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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.

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