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Canadian Tiki

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Us lumberjacks and hunting guides in the frozen north like a good tiki bar every now and again. If you know aboot any, especially in Ontario (which by the way is a big as up to 32 mainland states) let's see a post.

Also if anyone has stumbled across a dealer of tiki-esque items, decorations etc. in Canada, please let me know. So far I haven't had much luck.

Tikifish? Got any leads?


Tiki bars in Canada? Oh, I hear someone ringing my bell!

Toronto: Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. We used to have a Trader Vic's in the Hilton, but it has been replaced by a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Never got to see the Trader Vic's, my tiki epiphany came too late. There was a half assed attempt to open a tiki bar in the old Boom Boom Room on Queen West but it closed. The mixture of dance music, industrial goth stairways and concrete floors just didnt mix well with the 3 tiki statues they had, under strobelights. A supremely misguided attempt. Quickly went out of business. Thank god.

Strangely, Toronto does have a giant life sized moai head outside the Tilley Endurables head office on Barber Greene Road at Don Mills and Eglinton. Good for photo ops! But where the hell did it come from? My friend swears there used to be 2 of them... it makes for some fun conjecture.

Niagara Falls: I went to niagara falls for the Moai mini-golf, only to find it had been closed for years. Searched diligently for tiki all over the Falls, but no dice. You'd think it was a shoe in, but I guess they're trying to 'update' the image of Niagara Falls. Still lots of camp and kitsch though. A restaurant shaped like a flying saucer is always a good sign.

Montreal also had quite a few stellar tiki palaces back in the day, (check the BOT for some pix) but is now reduced to just the Jardin Tiki as far as I know. The Jardin is probably the best Tiki bar in Canada west of Vancouver at this point. Do the road trip, make sure you hit the Jardin at night, but be sure to go the extra kilometres to the Coconut Hotel/Motel in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. http://www.coconuthotelmotel.com/

I'm not a geography major, but once you have gone that far it may be worth crossing the border and driving a couple hours to the Howard Johnson's Tiki Resort in New York State... there's quite a bit of good information on that place in other Tiki Central threads.

If you are heading south, there's nothing worth mentioning until you hit Detroit (and that's 4 hours from Toronto so, say 6 hours from Peterborough) - check out the ruins of the Chin Tiki on Cass Ave (the source of endless re-opening rumours, as all the furnishings are still intact inside) and also the location of a scene in Eminem's new movie. http://www.basementgamers.com/tiki/chin_tiki_in_detroit.htm

There was a Trader Vic's in Detroit, but it's boarded up and abandoned, and there's nothing left to see of the facade, so move along...

Pay your respects at the gravesite of the Mauna Loa Detroit, the Midwest's greatest and shortest-lived tiki bar 1967-1968 (and generator of some of Ebay's priciest mugs) at West Grand and Cass. Theres nothing there anymore, as it has been torn down, but maybe you can feel the wind in the fake palms, hear the trickling of the waterfall and the tinkling of cocktail glasses, and smell the Pall Malls if you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Then, scour nearby thrift stores for one of those $150 mugs.

St. Claire Shores (near Grosse Ponte, MI) is home to a newfangled tiki bar called Waves - It's pretty corny, but still fun. No tiki mugs but you get drinks in a giant fishbowl, and they do have some moais and you eat under thatched huts. Beware, mullet-sporting disco dancers begin to boogie at 9 or 10, when the place turns from a Mai Tai market into a Meat Market.

Then make your way to Chin's in Livonia (a suburb of Detroit), but make sure you bring your Tum's, as the food is deadly, and the drinks are sickly sweet. Check out my review on tikifish.com - http://www.tikifish.com/chins.html

Heading west across our fine country, I beleive there is nothing to be had until Vancouver, in which case you can hit the Polynesian Room at the Waldorf Hotel and - I may be wrong - there is still a Trader Vic's somehere in Vancouver too.

I have no idea if there is East Coast tiki, but I highly doubt it. I'se the bye that builds tha Moai? Hardly.

