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Step Inside My Store!

March 22, 2012 by admin

I’ve had a dream of opening a little shop in my hometown of Whitby for years.  Growing up in a cookie-cutter style builder’s house (our next door neighbour’s house was a twin of ours, just reversed) I was especially entranced by the romance and history of the old buildings downtown.  The location that I now am turning into my store was always closed, windows papered, and not for rent my entire life.  I now know, it’s been closed since 1972!

The story goes like this:  The former owner was friends with Conn Smythe, who built Maple Leaf Gardens so the shop was called Maple Leaf Billiards.  It was the local pool hall for years and years but closed down when the owner retired in 1972.  And that’s just how it’s stayed for 40 years!  Now, I’m busting out a whole lot of elbow grease and freshening things up.  I can’t wait to show you the transformation!

My brother and I got to work moving an old glass display case and look what we found beneath!  Old food wrappers and stickers from cigars and cigarette packages from the old billiards hall.  I especially love that Lowney’s chocolate bar wrapper.

And some great old, grimy coins.  I’ve never seen one without Queen Elizabeth!  King George?  That’s an oldie!

Lastly, these great old lights in the windows.  They have that great mercury glass finish on the inside and a sort of old zinc finish on the exterior.  They’re original and I just love them!  It’s so great to have found a space that hasn’t been altered in so many years so that so much of the charm is still in tact.  Now I’ve just gotta get it pulled together for the store to open – and fast!


  1. Paula Nolan says:

    Any behind the scenes scoop. Conn Smythe any relation to Tommy Smythe? If so, small world and you may have me believing in fate.

  2. What great bones your store has. Can’t wait to see the transformation Michael.. keep the pics coming..


  3. Susane says:

    Can’t wait to see the finished product! It looks like a great space.

  4. What a beautiful space and “back-story” Michael! Love the connection with Tommy too. What fun!

  5. allison says:

    Love! Can’t wait for the opening.
    The old candy wrappers are really cool.

  6. Sandra says:

    Very exciting…those old glass front display cases are amazing. Love the Smythe connection story. Thanks for the update.

  7. Celine says:

    Frame the sweet wrappers and old coins.
    Can’t wait for your store to open!

  8. Lisa says:

    I hope you do some DIY and display your found treasures in the shop somewhere! Can’t wait to see the finished store. What a find!

  9. Judi says:

    Lucky, lucky, lucky! I have just opened a little french shoppe in downtown Hamilton but in a newer building. Would have loved to go through what you are now! Best of luck!

  10. Kristin says:

    I cannot contain my excitement!!!!!!!! I will be coming by so often it’ll be annoying!!!

  11. The store has some history – love that! And yes, I’m sure you are going to frame your found treasures. I’ll be popping by often too as my sister lives in Whitby. Can’t wait!

  12. Mike Lentz says:

    Gorgeous space! Its charm is evident & I’m sure it will benefit enormously from your talents. Thanks for keeping us posted in spite of how busy you must be. We’re all eagerly awaiting the opening of your shop- though in your case it’s more like your calling!

  13. naomi says:

    What a lovely space to spend your days in! All the best as you pull it all together! I’m sure it will have the best mix of items – can’t wait to see!

  14. Great display cabinet and with a good sanding and some oil or paint those floors will be fabulous! Lots of elbow grease, but the labour of love will pay off! I love the Arsenic paint colour. Have a look at Annie Sloane’s colours – Provence and Antibe…easy to customize colours also, but the best part is how easy it is to use!

  15. Jen Wall says:

    I am so excited for you! Great post!!!

  16. Arlene says:

    Can’t wait to see your new store. Didn’t know the history and I live within walking distance. I think the arsenic will stand out amongst all the other store fronts on that street. Will drive by tomorrow late afternoon with my sister Vanessa@decorhappy who will be visiting. Love if your happen to be there to see it!!!!

  17. marina says:

    hey i remember buying those bars!!!!!
    i’m sure your store will be a great success-look forward to visiting it-
    older places have a character that is acquired over time its not built in-obviously your store will have character-

  18. I cannot believe your good fortune to find a totally preserved space full of such history. Nothing short of amazing.

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