Cowboys and Indians


This is my first post in a week! I’ve been doing the old trash picking but haven’t felt the creative spark to create a new post. I haven’t found anything particularly mind blowing where I have-to-tell-you-about-this-right-away either.

July 1st, Montreal’s big moving day, is approaching and there’s going to be a lot of trash on the streets. There’ll be far too much for me to take (especially when it comes to housewares) so I encourage all the Montrealers et Montréalais to keep their eyes out for good stuff on the curb. Use some of my tips under the “About” section if you want advice.

Since I found that cool stuff in VSL I’ve been a bit more focused on exploring new neighborhoods. I took a night trip to Ahuntsic (didn’t find much, though) and made a little list of new places I could check out. I may check out Viauville, which is a part of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve this evening for a change of pace from my usual tour of the Plateau. If anyone knows of trash days on Monday or Thursday evenings (where the trash is picked up after 7pm) that aren’t the Plateau/Mile-End let me know. That area has produced a lot of great finds but it’s been dry of late. I feel like taking a little vacation from the place I’ve explored the most in my life in Montreal.

Last night I went to Villeray but didn’t come up with much. I pulled this big case of coloring pencils, pastels, and crayons out of a bag with other kids stuff on des Belges (Belgians) near Cremazie. I left it in this safe spot next to an apartment complex on Cremazie in hopes that someone with a family might find it. Most of these pencils were never used.


I also found this ring in among a bunch of tools set out in a box on the curb. Oddly it’s marked as being made of brass, and doing a bit of research I discovered that some wedding bands were made of brass back in the day as a cheaper (working-class) alternative to gold or silver. I like how humble this ring is. It fits well on my pinkie finger so I may keep it for myself.


On Tuesday evening I came across these boxes somewhere between Laurier and St Gregoire. Inside were old toys and schoolbooks which someone who lived nearby told me belonged to her landlord.



There were a couple of comic books dating from the 50s and 60s as well as a kids book about Jean-Marie de la Mennais published in 1945. They’re in pretty good condition, particularly the book on Mennais which is in impeccable shape.


My mom has a clacker toy similar to this one. All you do is press the little metal tab on the bottom (see pic below) and it makes a sound sort of like a metallic hiccup or a robo-cricket. Toys back in those days were way simpler eh? If anyone knows when these things were popular or common let us know!



Here’s an old poster featuring all kinds of space stuff. I figure it dates to the 50s or 60s. It’s not in perfect shape but it’s definitely cool. I’m sure I’ll find a buyer for 50c at a yard sale.


An old Tonka truck. You know it’s old because it’s made of some kind of metal, possibly tin.


Last but not least is this “Texas Kid” toy for aspiring cowboys of the Wild West. I imagine it’s been many years since this toy’s last game of “Cowboys and Indians,” though that’s probably for the best anyways.

I sold some commemorative tokens from a 1970s Shell Oil promotion on Ebay last night for 29$ and a wood plane for 20$, raising my monthly profits as of right now to about 80$ (which includes the change I found and a couple of odds and ends).

Not much I know, but I have some Ebay auctions ending soon. The auction for the St John’s Ambulance medals I found ends later today. Bidding is up to about 56$, which is more than I was expecting. There’s about 7 more hours left on the auction and I hope a few more people make a bid. I also have other things that might sell for a decent profit, including the WWI dog tags and the DVCAM unit. Feel free what I have on Ebay by clicking here.

I’m also wayyy past due for a yard sale, perhaps this weekend if the weather permits! My room is quite orderly but my storage is a complete mess.

6 thoughts on “Cowboys and Indians”

  1. “Tonka” is apparently a Lakota word. It’s not that old, I had one in the sixties. I think it’s too solid for tin.

    I don’t know why clickers were around, but they just seemed to be there even 45 years ago. Noteworthy, they appear in “The Longest Day”, I don’t know if a fact from WWIi or some movie addition. They get used to identify friend or foe, once on land on D-Day. One click, and if you get 2 clicks back, it’s friend.

    Stores often close or move at the end of the month. One July 1st I found a box of 500 envelopes, the business name printed on them. It was easy to cover the address with labels, and I’m still using them. The envelopes another time with windows weren’t as useful.

