I’m not sure if it was the trumpet soldered to the exterior window gates or the vintage magic poster hanging out front– but I was already sold that this was definitely the shop for me before I even stepped inside! Salmagundi West is located in the Gastown neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia. It is part antique store, part gift store, and full of curious fun!
Upon entering the shop, my husband sighed, “I think Mom will be here for awhile.” Both kids entered with fingers out ready to explore. My first instinct was to harp my motherly phrase, “no touching kids,” but then I looked up and read the sign that stated, “Children, please touch.” How great is that, a shop for the curious, young and old!
Once inside, the exploration began. It was clear this shop was a little different than most. Although there were vignettes and displays everywhere– each one was a little more random than the next. A few antique kitchen items, next to a bowl of doll parts…. a new vintage-style pack of stationery in a basket next to a rotary telephone. Within minutes, I had already found my first treasure- a vintage Calgary pennant. I was instantly in love.
As we continue through the tiny store and headed down stairs we were confronted by the piece de resistance, an old Chinese apothecary cabinet, with many, many drawers. We dove right in opening and closing each one to find what was inside– even my husband joined in on the hunt. Tentacle fingers, tiny playing cards, an emergency bow tie, and much more filled each one. What fun!
Back up at the counter, I met the proprietress, Anne Banner. I enjoyed chatting with her and learning a bit more about the history of Salmagundi West– since it was clear a shop like this must have a colorful history. Turns out it does. The person behind Salmagundi was named Lynn Brown. In reading a little about her, she sounds like she was quite a character– filled with creative energy, enthusiasm and joie de vivre. Here’s an excerpt from a write up about her:
“… Lynn was simply Salmagundi and Salmagundi was simply Lynn and all that that entailed: The Perpetual Hunt for Beauty! A Spectacular Discovery of the Unexpected! The Ultimate Stendhal Effect! Lynn wasn’t simply a business woman, and Slamagundi wasn’t just another antique shop. They both were part of an all-encompassing way of life and rare way of seeing everything as an endless stream of halcyon moments, frozen in time and space.”
Unfortunately, she passed away this last Fall, but it’s clear the shop is in good hands and follows the same spirit as Lynn envisioned. So, when in Vancouver, be sure to head over to Gastown for some curious fun. You won’t regret it!
Shop Information and Useful Links
Salmagundi West – 321 West Cordova Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B1E5 – 604-681-4648
salmagundiwest on Instagram