Seinen Bergen


Friday was another quiet day in what was a mostly slow week. I biked around 4 to 5 hours and the only things of note that I found were in this pile a few streets east of St Michel. The trash had the smell of mildew but there was a suitcase which contained some decent stuff.


Inside was a functional camera tripod – the fourth I found this summer. This one, a Whitehall Travelite, is the oldest (1960s) of the bunch I’ve found thus far. I have to decide whether I’d rather keep this one or the other, more modern one I found a while back. This one is pretty sturdy, that’s for sure, but the other one is lighter. Either way I can probably sell one for the other for around 15-20$.


There was also this little slide projector. I tested it out and it works fine, even the bulb is good. It gets super hot but I’m think that’s normal. I have another slide projector so I might just sell this one at a yard sale.


Last but not least was this brass vase featuring some nice decorative stones. Nothing too crazy, but maybe worth 2$ at a yard sale.

Here’s the last piece of ephemera I wanted to show you from my trip to TMR…


It doesn’t really match the rest of what I found. I knew something was up when I saw the name of Alfred Rosenberg on the stamp at the top of the page. It’s an old 1938 Nazi publication entitled “Hitler in Seinen Bergen,” which translates to “Hitler in his Mountains.” It’s 1938 date mean it came out not long before the beginning of the Second World War. It’s unfortunately missing the front cover and as a result is likely worth only around 15-20$ or so.

Still, this is a very interesting thing to look at. There’s a few pages of writing at the beginning but otherwise this book is mostly captioned pictures of Hitler. The photos are pretty casual shots, not dissimilar to the ones that we see in political “photo ops” today: Hitler playing with children, looking fun, looking thoughtful and decisive, looking fit, and so on.

My friend put it well when she talked about the conflict that seeing these photos caused within her. Her normal reaction to old black of white photos of this kind is nostalgia, but the knowledge that the subject is one of history’s greatest monsters understandably complexifies that feeling. While the photographs are obviously staged on the most part, they also show Hitler as being just another human, a charming one at that. That doesn’t change what he did, but this book and its pictures offers a very interesting look at one of the most destructive figures of the 20th century while providing insights as to the ways politicians go about creating their “image.”

Given that the weather is so beautiful I’m planning on having a yard sale tomorrow. I’m not exactly sure where yet but it’ll be somewhere in the Mile End. If you’re interested in coming send me an email at and I’ll let you know the location!

Les choses vieux


It’s been an odd week. I lost my camera on Monday, I think it slipped out of my jacket pocket while exploring the Mile End. My bike is also out of commission with some serious issues that have proven challenging to fix.

I borrowed replacements from my friends but I miss my old tools. The camera was solid if unexceptional but I had learned how to use it pretty well. The bike is a bit harder to replace. I borrowed one from a friend but it’s a bit too small, pretty uncomfortable and my god is it slow! There’s also no milk crate container on the back. I have to focus on either fixing my bike or buying a new one in the coming days.

On Wednesday morning I went out with a couple of friends and their car to the Town of Mount Royal. They needed some furniture and I suggested we check out TMR, seeing as the population is fairly wealthy and the streets are fairly “driver friendly”. They did get some furniture, including a couple of chairs, one of which was a nice (if worn) 60s orange armchair.

While we were looking at the trash in the pile above the owner of the home, an older woman maybe late 50s or early 60s came out and asked us what we were looking for. She was mostly worried about potential identity theft. Once we convinced her that was not our interest – I told her I mostly like “les choses vieux” and showed her the things we actually took – she was fine.

I’m not sure why exactly she was throwing out one of the better ephemera (old paper memorabilia) hauls I’ve seen in my career as a professional garbage picker, but here it is for you to see!



Not all of it was ephemera. My friends got a box full of picture frames, which was something they had hoped to find. I got this old wooden box, apparently made to hold seeds from a D.M. Ferry Co. The display inserts that came with the box are long gone but the box is still quite beautiful. It’s very old as well, it was patented in 1906. I think I’ll keep this myself, it’ll be great for holding baubles and jewelry.


