I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.
This isn’t a recent find, but it is one of my favourites.
I came across this painting (about 100cm / 50cm, or 3’4″ by 1’8″) in the alley behind my home back when I lived in the Mile-End (and before I ever thought about making a blog about trash).
The painter is “G. Duveyre.” Google search doesn’t find too much about him – not even his first name – but the consensus is that he was Canadian.
I think it’s a great piece of art. It offers a beautiful snapshot into the Canadian winter, that thing that has played such a large role in our history and continues to define us.
This painting portrays rural life before the automobile, or at least before it was practical to use them in winter. Society has become more and more urbanized (due largely to industrialization), but at one point this would have been the experience of the vast majority of Canadians. It’s interesting to think about what life would have been like – the idea of having to make preserves to last you the whole winter, for example. You couldn’t just drive to the grocery store, and you definitely couldn’t buy bananas. Many of the things we take so much for granted today would have been impossible.
This art isn’t in perfect shape. There are a few holes – as if someone put nails through it. There’s also a little tear. None of this is really noticeable, however.
It now hangs from my wall in my room. It’ll remind to be thankful for my relatively easy life and the easy-going warmth of summer.
I made a early morning run to Hochelaga but didn’t find much. This furniture was set in front of a storage facility on Ontario. It looked fine – if you think people put good stuff on the curb you should see what ends up in the trash at storage facilities!
Fortunately I should have a first hand account of this when I work a temp job at the end of April. Hopefully I find some good stuff to show you!
I came across this mess as I was biking home.
Inside were these dumbbells. They probably weigh about 2-3 pounds each.
One of these boxes contained a modern laptop that had definitely seen better days. It was missing some keys and the battery and the screen was cracked. Still, I figure the guys at the used computer shop at the end of the street could get some parts off of it and recycle the rest properly.
I found this ceramic head in another pile of trash that looked like the remnants of a move. I thought it would be funny to put the head somewhere random. I’ve sure some people enjoyed it (or maybe just found it creepy!).
More remains from a move.
I brought home this computer (in the foreground of the picture above). It looks great but I can’t test it fully without a monitor. It turns on though, and that’s always a good sign! It’s a Windows XP machine, which is definitely modern enough to use. I’ll let you know if it ends up working.
I also brought home this karaoke machine. It works fine! Well, it’s a bit quirky sometimes (sometime the CD doesn’t seem to want to play) but the microphone works great. My room-mate thinks it’ll be useful for making music.
I’ll see if the CD player quirkiness (it works sometimes, and then not others) is easily fixed. Either way it’s already been a lot of fun!
Inside this art carrying case were some cool posters, probably from someone’s CEGEP (college) days. The dates on them were from the 1970s, which totally makes sense considering the style.
A bag of books not too far from the posters.
I left a few things, most of which I had found earlier with the head, in a phone booth on Papineau. I think of phone booths a bit like “Give Boxes.” I hope someone can use this stuff.
On my way home I came across this lamp. I brought it home and it worked. My friend was asking for one, so I hope she likes this one!
I’m trying to find a good home for my big U-Matic VTR. I found a tape for it, but when I put it in it stuck and doesn’t want to come back out. It might be an easy fix for someone.
It’s the first thing I put on Craiglist for free and got no replies. It’s pretty niche, though, and a lot of people don’t even know what U-Matic is. It also weighs like 70 pounds, so walking with it isn’t super appealing.
Search “VTR” or “U-Matic” at the bottom of the page to find the post about it.
I was pretty busy today. I left for Rosemont at 7:45 and felt pretty energetic. I ended up discovering that trash day extended much further East than I thought. I explored a bit and ended up at rue St. Michel, which is the furthest East I’ve ever gone for trash.
I got home around 11:30, which meant I was out for close to four hours. I went the police station to get more information regarding my jewelry and made it out for a run through the Plateau / Mile-End.
Overall I didn’t find anything that’ll blow your socks off but I definitely salvaged a bunch of good stuff and got a lot of exercise to boot.
The first thing I came across were two of those comfortable portable chairs. I brought them with me and put them in a donation box.
I came across this sad looking teddy bear on St Zotique. I was about to leave it behind, but was feeling kind of sentimental (maybe because it looked so sad!). It was too big to bring with me even for a short time, so I brought it into the alley and placed it where someone else finds might find it.
I found this painting in the pile above. I was about to leave it but decided to bring it home. I’m a sucker for hand-painted art and I appreciated the artist’s style. I’m not sure what the men are building though… any ideas?
It was a bit dirty under the glass but I was able to clean it up. I think I’ll replace the cardboard border.
Inside these boxes (sealed boxes are always worth checking!) I recovered some playing cards, a book about pendulums (with an attached pendulum), and a kids’s life-jacket (that looked to be in good condition). There were also a lot of bottles that were likely used for wine-making. I deposited the life jacket in another charity box. Rosemont seems to have more charity boxes than the other neighbourhoods I go to, which is convenient.
This haphazardly-placed trash contained some tools, screws and other hardware-related things. There was a plastic bag full of forks and knives as well. That’s not too exciting, but three of them were nice old silver plate (“Revelation”) forks. I love silver cutlery and happily added them to my collection.
I dropped off the tools, fuels, forks, knives and whatever at the “Give Box” on St Viateur. These are boxes built around the city where people can leave things they want to give away. More of these pop up when the summer comes and I’ll definitely put them to good use. They give me a place to put stuff I don’t need but also don’t want to go to waste.
I came across this garbage a little before I arrived at the Give Box. I dropped off a few things at the Give Box, but took some home.
Inside these bags were six toners for printers. Some of the boxes were open, but all the toners looks to be unused. Toner is expensive and I’d say I found maybe 100$ worth of it here.
I also found this strange “Sport-Elec” device. It looks like something for stimulating muscles with electricity? I don’t really understand. It looks pretty much unused, despite a receipt inside that said it was bought for about 200 Euros. The charger was European, so it was definitely from overseas. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this thing – it seems like it could be worth money if it works, but it’s also sort of a weird thing to sell and I’d have to find a converter to test it with.
These were the fruits of my run to Rosemont / St Michel: silver forks, a medallion, a calculator, something for steaming veggies, a sterling silver bracelet I found near the flea market, and a little toy car, all inside a cast iron pot that I’ve promised to a friend. I’ll probably end up keeping only the silver and the veggie steamer.
I found this stereo receiver later in the day. It worked at first, but when I came back to it later it no longer wanted to turn on. I may have blew a fuse or something. I’ll take a look inside later to see what’s the matter. I was hoping it would work, as it’s a useful for tested other audio equipment I might find. Also, if it does work it sells for about 100$ on Ebay.
Regarding the jewelry: I went to the police station and they gave me a number to call in one month to see how the (investigation?) is going. However, the officers didn’t seem to be very optimistic about the likelihood of me getting the jewelry back.
A consistent theme I’ve noticed is that the police seem confused about who actually owns garbage. The original officers were pretty bewildered and the ones I talked to today seemed to believe that I am not the actual “owner” of the garbage. However, why am I not? If I don’t, who does own them?
Interesting questions, and I’m going to try to figure out the best course of action in the coming days.
Here’s a picture of the artist’s signature for those who are curious! It’s hard to make out.