Finding Diamonds in the Rough

Montreal Thrift Shops Worth Checking Out

Graphic Madeline Gendreau

For those who prefer to avoid the touristy crowds of Ste. Catherine St., with its impersonal fast fashion and shoddy quality, secondhand stores can be a godsend.

Finding things constructed in an era where clothes were built to last often outweighs the lingering smell of mothballs and death which haunts the places where the best deals are to be found.
Whether it’s hand-knit Norwegian wool or a decorative sun hat from the ‘40s, for every mood and every season, thrift stores have got you covered. Check out our picks, specially curated for your thrifting pleasure.

Eva B (2015 St. Laurent Blvd.)
If you dig vintage, $1 espresso and shops with personality, Eva B is the place for you.
Walking into Eva B is like walking into your grandma’s attic, if your grandma’s attic was two stories and she had spent her life hoarding eccentric outfits from every era and indiscriminately left it around with headless mannequins, books, jewelry and miscellaneous pieces of art, notably a larger-than-life depiction of Walter White.
Eva B is the sort of place that gave out test tubes full of “sperm” on Nuit Blanche in the winter, and where the owner’s Golden Retriever is shaved except for a lion’s mane in the summer.
If you abhor chaos, this isn’t the place for you. If you dig sorting through piles of random styles to find the $2 top of your dreams, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Kitsch’N Swell (3972 St. Laurent Blvd.)
As a doctoral candidate in the field of broke shopping, I refuse to spend more than $10 on any piece of clothing on principle. As such, I’ve never actually been inside this shop.
However, as “quirky” and “vintage” clothing creeps into the mainstream, it’s a necessary inclusion for those who dig the looks but aren’t ready to dive into the world of hardcore secondhand.
As Colin Harris, Katie McGroarty and Flora Hammond put it in last year’s Orientation Issue, the store has “knick-knacks from every era, and outfits ranging from outrageous to black-tie appropriate.”

Value Village (2033 Pie-IX Blvd.)
Value Village is a thrift store dating back to before it was hip to look homeless. A good midway point between Goodwill and overpriced consignment shops, it has an enormous selection of clothes that range from mom jeans to prom gowns.
Not quite as cheap as Salvation Army, but also not as dirty, this shop is a good place to go if you want to cheaply furnish your apartment with plates and other kitchen appliances or just find funny knick knacks to have around that won’t cost you more than $5 each.

Salvation Army (1620 Notre-Dame St. W.)
Salvation Army is a hipster’s wet dream. Twenty five-cent VHS tapes, $2 ’80s-style old man shirts your weird great uncle Dave could have died in, and the occasional vintage cassette recorder.
The bare-bones warehouse feel and general dinginess ensure their low prices and the absence of obnoxious adolescents out on shopping dates you may encounter at stores downtown.