I also found this cool vintage “Diana” air gun. It’s definitely missing pieces but would still make a good prop!


Now for some ephemera. Here’s a few old papers, the oldest of which is dated July 21st 1969 – the day after the moon landing. 1969 was also the first season for the Montreal Expos baseball team. I think the unifying concept of these papers might be that they talk about the Expos.



There was a nice collection of postcards, most of which I think date back to the 50s. I found a couple which were written on (which I gave to my friend) that were postmarked 1953. The images are oddly colourized but quite beautiful. You can see a good example above.


This is a batch of bullfighting ephemera. Whoever owned this attended bullfights at a place in Tijuana. I have three pairs of tickets, four schedules, a small pictorial book on the best bullfighters of all time, and two magazines, all of which was printed in 1958.

I think this stuff is pretty cool. I’ve never found anything bullfighting-related before! I can’t do it justice with just one photo, perhaps I’ll upload more at a later point. It’s all very complete and in excellent condition, a theme which continues below.



Whoever collected these papers also attended a lot of events in Montreal. These are all pamphlets from shows by fairly famous performers, including Harry Belafonte and Maurice Chevalier. A few of these pamphlets are almost like short books detailing the lives of the artists, I imagine these might have been for sale as souvenirs at the concert. Many of the shows took place at Plateau Hall, now called Salle Jean-Deslauriers which sits in the centre of Parc Lafontaine.

I know Maurice Chevalier by name but I don’t know any of his work. Feel free to suggest a tune to listen to!

These are all in remarkably good condition.


Many of the pamphlets include newspaper clippings and other show-related memorabilia. It’s pretty impressive how organized and well-kept this all was.


Remember the old photo of the family in front of the “Homeric” cruise ship from my last post? I happened to come across this ad for the same ship in one of the pamphlets. It’s pretty cool to link these things together, it really helps to create a more comprehensive idea of what life was like back in those days.


Some more miscellaneous ephemera, including a guide to the 1958 Santa Barbara Road Races, a few 1958 (a common year it seems) Greek Theatre Magazines, a tourism guide to Haiti, and a pamphlet to a Red Skelton show in Las Vegas.

I have one other very interesting thing to show you from this collection. The photos didn’t turn out as I had hoped and I don’t have the piece on-hand so it’ll have to wait for another post!


Yep, other than all that it’s been a quiet week, though I did find this cool old bottle amongst some rubbish on Tuesday. It carries the name of a United Radio Stores Ltd. The contours look art deco-y, so my guess is that it’s from around the 30s or 40s. It seems to contain some kind of oil.

Tomorrow I head to Villeray in the morning and the Plateau in the evening. I want to take a trip further North in Montreal at some point, but given that my current bike is so slow it seems best to wait until I get my speed back.

Garbage magic


The weather has been warm and sunny, a nice burst of summer weather before the cold comes for good! Thursday morning (Rosemont and some Outremont) was pretty quiet, though a friend who accompanied me made off with some decent kitchen stuff. In the evening I went out hunting in the central section of Rosemont.

Near the end of my route I came across this pile of bags, one of which contained some old travel souvenirs mixed in with some home-made ceramics.


I’d guess these would have been made sometime between the late 60s to maybe the 80s.


My favourite is this little piggy bank. It was made in Korea. It looks sort of vintage, but I couldn’t find any reference to the company (D L C) on the internet. Most likely it’ll make a good yard sale piece.


Also in the bag were four big shells. I often find bags full of old shells that people picked off a beach somewhere but rarely are they this big or nice. Often when I find stuff like this I take them and leave them by a playground or elementary school yard. I figure some kid would think it pretty cool to find a shell on recess, maybe spurring their imagination and an interest in the natural world. I still have these shells, they might make good yard sale pieces, although there’s also an elementary school nearby.


