Jo Ghost

Today proved that spring has not quite sprung. Biking around was slightly uncomfortable again. I figure one more week and we’ll be seeing consistently high temperatures, and then real “spring cleaning” will begin and garbage hunting will be awesome.


On Tuesday I came across this pile of stuff outside of a big apartment building on Papineau. I talked to the intendant and he said that it was all from an older tenant who moved out, likely to a retirement home of sorts. I didn’t find much – a lamp (which I still have stashed away), a nice glass and a glass container – but there was some nice furniture. The table top leaning against the back was a nice vintage piece. I saw someone checking it out and I helped him find all the pieces for it (which the intendant had helped me find; he was a cool guy). I would have liked it, but I was far from home and on a bike. I’m just glad someone else got it.

I saw the guy come back as I was leaving, so I hope he took home some of the other furniture too. There was a nice set of drawers and four matching dining room chairs.


I’m not sure this nice vintage set of drawers (in an alley behind Rachel) was as lucky. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with them. I found a 50 cent Euro piece in the top drawer.


Back to today. I saw this leather couch in an alley next to Parc behind a used / vintage furniture store between Villeneuve and St Joseph. I talked to the owner once and he said he always had too much stuff, which I could tell just by looking at the store. Regardless, that means that this couch was likely fine. It wasn’t in perfect shape, but definitely good enough to use (especially for students). You can always throw a blanket over it or something.

I was going to put a curb alert out for it but forgot. I think I’ll add this location to my dumpster diving map though!


I found this in an alley going adjacent to St-Denis. It’s funny how after living here and doing this so often there are still spots I’ve never bothered to check out; this was one of those.

There was some odds and ends in the bags. Some kitchen stuff, a pillow, and a bent up “for sale” sign that indicated that someone might have sold their place.


I scavenged some kitchen stuff. The stainless steel pot is nice, even if one of the handles isn’t in perfect shape, and I’ll probably give it away as I don’t really need it. There were a lot of knives, none of which are particularly special or sharp. If anyone in Montreal wants this stuff let me know! If not I’ll put it on Craigslist in a couple of days.


There were a few modern-looking silverplate kitchen utensils. The hinges are a bit loose on the tongs but they’re definitely still usable. One of them is marked “zinc alloy silver” and also “silverplate” which seems like a contradiction; zinc alloy can refer to nickel silver, which is a silver plate impostor probably made up by some alchemist.


I spotted these funky looking shoes in this trash can not far from the furniture store. I took them because I never saw a shoe that pointy before, and because my instincts told me they were of good quality.

jo ghost shoes

They’re Jo Ghosts, which seem to be a pretty expensive shoe if Ebay is to be believed. That means my eye for value is getting pretty good! They have a bit of wear but I don’t think it’s anything a little shoe polishing can’t fix.

They actually fit me pretty well. Not sure they’re my style, but it might work if I wear a funky suit to go along with it. We’ll see! If not I may see if I can sell them on Ebay. It’s definitely harder to sell them used, but not impossible.

16 thoughts on “Jo Ghost”

  1. I follow your blog regularly and live in the north of you.I am happy that you are finding less good stuff in the garbage since February,except for the money in envelopes that you found with the construction trash a few weeks ago and the great pieces of jewelry you found in a Rosemount recycling bin.It shows our very throwaway society takes a small break from discarding stuff from late January to late March.My father lived old,immigrated to Canada very poor and used to accumulate discarded furniture from the streets in the 1970s,1980s and 1990s,repair it and sell it at a nominal price to the poor in garage sales.In those days there was no Craigslist or Kijiji in those days.He also used to accumulate beer bottles and soft drink cans that he would find in parks and on the street.He would recycle them for money.This inspite of the fact that he had a good full-time job as a baker.He became much richer than other people who worked similar jobs as bakers.To this day,I admire people who scavenge and repair things.

    1. I got the scavenging part down, but my repair skills aren’t well developed. I hope to learn a bit more about this skill, in the meantime I try to give things away to people who already know how. I think relearning the lost art of repair is crucial to reducing waste and improving the environment.

  2. I just want to tell you that you may find a lot of hidden treasures discarded in those big blue recycling bins with lids and wheels outside apartment complexes than in plastic garbage bags on the street.Because those big green plastic bins and blue plastic recycling bins are so tall ,you cannot even know what is at their bottom.The lid covers up the contents,you have to lift up the lid,shake contents and scan quickly.When people move from apartment buildings,they can throw out valuable insignia,comic books,novels,art,etc without other passers-by even seeing them because of the lid blocking the view.Check those plastic bins more frequently.

    1. Good tip. I have been making a note to check these more often. I’ve rummaged some of my best jewellery from those!

  3. Hi,congratulations for finding actual money in the garbage.You are very observant.I clicked on your blog two weeks ago and I notice that today you have 344 followers or subscribers to your blog,which is up significantly.As a result you can charge more for ads on your blog.Your blog is being noticed by many.Just a note;if you find audio music cassettes or vinyl records abandoned in the garbage,please rescue them.I find listening to the ipod tiresome at times,and do listen to vinyl and cassettes at home.Many people still listen to cassettes and CDs,even though the 20-something crowd pretends that only ipods exist for music.There is a big market for analog music out there.Keep this in mind.

    1. There’s definitely an increased following. People seem to be liking it. I don’t make any money on ads (any ones you see are put there by WordPress), but it’s something to consider for the future. I’d likely only promote “green” or products that I personally like.

  4. I checked your blog after a friend told me about it.It is a wonderful blog.To let you know,I lived in New York City for one year before coming back to Montreal.I find New Yorkers,Bostonians and Americans throw out even greater quantities of reusable stuff in the garbage than Montrealers.But there are exceptions,

  5. I was raised in St.Lambert on the South Shore.Now I live in Villeray.I wonder how many people go around scavenging and saving valuable stuff from the trash on the South Shore,on the West Island and in Laval?There the distance between the houses is often vast.Any idea?

    1. I doubt as many people do this sort of thing there. It’s just not as economical. Population density in the core of Montreal is pretty high, so when I go trash picking in the Plateau (for example) I’m seeing the trash of maybe 50 thousand people, while it would take much more effort to do the same in those areas. I expect there’s people with trucks who drive around collecting scrap metal, but not too many dedicated “trash pickers” like me

  6. I always carry a pocket knife with me to reclaim the leather from dumped leather couches… even the most beat up couch can yield a nice pile of vintage leather, great for recovering chairs and making other things like bags….

  7. Those shoes are crazy, but in a subtle way. You could totally wear those around! If you don’t want to though, Rob wants to know what size they are.

    1. I’m not sure if they’re my style or not. I’m leaning towards no right now so I may be down for giving them away! I’m a size 11 and they fit nicely, but you may be able to fit a 12 in there.

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