Family carrying on Jim Addison's unique Parkdale antique store

News Sep 15, 2017 by Hilary Caton Parkdale Villager

Walking through the doors at Addison’s Inc. on Wabash Avenue is like stepping into a time machine. It transports its visitors to an era when wrought iron, stained glass and wood were the materials of choice.

It’s been the go-to place for art deco lovers, television and movie set designers and people looking to replace Victorian home fixtures. Jim Addison had it all. From floor to ceiling his store is lined with everything from light fixtures, faucets, sinks and mirrors to iron vents, radiators and doorknobs.

“(When) you look at this place this was his vision, this was his brain,” said Becky Addison, one of Jim’s four daughters.

“This was his passion, he loved this so much. As unique as this place is, it’s a reflection of how unique he was. He was a one of a kind person.”

To say Addison’s store is overwhelming is an understatement, but it’s exactly the way he wanted it to be. And it still remains the exact same way after Jim died suddenly on June 11. He was 74 years old and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

“It was very tragic for our family. It was also an unexpected shock. I still don’t consider him gone. I still think he’s going to walk through here any second. He was in good health, probably better than he had been in a long time,” said Becky.

“He would be sad not to be here anymore. He was someone who loved life so much. He really was a workhorse. He worked here six days a week.”

Jim’s been collecting antique items for the past 50 years and some pieces date back to the early 20th century. His first store was on Gerrard Street East which focused on selling plumbing and heating parts. It was his first foray into working for himself, after completing his Master Plumbing and Heating License and moving to Canada from Scotland in 1965. He immigrated with his wife and first daughter, Teresa Addison, who was around three months old at the time. He later had three more daughters, Cara, Pam and Becky.

“This (collecting antiques) was still his passion, but on a much smaller scale (on Gerrard Street). It’s not until he came out to the west end and got this space that it expanded,” said Teresa.

“It’s evolved to this level over the last 25 years. We would go down to the (United) States for buying trips and look for architectural antiques here in Toronto, like the Canary sign that’s in here. We’d go to older homes being demolished and he would salvage what he could, down to every little detail before it was thrown in a dump.”

Jim always had an eye for antiques, despite being a plumber by trade. He acquired heating and plumbing antiques first then expanded to the weird and wonderful, which led him to collecting rental props for the TV and film industry.

That’s how George Sturous, a television and movie set dresser, met Jim at his store on Gerrard that “emulated an antique plumbing museum.”

“Jim could see beauty in just about anything. If it was neglected or overlooked he was the kind of guy that would pick it up because he would say this is too nice for it to be scraped,” Stouros said.

“His place isn’t a scrapyard or a junkyard, it’s quite the opposite it’s a treasure trove.”

Stouros knew if he needed a unique piece to impact a scene on a set, Addison’s is where he’d go first because there was a high chance Jim had exactly what he was looking for. Shows like Murdoch Mysteries, 12 Monkeys the TV Series and Killjoys have all had items from Jim’s store on set.

“Jim’s contribution to our industry has always been immense. So when places like CBC closed their prop shop, his place became more and more popular and essential,” Stouros explained.

When he found out about Jim’s passing he was just as devastated as his family was. Jim was more than a good friend to Stouros, he was a father figure. It was Jim’s employee Scott Russell, whom he knows well, that broke the news of Jim’s passing to him.

“I never expected it. There’s a void and emptiness there. I won’t be able to talk or see him again. He gave so much and he deserved to go the way he did. Peacefully,” he said.

“He’ll be sorely missed, in my life, anyway. He was like that second dad you can go to who would listen.”

Russell worked for Jim for 20 years and has been helping Jim’s daughter Becky get the lay of the land in the shop in Parkdale. She admits to a steep “learning curve”  trying to navigate her father’s store because of the number of things that occupy every inch of the space. Her father had his own way of organizing things that she hasn’t quite grasped yet. Russell is more familiar with the layout of the store. Since his death he’s been burying himself in work, out of necessity mostly.

“I’m trying to catch up and come to terms with it all because I haven’t had a chance yet to be perfectly honest. I came to work the next day, basically because somebody had to run it,” said Russell.

“It’s been tough. I miss my friend.”

For now the Addison’s, with the help of Russell, are running the store as best they can and “appreciate it for what it is” because it’s a “special place.” They’ve also decided to keep it open, but do foresee a bit of downsizing to make it more manageable for them since he left no instructions for them.

“Right now it just seems like the right thing to do to keep it open."