I finished the route and started biking in the direction of the Plateau which also has a Thursday evening pick-up. I decided to take a small detour to check out (yet another) part of Rosemont which has its trash collection on Friday mornings in the off chance that people had put some of their garbage out early. I used to frequent this neighbourhood pretty regularly but it’s kind of far to go from my new place.

I stumbled across this accumulation of bags and boxes somewhere around Masson and 1 Av. I was poking around when an older lady came out and started encouraging me to take stuff. “Prens, prens!” (take it, take it!) she said. Much of it was old fabrics and shoes which had a slight to moderate musty smell to them. It was probably stuff she’d had in the basement for a while.


I took this collection of dolls off her hands. I can’t be sure how old they are, however I’d guess that they were made in the late 60s or early 70s – the girl on the back left has what looks like a “flower child” hairdo. The woman told me she was Ukrainian and that a few of the dolls were Ukrainian as well. She was a pretty nice lady, even helping me finds some of the matching clothes for the dolls!


I stayed up late last night to have some drinks with friends. I thought I’d take the morning off, but when I woke up wide awake at 730 I figured I might as well check out Villeray. I’m glad I did. My finds came from this small pile on Berri near Cremazie.

Part of what I look for while trash hunting is a larger than “average” pile on the curb – this definitely didn’t meet that criteria. I almost biked on by but when I looked back something caught my eye, probably the old piece of tupperware in the clear bag which gave me the feeling that the things inside might not be the usual boring old recycling.


Inside the clear bag was a nice old paper bag, a couple of instruction manuals for old audio equipment and a 1960 pamphlet for RCA all-in-one stereos. It’ll probably make me a couple of bucks at a yard sale.


The best find, however, was in the black bag. Inside was a pretty random assortment of almost-interesting things (a pair of old worn knitted slippers counts as “almost interesting”) as well as a pile of rubble, the kind of stuff you might sweep up off a basement floor. Being thorough I looked under the rubble and found two rolls of black and white negatives, a box of slides and a cardboard box that was just packed with slides.

A man had walked by and saw that I found the negatives. He was pretty excited by them and we started talking a bit. When I pulled the cardboard box out of the bag and opened it, revealing the treasure trove of old slides, he was doubly excited. Garbage is kind of magical sometimes: you dig into a boring black bag, one of our society’s most recognizable symbols of uselessness, the tool with which we get rid of ours undesirables and you pull out a treasure. The house they were in front of was recently sold, according to the sign out front, so I assume the new owners were just throwing out a few things left behind by the previous owners.

Most of the slides are from the late 50s to late 60s. There’s a few from the 70s as well. They seem to be in pretty great condition. Many looks to be tourist shots – I saw some that were definitely from Paris and Venice. There are a few local shots (my preferred vintage photo find) of the aftermath of a 1960s Montreal snowstorm. Who knows how many of these will be interesting, but I think there’ll definitely be some that are photo-blog worthy.

(I haven’t updated my photo blog in a while I know. The problem is that my scanner doesn’t work with my operating system! I also need to make a trip to a local archive were I can convert slides to digital. It’s just a fairly time consuming process).


In the meantime here’s a preview of a few of the slides. I have a slide projector (also found in the trash) so I projected a few of the slides onto the wall and took some pictures. These people are standing in front of a ship called the “Homeric,” a cruise ship which operated in the 50s and 60s.

Below is a 1950s street scene picture. Any help on identifying the building would be appreciated! Chances are it’s reasonably notable building, though it could be anywhere in Europe or North America based on the slides I’ve looked at. Someone with a knowledge of old cars might be able to pinpoint the country. The second photo is a family barbecue photo from the same era, perhaps taken somewhere in Montreal.



I appreciate these kinds of finds. They help me imagine what it’d be like living “back then” and I can share that experience with others (who may or may not have actually lived in those days!). Saving these moments in time from their destruction is a satisfying experience.

I hope to find some more good trash later when I explore another part of Rosemont and the eastern section of the Plateau.