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When la Cité became la Ville


My yesterday evening trash run was a good one. I first came across this bunch of trash in front of a house with a “for rent” sign in the window. From it I saved a few random knick-knacks, a frisbee, and a couple of X-BOX 360 games.

I also found these necklaces hanging from a clothes hanger. I was a bit excited to see the second from the left as the clasp had a silver mark on it, however when I got home I realized that someone had just soldered parts of a silver chain to the base. Still, these are all nice pieces which should sell at my yard sale.

I should mention that the (much discussed) yard sale is currently scheduled for this Saturday. It’ll feature “garbage finds” but my room-mates will also have some things for sale. The weather is supposed to be nice so I don’t anticipate having to cancel due to that. I’ll let you know for sure before the end of the week!

My best finds though came from this place. When I got there the bags were already ripped apart, revealing a treasure trove of ephemera, random tools, bric-a-brac and collectibles. I spent the hour or so before the truck came almost frantically looking through as much as possible, knowing that my time to explore this stuff was quite limited. I could definitely have spent a lot longer picking through this stuff and I’m sure many valuables ended up being trashed.

Inevitably, the garbage truck came by (much like death and taxes) and took all the “garbage” away. I felt bad about the mess created by whoever was there earlier and I helped the worker load up the truck. Quite the role change!

Most of the items came from the late 60s to early 90s. Word on the street is that the person who once owned this stuff disappeared around twenty years ago. I met a couple of pickers here, one guy found an old voltmeter and another found a few vintage straight razors. I must say I was jealous of the razors, I’ve been hoping to find one for a while now! One of the guys commented that he thought whoever owned trash was a bit like him in that he knew how to fix anything. Indeed, the diverse range of things I saw would indicate some sort of jack of all trades. I think he may have been a professional photographer at some point as I recovered some very repetitious photos and slides.

Finding a big pile like this and knowing you don’t have the time to see it all before the truck comes is actually more stressful than fun. If I had gotten there a bit earlier I would have been able to enjoy the process a bit more (and maybe find those straight razors!). Still, I did manage to save a fair bit. It would have been nice to have the bike trailer, though on the other hand it would have slowed me down a bit and I would have gotten there even later.

Most of what I saved was ephemera. I’ll do another post featuring that kind of stuff. For now I’ll show you the curiosities and collectibles.

This little Expo 67 handbag might have been my favourite find. It was a bit dirty when I found it but it cleaned up pretty nice. It’s copyrighted 1963 so I’m thinking this was made before the actual fair. This kind of thing is fairly collectible. However, I’m not in a rush to sell, it might be useful for me to store stuff in.

I like this old tin as well. It was made to hold caramel butter made by the Montreal-based (and now defunct) Ernest Carriere Inc. How old do you think it is? I would guess that it’s from the late 1950s.

I found three of these McDonald’s “spinner baseball” toys from 1983, back when plastic stuff was still made in the US. One of these sold on Ebay for 8$, believe it or not.

These fountain pen tips are kind of cool because they’re all marked “Government of Canada.” There’s four different types: most are “medium” but there are one each of “red ink” “manifold” and “no. 40.” The “Government of Canada” stamp makes me think that these could have some value.

Last but not least is this sturdy old lamp which was designed to clamp to a desk. It needs a bit of work but I don’t think it’s anything that can’t be fixed. It features a tag marked “Cité de Montréal” which gives you a hint of its age – la Cité became la Ville after 1964. I think the name changed because the word “cité” was more appropriate for the historical city-state than it was for the modern city. I’m not sure though, so let me know if I’m wrong!

One of my fellow pickers told me to bring this lamp to the Gay Village, apparently there are a lot of shops around there that buy this kind of thing. I may just cut out the middle-man and try to sell it myself, though.

I’ll show you some more of what I found in the coming days. In the meantime, I’ve got to do some cooking and cleaning to do!

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