Family carrying on Jim Addison's unique Parkdale antique store

Murdoch Mysteries, Killjoys and 12 Monkeys have all used his fixtures on their sets

News Sep 15, 2017 by Hilary Caton Parkdale Villager

Walking through the doors at Addison’s Inc. on Wabash Avenue is like stepping into a time machine. It transports its visitors to an era when wrought iron, stained glass and wood were the materials of choice.

It’s been the go-to place for art deco lovers, television and movie set designers and people looking to replace Victorian home fixtures. Jim Addison had it all. From floor to ceiling his store is lined with everything from light fixtures, faucets, sinks and mirrors to iron vents, radiators and doorknobs.

“(When) you look at this place this was his vision, this was his brain,” said Becky Addison, one of Jim’s four daughters.

“This was his passion, he loved this so much. As unique as this place is, it’s a reflection of how unique he was. He was a one of a kind person.”

To say Addison’s store is overwhelming is an understatement, but it’s exactly the way he wanted it to be. And it still remains the exact same way after Jim died suddenly on June 11. He was 74 years old and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

“It was very tragic for our family. It was also an unexpected shock. I still don’t consider him gone. I still think he’s going to walk through here any second. He was in good health, probably better than he had been in a long time,” said Becky.

“He would be sad not to be here anymore. He was someone who loved life so much. He really was a workhorse. He worked here six days a week.”

Jim’s been collecting antique items for the past 50 years and some pieces date back to the early 20th century. His first store was on Gerrard Street East which focused on selling plumbing and heating parts. It was his first foray into working for himself, after completing his Master Plumbing and Heating License and moving to Canada from Scotland in 1965. He immigrated with his wife and first daughter, Teresa Addison, who was around three months old at the time. He later had three more daughters, Cara, Pam and Becky.

“This (collecting antiques) was still his passion, but on a much smaller scale (on Gerrard Street). It’s not until he came out to the west end and got this space that it expanded,” said Teresa.

“It’s evolved to this level over the last 25 years. We would go down to the (United) States for buying trips and look for architectural antiques here in Toronto, like the Canary sign that’s in here. We’d go to older homes being demolished and he would salvage what he could, down to every little detail before it was thrown in a dump.”

Jim always had an eye for antiques, despite being a plumber by trade. He acquired heating and plumbing antiques first then expanded to the weird and wonderful, which led him to collecting rental props for the TV and film industry.

That’s how George Sturous, a television and movie set dresser, met Jim at his store on Gerrard that “emulated an antique plumbing museum.”

“Jim could see beauty in just about anything. If it was neglected or overlooked he was the kind of guy that would pick it up because he would say this is too nice for it to be scraped,” Stouros said.

“His place isn’t a scrapyard or a junkyard, it’s quite the opposite it’s a treasure trove.”

Stouros knew if he needed a unique piece to impact a scene on a set, Addison’s is where he’d go first because there was a high chance Jim had exactly what he was looking for. Shows like Murdoch Mysteries, 12 Monkeys the TV Series and Killjoys have all had items from Jim’s store on set.

“Jim’s contribution to our industry has always been immense. So when places like CBC closed their prop shop, his place became more and more popular and essential,” Stouros explained.

When he found out about Jim’s passing he was just as devastated as his family was. Jim was more than a good friend to Stouros, he was a father figure. It was Jim’s employee Scott Russell, whom he knows well, that broke the news of Jim’s passing to him.

“I never expected it. There’s a void and emptiness there. I won’t be able to talk or see him again. He gave so much and he deserved to go the way he did. Peacefully,” he said.

“He’ll be sorely missed, in my life, anyway. He was like that second dad you can go to who would listen.”

Russell worked for Jim for 20 years and has been helping Jim’s daughter Becky get the lay of the land in the shop in Parkdale. She admits to a steep “learning curve”  trying to navigate her father’s store because of the number of things that occupy every inch of the space. Her father had his own way of organizing things that she hasn’t quite grasped yet. Russell is more familiar with the layout of the store. Since his death he’s been burying himself in work, out of necessity mostly.

“I’m trying to catch up and come to terms with it all because I haven’t had a chance yet to be perfectly honest. I came to work the next day, basically because somebody had to run it,” said Russell.

“It’s been tough. I miss my friend.”

For now the Addison’s, with the help of Russell, are running the store as best they can and “appreciate it for what it is” because it’s a “special place.” They’ve also decided to keep it open, but do foresee a bit of downsizing to make it more manageable for them since he left no instructions for them.

“Right now it just seems like the right thing to do to keep it open."