    Last July 1st I came across a bookstore that closed, lots of people checking the books, I retrieved an LCD monitor and some office stuff.

    About two years ago I came upon a lot of file boxes, useful in themselves. But they were filled with huge manilla envelopes, bigger than 8.5×11. Discarded because they had a return address, they were certainly useful for sorting papers.

    The biggest assortment will be July 1st and the day before and after, but any time now there is likely to be advanced discards.


  2. That type of tin “Made in Japan” clicker toy were often packed in boxes of Cracker Jacks (toys have been put in Cracker Jack boxes since 1912). The older Cracker Jack boxes and the toy “prizes” have become quite collectible. I think these clickers can be dated ca. 1950s/1960s. See & & & Yours clicker seems to be a promo for a business. I saw a number of promo clickers on ebay. Tin clickers could be worth anywhere from $9 to $25 in good condition.

    That’s a nice set of toy cowboy guns with the holster. The gun handles with the bull’s head look like this one Is there any maker’s name on your set? Are they cap guns?

    That is a very nice brass ring. Here’s some info on how to care for it:

  3. Thursday morning is recycling/garbage pickup day in Western St.Henri from De Courcelle Street on and westward.Friday morning is recycling/garbage pickup day in Cote St.Paul/Ville Émard ,an area that stretches from Jolicoeur to Angrignon metro.Le Caron and Champigny street fall in Cote St.Paul.I hope you can use this information when looking for new places to check out the trash.

  4. You are a victim of your own success,Martin.You are smart and articulate—you have encouraged many students and others to search the trash in the Plateau/Mile End era.You have more competitors in that borough plus some people are throwing out less.You are going through quite a dry stretch,despite the brilliant find of military medals in Ville St.Laurent.That is why you should seek fresher pastures where fewer people scavenge.Even the northern reaches of Ville Marie borough,the big downtown borough might be interesting.Avenue de Musée,Redpath,Simpson,Seaforth,Summerhill,Selkirk ,etc are all in downtown Ville Marie just out of Westmount.Try also northern Rosemont,Montreal North and Ahuntsic as well as student-rich Cote Des Neiges.You may have taken a night trip to Ahuntsic,but Ahuntsic is too vast to cover in one trip.Ahuntsic/Cartierville has a population of over 1,00,000.

    1. You may be right. I think part of it is random chance but I’m sure other are a bit more inspired to trash pick now especially in the Plateau. I did some hunting our by Viauville the other day, didn’t come up with much though.

      1. The flip side is that it actually is nice outside now, and there are a lot more people who will look sometimes when it’s nice than people who actually do this all the time.

        For that matter, with nice weather, obvious things (ie not in bags) may be found just by people passing by. Last June, I was rushing to a show at the Fringe Festival, going in an area I wouldn’t normally look, and I spotted a DVD player on a pile of garbage. And I did stop and decide to grab it, though not taking time to look for the remote. A previous year, there was a walking tour and I paused to pick up two halogen lamps. If people are out because of the nice weather, because of the outdoor events, they may see stuff that’s easy to grab, and do so.

        I never know “what’s a good haul”. I’m just looking for things that interest me, I stop when I’ve gone far or am tired, I just go down streets at random. If I dont’ find something, it may mean someone was there before me, but it also may mean nobody tossed something good. It may mean I didn’t go down that street where something would have appeared.

        Next week it will be impossible to not find things, but even then, I don’t need another 3 hole punch, so merely finding things in itself means nothing. Finding interesting things is another matter.

        That said, I do worry about losing things when I see other people out, yet I’ve also had instances of them missing the obvious. It helps that people aren’t always looking for the same things, it also helps that some things aren’t obvious.

        The only time I see other people out looking is in prime time, McGill moving out, July 1st. Well that was that time I came upon some computers on the sidewalk in NDG, and a woman came along to grab some stuff. She didn’t have tools to open up the computers, I did.

        I can’t say I’ve found anything spectacular this spring, but some of that is I’m really hoping to find something specific, and I’m acting accordingly. And not finding it means “not a good day”. But at the same time, it”s been a quiet spring at the garage sales.


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