By nature, we are curious people.
We see something we’ve never seen, or don’t see often—or have only heard of it and have been searching for a long time to find it—and we can’t help but satiate that curiosity for oddities.
Polly Hatter has had a love for curiosities for a long time—as long as he remembers, in fact. But he’s not just curious about any conventional oddity if such a thing even exists, but for the truly bizarre and even macabre. And his love for collecting eventually led him to open The Queen Majesty on Main Street, downtown.
It’s all about perception, really. One person might find a collection of old stamps are a curious oddity, while another might be interested in a collection of old, even ancient coins (held in the hands of cultures of old), but Polly is interested in things he finds truly odd by conventional standards.
Dead lizards in bottles.
A little bit more on the macabre side of things.
And this has been what has pushed him to collect these oddities over the years, building up one collection until something else caught his eye and repeating the process.
“I’ve always been a collector since I was a young,” Polly said. “But my collections have changed over the years—If I get bored of something, I’ll get rid of my collection and start from scratch.”
For him, it’s been more about the hunt for pieces, looking for the next item to complete the collection; travelling far and wide to different places and shows and seeing, barely hidden that one last collectable.
And while he’s had many favourites over the years, currently, Polly has favoured the human skull on display in the Queen Majesty, found from an old medical collection.
“A few years ago, to get a human skull it was pretty hard,” he explained. “But now it’s more flooded, but not quite around here. Right now we’re looking at obtaining some skeletons; those would be coming from a medical collection as well.”
But Polly hasn’t been alone in his love for collection in town. When he jumped on the opportunity to open The Queen Majesty, his haven for the unique and collectable, people dealing in oddities started signing up and filling the displays with an imaginative variety of items.
“We got this place started mid-December and had about two or three weeks of planning before that,” he said, explaining how it was a spur of the moment based on a long-waiting passion. “I’ve been looking at this location for about a year. When the papers went up in the windows I ran across the street. If the place hadn’t become available, I think we would have jumped on it as fast as we did.”
And it was really in the community support that Polly became overwhelmed by the interest in what The Queen Majesty offered.
“What makes this store last is it’s just not us,” Polly explained. “We have over a dozen vendors now. Each has their own particular collection we showcase, whatever it may be. I deal with the odder side of stuff. The one thing we had to have was the help from other vendors, the community, and others outside the community. If it was just one thing it wasn’t going to last.”
And while he has collected all his life, from hockey cards to Nazi paraphernalia, to religious antiques, and many more, his own collections have taken a bit of a break for now.
“My collections have kind of taken by the wayside,” he said. “Right now I’m mostly looking at all the neat things that come through The Queen Majesty. There are times where I’ll come in and within a day things will come and go and I enjoy making my way around trying to see what’s missing and what’s new.”