If I've frogitten anything, I'll be sure to add it, but I think that's the scoop. My advice? Grab some friends and do the 10 hour drive down to Chicago, for the Hala Kahiki, Tader Vic's, and more.

But all is not lost! At least we have something to read. This just in from Otto's mailing list - a must have zine for the hoser set.


#8 features an expanded "BAMBOO BITS" section, as well as TIKI FICTION, a report on SWIZZLE STICKS, a WILDWOOD update, and more!

FOR TIKI FANS IN THE MONTREAL AREA - you can pick up your FREE COPY at all the usual spots (St. Laurent/Duluth area, Mont-Royal book and record shops, C'Dment on Ste-Catherine St., and at other hot spots).
MAI TAI WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE at the bar in the COCONUT MOTEL in Trois-Rivieres, as well as at the KONA KAI MOTEL in Wildwood Crest, NJ!

Finally, for those of you elsewhere around the world, MAI TAI is available by mail by sending $1 plus postage (48 cent stamp in Canada/65 cents to the US) to:
Mai Tai
6361 20th Avenue, Suite 301
Montreal, QC
H1X 3P8 Canada

So... too much information?

As for buying tiki items, if you want bamboo poles in various sizes, rattan mats, and that sort of thing, I would suggest hitting Toronto's Chinatown (between College and Dundas on Spadina Ave.) A place called 'Plaiter Place' and one called 'BJ's Imports' will be sure to provide you with some home decor inspiration.

Now for actual tikis of course, that's much harder to find. I've had a little bit of luck at the St. Lawrence market here on Sunday mornings, but you have to be lucky. There's NOTHING to be found in the way of tiki mugs at the local Goodwills or Sally Ann's unless you are extremely, extremely, extremely lucky. I've found 2 mugs in 3 years and I search regularily.

Your best bet is to do the small town Ontario thing - my best hunting for tiki mugs has been at cottage country yard sales and flea markets. I have this theory that people took their souvenir mugs that they got in the 60's, up to the cottage in the 70's and 80's (where all odd mismatched mugs end up), and now these people are dying off, and the kids are selling the cottage contents. I also got a nice Leeteg print out of a cottage too. I assume someone's wife banned the exotic boobs in art piece from the main domicile, and it ended up amongst the winsome pines....

Being from Peterborough, you are pretty well situated for that sort of hunting.

Good luck!

See what you started?

J/K Tikifish! I think that's the most comprehensive tiki guide to our northern neighbors that I've ever read!


Talk about your complete replies! Thanks TikiFish. If I get any doubles, I'll keep you in mind for first dibs. I think your theory about cottage country is spot-on. To expand on that somewhat, I think that cottage country may be the best positioning for a public tiki room as a business. I'd never run a public bar, but it's a thought nonetheless.

I have seen some Tiki mugs in some rural chinese restaurants. (Why does every town over 300 people have a chinese restaurant?)

In any event, as I come across new resources for the Canuck set, I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again, Tikifish.

Tikifish, once again you shame us all!!
That's a reply to print out and put in copies of the Lonely Planet Guide to Canada.

Mai Tai #8 was waiting for me this afternoon when I got back from work, and it's inspiring as usual.

I still see the older carvings found in BC as being more Tiki than a lot of the stuff found on the more western isles of Oceania. Hell, it may be a little chilly up there, but the spirit was (is?) willing!

Trader Woody


Speaking of Goodwill's and Salvation Army stores, are the one's in your area starting to run silent auctions on anything that might be even remotely collectible?

I used to sell antique children's books on eBay and the Sally Ann's and Goodwill were some of my hot spots. They caught on and now I don't sell the books at all because I can't keep a steady stream.

I guess I can't blame them.


Yeah, all the good 50's furniture is now on silent auction. In fact, anything that isn't chipped is on auction! Toronto is not a bargain hunters market. Too much like New York in that respect.

You can hunt, but you won't find, ahaha!


