Could you give me a brief explanation of how Courage came to be?
Well, it all started with my mom and dad. They were teachers but were both really into antiques. At some point they decided that it might be a good idea to start selling their antiques and so they opened a little store at 60 Cecil Street. It was in a coach house behind what was a KFC at the time, right besides Grossmans on Spadina. My dad and I travelled across Canada a couple times and picked up stuff at old general store counters and flea markets. That’s how it started. It just became better and better and better. My parents were really good at finding beautiful things and running the store, so it just worked. They wanted to do something different. They didn’t want to do what other people wanted them to do.
Where did the name COURAGE MY LOVE come from?
My dad befriended a girl called Rosemary Kelly. She was sixteen when he met her, and had run away from home. She started working for us and living in our home. My parents were trying to figure out what to call the store and she said, “Well, why don’t you call it Courage, my love.” Rosemary always said love after everything. My dad was like, “Yah of coarse, that’s it.“ It was really a perfect name for the store, because they were giving up a lot to run it.
Wow, that’s amazing. Courage is full of exotic looking things from other parts of the world, like Mexico. Do you travel a lot for the store?
Yah, we do. In the 90s, we were doing really well so we started travelling and buying stuff from other countries and sending shipments home. It was before any one else was doing it really. My parents just started buying tons of cool stuff on their travels. They shipped beds made in Indonesia and clothes from Bali back to the store…they really went all out. We still have stuff from that time. It was good time to be looking beyond antiques and vintage because vintage really wasn’t that popular then, it was going down hill.
Oh yah, in the 90s people weren’t really buying vintage. I mean they were a little bit, but not like the 80s when vintage was really hot and everyone wanted to look like a rockabilly. It slowed down in the 90s and ethnic stuff was what everyone wanted to have. We were getting our stuff from places no one else was going to.