The unfailing barometer


I came across this little box full of records on my Thursday evening trash run. It was my only real find of the evening.


I picked out the ones I thought I could most likely sell at a yard sale. There’s some good stuff here, including MJ, The Police, Scorpions, The Cars, and the soundtrack to the movie “Shaft” (Isaac Hayes). They’re all in reasonable shape so I shouldn’t have any problem selling them.


I woke up early this morning and biked up to Villeray in celebration of their Friday morning trash day. I noticed this box marked “yard sale” and took a peek inside. There wasn’t much that I wanted, though I did take a pair of prescription glasses that could probably be donated to charity.

I posted this picture primarily to inform you fellow trash-pickers of a tip that I’m not sure I mentioned before: people who have yard sales frequently throw out the stuff that doesn’t sell on the next trash day. This is especially true if it’s a “we’re moving soon” kind of sale. If you’re looking for free housewares, books or whatever (or just want to save good stuff from the landfill) this idea’s for you.


Have you ever wondered what the inside of those massive rear-projection TVs looks like? Well, here it is. I was certain there was a second series of lights in the back, but I later realized there was actually a mirror there which made me feel a bit silly. I ended up taking a couple of the things that look like lights on the bottom, which are in fact pretty decent magnifying glasses.

So, the lesson here is that if you’re stuck in the woods and come across an old rear-projection TV, you can break it open and use the magnifiers inside to start a fire. Bear Grylls probably did this at some point.


Overall there wasn’t much to write home about in Villeray. I decided to stop for a coffee and a piece of Baklava at a newly-opened Patisserie on Villeray (the road) which gave me a pleasant boost of energy. I had left relatively early (around 6:40) so, reinvigorated by caffeine and sugar, I decided I had the time to check out the eastern part of Rosemont, which is my secondary Friday morning route. It includes streets like Dandurand, Masson, Holt, and Laurier between De Lorimier and St Michel.

I came across this collection of stuff somewhere in the middle of the mess of streets I just mentioned.


These snowshoes, made by Canadian Lacrosse Mfg Ltd, were poking out of one of the bags. I looked online and found a patent, filed in 1969 by this company for this snow-shoe. They say it’s much lighter than a traditional snow shoe which from what I can tell appears to be a valid claim. I’ll probably hang onto these, I like their compact size and they could be useful for life in the Canadian winter.


I also found this old envelope, which seemed somewhat out of place in a box otherwise full of miscellaneous junk. The envelope was sent from Pakistan in the late 1940s or early 1950s judging based on the stamps used. The postmark reads Chittagong, which is a major city and seaport in Bangladesh.

It’s addressed to a “Mr Shaw, Engineer Bridges, C.P.R. [Canadian Pacific Railway], Montreal,
Canada”. If anyone knows where “Engineer Bridges” would have been I’d like to know!

I did a bit of research and found an article in the 1946 Gazette quoting a Mr A.C. Shaw of the C.P.R. in a discussion about the boom of rail tourism from the US, among other things. He’s almost certainly the guy this letter was addressed to.

The title of this blog post comes from that article. They claim that railway ticket sales are an “unfailing barometer” of how well the economy is doing.

This envelope likely isn’t particularly valuable but it’s definitely a cool piece of ephemera. I might be able to get 50 cents for it at a yard sale. I could get a bit more selling online, but it’s not really worth my time even if I make an extra few dollars.

I hope to find some more cool stuff my Friday evening run. If I do I’ll let you know!

5 thoughts on “The unfailing barometer”

  1. Fun post!

    I agree with Michelle; the letter looks to be addressed to two individuals. It’s wonderful how so little information could get mail to its destination back in the day. I daresay that wouldn’t be the case today.

  2. The vinyl records you found are very good.You will easily be able to sell Shaft,The Cars and Michael Jackson.Percy Faith was a very popular orchestra leader.His instrumental song,Theme from A Summer Place(a movie with the same title) from 1960 plays in ice skating rinks all the time even .My father listens to it ;I have the song on a cassette tape .You can surely get a lot of money for Michael Jackson’s BAD.I have seen BAD on vinyl for sale at $10 or more in some places.Joe Dassin is a superstar among francophone listeners.I have Joe Dassin’s hits on CD.You should be able to sell Joe Dassin and The Police on vinyl easily too.

  3. another tip besides post garage sale,

    take a look post move, I notice moving trucks, then check in in the alley behind,
    people lighten their load before moving

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