door. A mannequin wearing a 1920s flapper dress that plumes outwards with ostrich feathers overlooks you.
The metal racks are crammed with dresses, blouses, and blazers. Splashes of colour and bright patterns make for a fabric euphoria. I walked along the old wooden floor boards and made my way to the back of the building. There was a plethora of dress shirts, Hawaiian shirts, top hats, and suits. I immediately started digging through to find hidden gems, lost within the overflowing racks.
I came upon several shirts from the 1970s with the classic butterfly collar and funky patterns. I was in heaven. As I slowly made my way towards a display case filled with hats, my eyes fell upon a silky top hat. It turned out that it was authentic: a 1920's horse hair chapeau that was originally made by George Mills Co. in Kingston Ontario.
I couldn't let a piece of Canadian history slip by my fingers. It was beautiful, in good condition considering its age. I was surprised by the price as it was a lot more reasonable than I had seen online: $150 instead of $678, for the median.
They have a jewelry counter filled with trinkets: spiked collars, golden pendants, opera glasses, and a real Scottish brooch. There are slave collars. There are piles upon piles of ties. Handkerchiefs from the 1920s. Powder blue suits for your sweetheart's prom dreams...or nightmares. And lipstick that Marilyn would be proud to wear.
Additionally, Ragtime features several unique costumes that are available to rent which include: authentic silk kimonos, police, fire & rescue outfits, renaissance attires, and 1970s glam-rock get-ups.
Although the store is a bit cramped due to the sheer volume of merchandise, the friendly staff, reasonable rates, and relaxing atmosphere make up for it. I couldn't help but smile, laugh, and ogle over the many decades of fashions that passed through my fingertips. Bring a friend or go on your own. There is certainly something there for anyone who appreciates a blast from the past.
For more information about Ragtime, please check out their Facebook page at:
Myles is a creative writer whose heart lies in another era. Although he has a degree in broadcast journalism, creative writing is more to his taste. If he had one wish, he would plunge the world back to the psychedelic age of the 1970’s. His eclectic clothing and music tastes influence his writing – taking readers to another place in time.
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