Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out of the Past

Nag Champa incense is burning in the soil of a small, potted ponytail palm next to me. Instantly the smell triggers thoughts of Out of the Past, one of my favourite places downtown. Out of the Past was first opened in 1983 by Tammy Ziegler and is now co-owned with Lizz Yakovich. The store is known for pumping out unique vintage clothing, accessories, shoes, records and my preferred choice of incense.
Two years ago this July, Out of the Past and two other stores (one empty and the other occupied by Liberty Bicycles) suffered devastating effects of a fire that forced them from their St. Paul Street homes.
I remember being downtown the morning of the fire and feeling an overwhelming sense of disappointment and loss for the owners, employees and patrons of these affected businesses.
In May of 2010, less than a year later, Tammy and Lizz opened their new doors at 340 St. Paul Street. The trademark vintage clothing store was re-born Out of the Past.
Passing the store this weekend I was tempted by a sign urging me to come in and shop. So I did. Inside, loud indie rock played as I sifted through vibrant wool sweaters, old silver rings and wonderfully worn leather coats. If you like different, I suggest stopping in for a visit. They are kind and helpful or will ignore you if you prefer. Clothes and accessories are reasonably priced and unlike most things you will find in a typical retail store.
Number of Items Purchased: 4
Items Purchased: Brown suede clutch, silver saucer ring, fluorescent yellow leg warmers, 2 boxes of incense
Cost of Items Purchased: $29.74

One happy downtown shopper

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The City's Lights

Last Wednesday evening I set out to the snowy streets of downtown St. Paul Street. On my way, I started to think about how relationships develop between people simply because they are part of the scenery in downtown. We see one another on our way to destinations unknown, we smile or wave and there it happens.
That is how I came to know Sue Ann Chmay and Steve Smith. Together, the two own City Lights Restaurant and Lounge and since opening their doors just over a year ago have settled into their restaurant quite nicely. 
Inside, the long narrow space is lined with tall booths, cushioned benches and warm low lighting. On that evening the atmosphere was coupled with the acoustic sounds of grass roots, folk and rock. Local singer songwriters Jesse T. Reid and Bryson Waind were kicking off their Ontario tour, “The Bruce and the Shield.” 
Jesse and Bryson are individual artists who frequent downtown’s performance roster. Bryson has released two albums; his most recent titled 2009 Grape Country and Jesse has released his third, Dumb as Chance. 
The two artists differ in musical style but share a similar vision that will take them to the wintry February roads.
Musicians, songwriters and those crafting original work draw a refreshing alternative to the sometimes-redundant cover band and painful spins of top 40. I say, let’s pay more thought to these flavourful performers.