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.
I took a little walk tonight. It’s recycling night in my neighbourhood but my purpose was to relax after a busy day – I leave the recycling to the can-collectors.
However I found this piece of art laying against some recycling bins put out by the big St-Vincent du Paul on St-Joseph. It’s really big – around 4ft by 4ft – and I think it’s really great. It looks to be woven. I brought it home and I’m thinking I’ll put it up on the wall.
I’m a bit confused as to why it was put out with the recycle.
I also found some old drawing and construction paper in one of the bins. I know people that’ll put this to good use.
This is a flashback to my Tuesday morning. There’s a little section of the East Plateau (at least I think it’s the Plateau) past de Lorimier that has its trash pickup the same time as Hochelaga. I was searching through a garbage bin full of spring-cleaning type stuff and came across this book casually tossed inside.
The spine isn’t in very good shape and there was a bit of gunk on the cover but the actual text is in great condition. The title is “La Palestine, la Syrie et l’Arabie, visitées avec Mgr Valerga.” This Valerga guy was a high ranking Catholic church official it seems, and these were his stories about his travels in the Middle East. It’s dated as being a second edition published in 1886.
I’d be curious as to what he wrote but my French definitely isn’t good enough to understand an old tome like this. Regardless, it’s a pretty interesting find in a otherwise unexciting bunch of trash!
I’ve been busy. I had a lot of energy on Monday night and decided to check out the trash in Villeray (though I didn’t find jack all). On Tuesday morning I woke up early to go to Hochelaga but didn’t find much.
It was raining hard for much of Tuesday but I managed to avoid it on the most part. I came across these bags yesterday evening. They were in the same spot as the first things in my “Generations” post from the 10th. I took this picture after my scavenging so the bags look less full than they were before I got there.
This definitely looked to be the former possessions of an older woman. Inside the bags were mostly trinkets and fabrics. I love trinkets and brought all of the non-busted ones home.
My room-mate took this picture with most of the things together. There were lots of religious artefacts including a few bibles. Everything was very clean and clearly well cared for. I’ll give you some close-ups of some of the most notable items.
A pair of old “Made in Japan” salt and pepper shakers. I think they’re pretty cute.
A tea pot made to look like a conch. I like it a lot – it has a cool vintage look and is a great size for one person. I think I’ll keep it!
This little thing is made to put your pins and needles in and was designed to hang from the wall. It’s pretty adorable. It’s marked as being from Val-David, which is a small town in Quebec known (according to wiki) for it’s arts scene.
A Canadian Centennial Ashtray. There’s a bit of fading on the gold of the flag, but otherwise it’s in great shape.
A gold-toned necklace that will likely fetch me decent money on Etsy.
Some nice old brooches. The 2nd from the left is made by Trifari, a company which has a bit of collectors value.
A couple more salt and pepper shakers. The girls arm has broke off but they’re still beautiful vintage pieces.
A couple more brooches. These ones seem hand-made.
Two wooden carvings with “Jamaica” engraved in the top.
An ashtray bearing the symbols of the Knights of Columbus. The black stuff on the inside seems to clean off.
Finally, a kitschy planter marked as being made by Samson Imports Company in 1958. It’s in amazing condition for it’s age – not even a chip.
I’m happy with my haul of interesting stuff. I was a bit sad though to have to leave behind the fabrics. I’m not even sure what they were exactly but they were clearly saved for a reason. A lot of them had old patterns you just can’t find anymore. I took a couple of knitted blankets but didn’t have room for the rest, though I did stash a bag full of fabrics where I didn’t think it would be picked up. I’ll see when I have time if that worked out.
It’s a reminder that I should look into getting a bike trailer. Even one of those ones made for carrying small kids might do they trick.
I started a short temp job this morning which involved me picking up a rented van in Ville St-Laurent. I did some research last night and found out that Wednesday morning is trash collection day in the Town of Mount Royal (TMR). I’d never trash-picked there before so I decided to plan a route that would let me see some garbage.
There’s definitely some money in TMR but the population density is a lot lower than it is around my neighbourhood. The streets curve a lot more (around my area it’s more of a grid) meaning I can’t see good trash from as far away. A lot more people have trash bins as well. I’m sure there’s some good trash to be found here but it’s more work to find it.
I did manage to find a couple of nice lampshades, a hammer, a puck, a phone and a weird measuring stick thing in the pile above. Any ideas as to what that measuring stick is for? It’s not near me right now, but I think “skirt” is written on it somewhere in a descriptive sense.
I’m going to be busier these next two weeks with the job but I should still have time to get out and find some garbage!
Today was the warmest day of the year so far and a great day for trash picking! I forgot how nice it was to be able to move around easily and not have to wear all kinds of gear just to keep from freezing to death. It’s going to be a good summer.
I found this first pile of trash on de Gaspe. It looked like the trash of a woman who was quite well-to-do, which makes sense as it was near a newer condo development. There were lots of expensive-looking shoes which I took out of the bags and left for others to see. In the few minutes I stood nearby as I prepared to leave I saw a few different people checking them out. Hopefully someone took them!
I took a few things myself. There was a bit of jewelry, including these three watches. I might be able to get a little bit of money for the one on the right – a Nautica that’s supposedly safe to use under 200 metres of water.
Some of this jewelry is sterling silver (the blue earrings in the first picture and the three pieces on the left in the second). Much of the rest is marked “Agatha.” I might be able to get some decent money for a few of these things, particularly the silver ring in the second picture.
This is the same place I found the pillowcase full of jewelry a couple of weeks ago.
Today I found a change-purse with a bunch of rings in it. Some of these are sterling silver as well – I should be able to sell them on my Etsy store. A bunch of them are mostly scrap, being bent-up or missing stones. They smell less like smoke than the other stuff, but I’ll still have to clean them before I can make any sales.
There was also this University of Toronto beer stein. It’s in fantastic shape. It was inside a grocery bag with some other less appealing stuff but it cleaned up great. The bottom indicates that it’s plated with 22k gold and made in Canada. I think it’s an older piece and definitely pretty cool.
I came across a pile of stuff with a few clear bags full of these old “Demolition Derby” papers. They look like feminist literature that came out of late 80s Montreal. I took three of them.
Finally, these bags contained a bunch of spring cleaning casualties. There were old self-recorded VCR tapes, cassettes, 5.25 inch floppies, shoes, clothes, and a few books focussed on learning how to write novels.
The only thing I ended up taking was this enlarged photo of a cat, which is undeniably cute and a seemingly good companion for this dog picture I found here.
I think I found about as much interesting stuff in my afternoon today than I did all last week. Spring cleaning has officially arrived, and I’ll definitely head out tomorrow morning to see what I can find in Hochelaga.