Please let me know what chinese restaurants you have found mugs in! I would totally appreciate it. I am often on the road with my mom and we go through all sorts of odd towns looking for vintage goodies. (she's a dealer... I'm just a wheeler)


I only recalling seeing them in past, before I thought about collecting them or offering to buy them from the restaurant.

But I will keep an eye out now. Just make it a habit to pop into the odd Chinese restaurant in small towns. Especially if they are licensed.



A postcard of the aforementioned Chin Tiki on Ebay...


We'll be doing a trip down east in the next year. I'll make it a priority to stay at the Coconut Motel on the way. That bar is just so chic.

I'm thinking something out Wasaga Beach way has to be in the realm of Tiki.



It's practically at my back door. All brand new rattan furniture, but pretty neat nonetheless. They must have access to some more Tiki-fied resources.


I had the same thought about Wasaga Beach...
I looked on Canada 411 and found a 'palm hotel' or 'luau motel' or something like that - probably a dead end but I'm going to go check anyway... maybe this weekend, actually!


Some other oft forgotten beach areas in Ontario:
Presqu'ile (Brighton)
Sand Banks (Picton)
Grand Bend

These always seem to have some sort of 'junk' stores near them that may produce spoils.


This is in St. Catherine's apparently. I can't tell if it's any good, but it might be worth dropping in if you're in the area.

Frankly, I bet it's just a grass hut that sells bad drinks and frozen burgers.



Already looked into it. A tiki bar in name only. Probably plays Jimmy Buffett, too. :)

I dont even think they bothered with the grass hut.

On 2002-09-11 19:31, tikifish wrote:

A postcard of the aforementioned Chin Tiki on Ebay...

WOW! I have never seen a postcard go for this much! That is unbelievable!!!



There is a fierce Detroit collecting contingent - I've been trying to buy a fabled Mauna Loa mug forever but just can't bring myself to pay the 100 bucks,especially since I visit Detroit so often and Toronto is fairly close- I keep hoping to find one at a yard sale. Dare to dream.

The people who bid on the Detroit Tiki memorabilia are a mysterious, moneyed cabal who ony appear in the last 3 seconds of an auction, cloaked in secrecy.... you never see them at Tiki Central, and none have contacted me through tikifish.com. Who are these people? Is it the Pope? The Rothschilds? The Colonel, with his wee, beady eyes?


I bet it's the Ford's.

I'd focus a little more on Windsor and environs shops and yard sales. They may just be a little more naive. Plus, even if you do find it for $100 in Windsor, it still like, what, $30 US now? :wink: A bargain at twice the price.

I had a touch of luck in Kingston this weekend. A set of wooden tiki fork and spoon (a la giant set for the wall) made in the Phillipines $2/pr and 2 wooden mugs with handles with the god of war handcarved on them for $3/pr. No makers mark. Not bad. I'm still looking for ceramics though and I just have this feeling they are out there waiting for me. I can hear the drums in the distance.....


I'm heading up to the Laurentians in a few weeks for a week at a cottage... if my cottage country theory is right (and if my luck is good), I should be finding some old mugs from Montreal's Jardin Tiki floating about... maybe one of those bowls Bigbro has been jonesing for....
Speaking of which, posting a pic of that bowl would be a good idea so I know what to keep an eye out for again....


I went into an antique store on my way home yesterday and they had a glass float that was less than 6 inches in diameter, really cheap thin glass, in a poorly made rope net. It looked like the net was new rope that was purposely mismatched to make it look old. How much? $60. I felt like telling them off on principle.

On another note, I made the mistake once of telling a dealer that I was actively looking for items of a certain type. Within two weeks, lots of what I was looking for showed up at all the local dealers and junk shops and all at the high end or above market value. From then on, I was "just browsing".


Came across this site

The only location with good pictures on the site is in Burlington and that looked pretty lame. But the other locations individual and tiny pictures indicate a slim possibility of un-lameness.

Man, if this concept flies, why can't someone get an honest to goodness tiki bar going in this miserably concrete gray\conservative blue province?