Family carrying on Jim Addison's unique Parkdale antique store

Murdoch Mysteries, Killjoys and 12 Monkeys have all used his fixtures on their sets

News Sep 15, 2017 by Hilary Caton Parkdale Villager

Walking through the doors at Addison’s Inc. on Wabash Avenue is like stepping into a time machine. It transports its visitors to an era when wrought iron, stained glass and wood were the materials of choice.

It’s been the go-to place for art deco lovers, television and movie set designers and people looking to replace Victorian home fixtures. Jim Addison had it all. From floor to ceiling his store is lined with everything from light fixtures, faucets, sinks and mirrors to iron vents, radiators and doorknobs.

“(When) you look at this place this was his vision, this was his brain,” said Becky Addison, one of Jim’s four daughters.

“This was his passion, he loved this so much. As unique as this place is, it’s a reflection of how unique he was. He was a one of a kind person.”

To say Addison’s store is overwhelming is an understatement, but it’s exactly the way he wanted it to be. And it still remains the exact same way after Jim died suddenly on June 11. He was 74 years old and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

“It was very tragic for our family. It was also an unexpected shock. I still don’t consider him gone. I still think he’s going to walk through here any second. He was in good health, probably better than he had been in a long time,” said Becky.

“He would be sad not to be here anymore. He was someone who loved life so much. He really was a workhorse. He worked here six days a week.”

Jim’s been collecting antique items for the past 50 years and some pieces date back to the early 20th century. His first store was on Gerrard Street East which focused on selling plumbing and heating parts. It was his first foray into working for himself, after completing his Master Plumbing and Heating License and moving to Canada from Scotland in 1965. He immigrated with his wife and first daughter, Teresa Addison, who was around three months old at the time. He later had three more daughters, Cara, Pam and Becky.

“This (collecting antiques) was still his passion, but on a much smaller scale (on Gerrard Street). It’s not until he came out to the west end and got this space that it expanded,” said Teresa.

“It’s evolved to this level over the last 25 years. We would go down to the (United) States for buying trips and look for architectural antiques here in Toronto, like the Canary sign that’s in here. We’d go to older homes being demolished and he would salvage what he could, down to every little detail before it was thrown in a dump.”

Jim always had an eye for antiques, despite being a plumber by trade. He acquired heating and plumbing antiques first then expanded to the weird and wonderful, which led him to collecting rental props for the TV and film industry.

That’s how George Sturous, a television and movie set dresser, met Jim at his store on Gerrard that “emulated an antique plumbing museum.”

“Jim could see beauty in just about anything. If it was neglected or overlooked he was the kind of guy that would pick it up because he would say this is too nice for it to be scraped,” Stouros said.

“His place isn’t a scrapyard or a junkyard, it’s quite the opposite it’s a treasure trove.”

Stouros knew if he needed a unique piece to impact a scene on a set, Addison’s is where he’d go first because there was a high chance Jim had exactly what he was looking for. Shows like Murdoch Mysteries, 12 Monkeys the TV Series and Killjoys have all had items from Jim’s store on set.

“Jim’s contribution to our industry has always been immense. So when places like CBC closed their prop shop, his place became more and more popular and essential,” Stouros explained.

When he found out about Jim’s passing he was just as devastated as his family was. Jim was more than a good friend to Stouros, he was a father figure. It was Jim’s employee Scott Russell, whom he knows well, that broke the news of Jim’s passing to him.

“I never expected it. There’s a void and emptiness there. I won’t be able to talk or see him again. He gave so much and he deserved to go the way he did. Peacefully,” he said.

“He’ll be sorely missed, in my life, anyway. He was like that second dad you can go to who would listen.”

Russell worked for Jim for 20 years and has been helping Jim’s daughter Becky get the lay of the land in the shop in Parkdale. She admits to a steep “learning curve”  trying to navigate her father’s store because of the number of things that occupy every inch of the space. Her father had his own way of organizing things that she hasn’t quite grasped yet. Russell is more familiar with the layout of the store. Since his death he’s been burying himself in work, out of necessity mostly.

“I’m trying to catch up and come to terms with it all because I haven’t had a chance yet to be perfectly honest. I came to work the next day, basically because somebody had to run it,” said Russell.

“It’s been tough. I miss my friend.”

For now the Addison’s, with the help of Russell, are running the store as best they can and “appreciate it for what it is” because it’s a “special place.” They’ve also decided to keep it open, but do foresee a bit of downsizing to make it more manageable for them since he left no instructions for them.

“Right now it just seems like the right thing to do to keep it open."