Marlene Cook has been a collector ever since she can remember. Even at the age of fourteen, she’d spend lunch hours and weekends scouring thrift shops for interesting treasures, which she’d stash in vintage wine baskets under her bed. Well before she got her first dog, her attention was captured by antique canine curios, the seminal moment occuring when she came across a tintype photo of a Pit Bull on a chair at an antique sale. She has now amassed more than 2000 photo images of dogs.
This teenage interest in antiquing stayed with Marlene through college and post-graduation gigs at CBC, Global TV, and Citytv as a graphic artist, eventually leading her to start the Toronto, Ontario-based Sunday Antique Market at St. Lawrence, where most of her canine collectibles seen on these pages were found. By this time, Marlene had not one but two dogs, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers Barkley and Sydney, and it was her experiences running the dog-friendly Sunday Antique Market that made her realize how very few places people could go with their dogs.
This spurred her to found Woofstock, North America’s largest outdoor festival for dogs, which made its debut in 2003 in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto. It was instantly clear that Marlene was on to something. Hordes of people and their dogs turned out for the event. It didn’t take long for Woofstock to outgrow its initial venue and the show moved to the historic St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood. Woofstock has now tripled in size, boasting over 200 vendors and a quarter of a million people attending the show every June.
Barkley has passed on, but Sydney, now thirteen and a half, has been joined by one-year-old Wheaten Terrier puppy Addison. Her dogs still fuel plenty of activity for the always dog-inspired Marlene, who continues to add to her vintage dog collection despite the demands of a very busy schedule.
We asked Marlene to share some of the favourites from her amazing collection. Her most treasured pieces are seen in the following link: moderndogmagazine.com/gallery/vintage-dog-gallery