Thanks so much for all the chatter on stuff to buy in and around Quebec/Ontario area. So hard to find stuff, I've sadly never found a "yard sale" type of tikitreasure. I keep hoping! I'm starting to decorate my own "Tiki Room", it's coming along, but I could sure use some more stuff....does anyone know if these online stores from Hawaii ship to Canada? Sure would like that hanging spiky fish lamp! Remember seeing one like that at the Kon Tiki in the Sheraton Hotel years ago...sigh!


I bought a stuffed blowfish for $35 CN at an antique show in Toronto... it has no lamp in it though. I think I paid too much for it though. It just sits on my shelf and stares at me, making me feel guilty.

I guess Vegetarians shoudl not bay taxidermy, even if it's second hand!


I've got no problems with taxidermy if you're feeling generous.

How did the Laurentians and the Wasaga adventures go? Anything delectable to report?

Mark posted on Sun, Sep 22, 2002 9:50 PM


joined the forum just to contribute to this discussion.. I live in Guelph but I've been all over the province in searching. In Ontario no leads on restaurants/ bars but with relics I've managed a few finds in the Toronto, Peterbrough and Guelph areas. I've picked up several mugs and salt and pepper sets, nothing special but all between $2 and $15 Cdn. at several places - Flea markets/ Value Village and antique stores. I've had zero luck at garage sales.

My two big scores were carved tikis - one at a flea market near Peterborough ( theres a town starts with a B right @ the 401 where you turn off to Peterborough the flea market is there just off the main st.) the other was @ an antique store in TO on queen way way west. ( http://www.skapages.com/franticska/bigtiki.jpg and http://www.skapages.com/franticska/smalltiki.jpg ) The big one (2.5-3ft) was $15 and the small one about double that.

Around here I'd suggest checking out aberfoyle and Freelton antique markets as well as the nameless flea market on the same highway just 10 Km from freelton.

In Toronto it seems you can't move for Shag and new tiki items but its hit and miss for real stuff. there was a store in Kensington that had an endless supply of mugs (acme or alcatraz I can't remember) but I haven't seen any there lately.

I guess the stuff is out there and reasonably priced just not as plentiful as it is to the south.


[ Edited by: Mark on 2002-09-22 22:13 ]


Oh, haven't gone to the Laurentians yet - heading up in a few weeks. Never got to Wasaga, had to go to Detroit that weekend instead.

Last weekend I did some hunting in Marmora and Omeemee and the like - nothing tiki to be found, but I did get this lovely pin up gal.


Also picked up lots of vintage mags and other crazy 50's paraphenalia... mostly as gifts for friends though. How am I ever going to make my millions on Ebay when I keep giving away my best finds as gifts? Hee hee


Omeemee? Marmora, Dem's my stomping grounds....

I haven't found much out here either. In fact, nothing at the shops. I believe any finds will be from yard/estate/auction sales out here. Hard to say. 50's/60's items in general are fairly plentiful here, I just can't buy them all!

I drove past a great semi-circular bar last night (it was out for large item pick-up.)Classic satellite laminate on top, lovely turquoise color. Had I a truck it'd be mine for free. Drat.

Also missed out on a kitchen table set similar to the one on "Everybody Loves Raymond" for the same reason, plus the additional wifely objection. Don't get me wrong, she thinks that the Tiki Bar-obsession is great, but having it spill into the rest of the house is where the line is drawn. I agree.


Hey Ontario Tiki Freeks,

I just came across this. Anyone in that area care to report or check it out?

Naughty Native Tiki Bar (The)
18 Lakeport Rd., St. Catharines, ON
Phone: (905) 935-2086


Found another possible lead...


And I spent 3 months around the coner from there on a contract and never heard of it. Drat!

Anything to report, anyone? Bueller? Anyone....?


Not a very positive lead, but this bed and breakfast says they have a Tiki bar overlooking their pond. No pictures, but feel free to dig deeper.



I called the Aloha Room a few years ago and asked if they had 'tiki' decor. I got the over-the-phone equivalent of a blank stare.

However, from the website, it looks like they may have clued in since then!

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