Tools to treasure for Father’s Day

Looking for that special Father’s Day’s gift? Then check out the 18th  and 19th century antique tools on display until June 18 in the window of Golden Swan Antiques, in Knowlton. These unusual wood-and-iron hand tools, with evocative names like “cooper’s chamser knife” and “curved froe,” were all used in the making of wooden barrels or buckets. Each tool comes with a label describing its use and approximate period. Prices range from $55 to $275.


“These tools are highly collectible and would be of special interest to woodworkers,” says owner Gail Gibbs, who has a done a themed tool display every Father’s Day since opening her store three years ago. Golden Swan is one of the few dealers in the area that carry antique tools. In addition to this special collection of barrel-making tools, she also sells more generic tools, like planes, hammers and levels, all year long.


Golden Swan Antiques, 305 Knowlton Road. Open six days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesdays). call (450) 242-2946.



Camlen was a big hit at the Toronto International Home Furnishings Show in early June. Its line of fine, pine antique-style furniture attracted 15 new customers, mostly retail stores and interior decorators, from across the country. The company is doing so well at tradeshows — orders doubled after their first exposure in 2000 — that it plans to attend its first U.S. tradeshow next year. Its catalogue of quality, handmade antique reproductions includes such modern additions as computer cabinets and entertainment units, sized for today’s equipment but with the authentic look of old-style pine armoires.

 “There have been big changes at Camlen in the last three years,” explains Greg Brown, General Manager, and son of the owners, Helen and Cameron Brown. “We now generate half our business from selling our antique reproductions wholesale to other furniture stores, inns, condo developers and hotels.” The shop has also moved away from small-ticket gift items to home furnishings and area rugs for every room in the house. To meet the demand for reasonably priced antique furniture, Camlen has recently begun importing antiques from Europe. Surprisingly, the style of these pieces — tables, armoires, buffets, coffee tables. — is very similar to country Canadiana.

 Camlen Inc., 110 Lakeside Road, Knowlton. Tel: (450) 243-5785. View its line of antique reproductions at



RoCoCo, the high-fashion designer outlet owned by Anita and Jacques Laurent, is in the process of moving from 109 Lakeside to 299 Knowlton Road, a building they purchased with L’Emporium du Village owners Peter and Roxanne Stasney. Their adjoining stores will soon be accessible from inside. The building was formerly owned by Peter Marsh, who has moved his Stuart Realties office across the street.


“We’re thrilled to be in such a prime location and in such a beautiful old building,” says Anita Laurent, a former fashion model, who moved to Knowlton with her French photographer husband, Jacques, 12 years ago. The mezzanine of the new store will soon feature a photo gallery, where he will display and sell his work. The couple also owns a second RoCoCo shop in Aurora, Ont.


Laurent’s collection of French, German, Dutch, Danish and Finnish women’s clothing at wholesale prices attracts regular customers to Knowlton from New York City, Boston and Toronto. The next few weeks will be a transition period, as the new store stocks its fall lines and the old store puts its stock on sale. 


Watch for RoCoCo’s clearance sale at 109 Lakeside Road, Knowlton, and the opening of the new store at 299 Knowlton Road, next week, renovations permitting. Call (450) 243-6948.



There’s always something new and epicurean on the menu at Virgo Catering. The shop recently began carrying Highwater Deer products: a terrine with hazelnuts, smoked sausage, and médaillons filets perfect for broiling. These delicacies are sometimes featured at the Knowlton Pub’s popular Monday night pasta bar and Sunday brunch, both prepared by chefs extraordinaires Virgo Romano and assistant René Savage.

 Virgo Catering is also the exclusive retail outlet for Brome Lake Wild Boar products, which were out of stock for three weeks. Romano is pleased to report that his shop is now fully stocked with an even larger range of wild boar products than before, including prosciutto, pâté, salami, ground boar, cubed fondu meat, as well as chops and steaks.

Traiteur Virgo Catering, 255 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Call (450) 243-0834



The Knowlton Pub’s menu just got bigger and better thanks to Virgo Romano, who also oversees the Pub’s food services when he is not running Virgo Catering across the parking lot.

 Patrons will find additions like shrimp cocktail, BLT sandwich, calzones, pasta with a choice of Virgo Catering sauces, brochettes, and even an Ace Burger (with BBQ sauce, mushrooms and cheese), a tribute to the well-known local thespian, Jim MacLellan, who goes by the name of Ace. The evening special on Thursday has been changed to a full table d’hôte menu (appetizer, main course and dessert: $12.99) that changes weekly.

Bistro Knowlton Pub, 267 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Call (450) 242-6862


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