Ikea, I hardly knew ya.

Ikea shopping alternatives in Kingston, Ontario
When I moved to Kingston  last spring, it was the first time I’d ever put down roots in a town without an Ikea.  I’ve since found plenty of people with whom to commiserate about this sad fact, but at the time, I was shocked and appalled. Where would I get my cheap rugs and toilet brushes? How would I shelve my cookbook collection without ready access to the Billy series? Once the initial sadness subsided, I steeled myself for the cold road ahead and set out to find Kingston’s best Ikea alternative. What followed was, like most things related to moving, annoying and expensive, but here’s a summary of my findings. I hope it’ll be as useful for all you Kingston newcomers as it was for me.

Canadian Tire, Division Street Location

Perks: Extremely quiet.  This location has a Mark’s Work Wearhouse attached to it, and my mother bought herself a cowboy shirt there. I guess this might not be a perk for everyone, but hey, you never know.  It is also close to the No Frills, in case you need some groceries. Abundance of cheap bathroom fixtures, curtain rods, placemats, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and birdseed bells.  Shelving units come with legible directions for assembly. Of note: I bought a really amazing pair of flip flops here for 10$.

Drawbacks: Kafkaesque nightmare of aisle organization. Notable lack of display space (I want to KNOW what my shelving unit is going to look like all set up before I buy it! Is that so wrong?). No staff eye contact.

Grade: B+.

Canadian Tire, Gardiners Road Location

Perks: Apparently this is the largest Canadian Tire in Canada, which says something, I guess.

Drawbacks: Terrifyingly large. I didn’t make it past the parking lot.

Grade: n/a.

Zellers, Cataraqui Town Centre Location

Perks: Food Court adjacency, making a post-shopping trip to New York Fries and/or Orange Julius easy.  If corporate junk food doesn’t do it for you, Zeller’s also has a wicked diner-style lunch counter straight out of 1975  (it’s no Ikea hot dog, but it’ll do).  Insane selection of cheap bedding and pillows. Impressive grocery section filled with cheap treats.  They also have a surprising number of plants for sale, and if they can survive under the fluorescent lights, they must be hardy.  A lot like Wal Mart in that you can buy pretty much anything there, but at least it’s Canadian-owned. Or maybe it’s not. I don’t keep up with corporate politics the way I used to.

Drawbacks: Atmosphere resembling my idea of a punishing underworld. Dim lighting, staff that are not only unhelpful but almost malicious, abundance of Hannah Montana merchandise.

Grade: B.

Vandervoorts Pro Hardware, 77 Princess Street

Perks: This place looks like nothing from the outside, but when you walk in the front door you are transported to this Willy Wonka version of a hardware store, complete with lofty ceilings and a gelato counter (for real!). Delightfully random stock, from kitchen chairs and tables to lamps to patterned vinyl for lining your drawers (I love that there is still a need for products like this!).  And boating supplies! Amazing! Convenient downtown location is also a boon, as is the satisfying feeling of supporting an independent business.

Drawbacks: Not a one, my friends.

Grade: A.

…But enough about my shopping preferences. What do you do to assuage the empty spot in your heart left by a lack of Lack tables? Thanks and Kilppan Loveseats to ASurroca for today’s photo.

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11 Comments

  1. Laurel September 15, 2009
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