A trip to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario

During the Christmas holidays Robert and I had one day where Cora was in playschool and we both had the day off. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but since moving to Canada two and a half years ago, Robert and I have had maybe three or four dates. That’s just what happens when you move to a different continent from everyone you know and you know zero people therefore you know zero babysitters. This is just our life now.

Moving on, because I don’t want this to sound like some sort of absurd misery-brag, but Robert and I had this one unicorn day and wanted to make the most of it. We started our day by going to the most adorable afternoon tea followed by going to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario.

To say Rideau Antiques is intense and amazing is an understatement. It reminded me of some sort of abandoned Harry Potter set where all kinds of objects and treasures are piled up to uncomfortable heights and held together by magic and / or positive thinking.

When my parents visited us in October they took a trip to Rideau Antiques ahead of us and strongly advised that if we visit to not bring Cora, and they were right. It’s not the type of place you’d want curious little hands pulling at something from the bottom of a teetering pile.

It’s such a very difficult place to describe outside of the medium of gifs.

That sums up our entire visit. It was amazing and surreal and if I’m honest, overwhelming. Once you head inside the main building it’s stuff and things everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Neither of us could figure out how big the rooms were because it was impossible to gauge where the walls and ceilings were.

I will admit that at this point in our visit, I had a minor panic attack as I quietly questioned the structural integrity of the building. Look at how much stuff there is … Can the house actually support this much? I’m in the middle of the house RN and I have no idea where the closest exit is.

SPOILER ALERT: I survived completely unscathed and in perfect working order, so this may be a cautionary warning to people who may be sensitive to their surroundings or claustrophobic. And if I’m being honest, if you are a person that commands a lot of space or you are currently heavily pregnant, I would not suggest you go very far into the house. There were places where we didn’t go because the aisles were too tight or we felt that if we tried to turn around, we would knock into a lot.

If you stick with it you can find amazing things. If you go with a specific item in mind, I would urge you to ask the owner Clifford where to find a certain item and he can point you in the right direction. His knowledge of where everything is in that store is one of the lesser-known wonders of the world.

I’ll be heading back soon in search for the perfect door knob for our pantry door.


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  1. February 4, 2020 / 16:50

    It seems absolutely insane! And definitely makes me think of something from Harry Potter!

    • February 13, 2020 / 13:37

      Yes!!! Leila from Melting Plastic said it perfectly – “It’s the closest thing to the room of requirement you’ll ever find.”

      Could not have said it any better.

  2. Susan
    June 2, 2022 / 19:37

    I’ve been going to Rideau Antiques since the mid 70s. I used to absolutely love going there and rooting for old photos, magazines, calendars and other wonders. But over the years, things got nuttier and nuttier. Now I feel so sad to see the place — something is seriously wrong with this sort of hoarding. I can’t go into the buildings because the smell of mold is overpowering — but truthfully, I think the place is unsafe. It will be like the straw that broke the camel’s back — one more antique thimble will be added to the pile and the whole place will collapse in a terrible tsunami of stuff. I just hope nobody is injured or killed in the crash. 🙁

    • June 9, 2022 / 12:02

      Oh Susan you’re not the only one thinking this. If I ever visit again it’ll just be the heaving yards outside. I feels like it’s a matter of time …