The Sourdough Gang


I got up at 730 this morning and checked out the trash in Park Ex and Villeray. I went back to the place where I found the good stuff on Tuesday in the hopes that there would be more. Alas, no luck today. Still, I did some sorting of the treasures I did find and took some pictures to show you guys. This post will focus mostly on ephemera, or old paper collectibles.

I’ll start though with this cross. I thought the material of the cross looked special and decided to do the hot water bakelite test. It passed that test, giving off that specific formaldehyde smell. Unfortunately though I forgot it for a bit and left it in the water too long, which sort of damaged the submerged area (the bottom). It still looks good but not as perfect and shiny as before, though apparently there are things you can do to polish or buff bakelite. These, in good condition sell for around 30-50$.


These beads, which were stored in this old Q-Tips container, also passed the hot water test for bakelite. They also come with some string for making necklaces. Most of them are different sizes of round but there’s a few odd long ones as well. Maybe I can make some necklaces!


I found this bottle of Legrain “Royale Ambree” Eau de Cologne. It looks fairly old and the brand seems to be kind of collectible, there’s one similar (but not quite as old looking) up on Ebay for 50$.


Here’s some of the ephemera. I thought these old business cards were all quite beautiful. The top three look to be from the early 1900s (the second from the top is marked 1911) while the bottom one is probably later, perhaps the 1950s. I have a little collection of old business cards I’ll likely add these to.


A notepad from a 1930s Toronto-based garage and a promotional notepad for Dy-dee Wash, the “original diaper service” in Chicago. It was made in 1943.


Another one of “Mumsie’s” religious books. I couldn’t find a date but it’s probably from the late 1800s. Inside are lots of little bookmarks, many of which are these great old lithographs.


Old knitting magazines from the 1940s and 1950s. The older ones talk a lot of knitting in wartime.


A nice 1940s unused notepad from an insurance company and another old lithograph (Merry Christmas!).


These playing cards are in excellent shape. I’m not sure exactly how old they are, but the “rules” section has the date 1935 printed on it. That might have just been when the rules were determined, however.


I’ll finish of with a few of my favourite old photos. On the back is written “Rosie Carroll, Mum’s 1st cousin who sent us boxes and boxes of clothes from New York till we were grown up. Thank you Rosie.” The picture, which measures around a foot and a half by a foot, was produced by a Gibson’s Studio in New York.


This one’s captioned “The Captain, George Scott.” It’s a nice, if vaguely blurry colorized image. Judging by the old cars in the background it was probably taken in the 1910s or 1920s.


This tin-type came out of an envelope that was otherwise full of funeral notices. I hadn’t noticed it before and was pretty happy to come across it! I love old tin types. These women seem to be dressed completely in fur. There’s some writing on the back but I can’t make it out. I might be able to read it if I take a photo and do some editing, however.


The last photo is this group shot of the “Seattle Sourdough Club” taken in 1943. I did a little research and couldn’t find any information as to what this Sourdough Club would have done. If anyone has any information let us know! My photo of the photo doesn’t really do its clarity justice, it’s really quite a cool piece.

All that’s really left to sort through now is the massive haul of old, vintage clothes. I’ll show you some pictures at some point!

That’s all for this week, though. I’m taking tonight off, I’ve biked a lot of heavy loads this week and feel I deserve a bit of extra rest.



I braved the cold and the steep hills of Outremont this morning but didn’t come away with much. After going home and relaxing a bit I went to my friends’ on a mission to sort out some of the stuff I have stored in their shed, especially the stuff I found on Tuesday. I focused mostly on the bits, bobs and jewelry.

These are the things that I wanted to keep for myself. The beads in the top box are pretty cool, they look to be made of hand painted dry beans. I took those silver polish mostly for their cool tins. Many of the little boxes and medicine containers are filled with jewelry or beads. There’s also a few different rosaries. I still have some stuff to sort through but here are a few of my favourite finds.


This Narcissus face powder and razor were packed in a little clear bag. The face powder is pretty old, from the 1920s-1930s if what I read is to be believed. It also appears to be unopened. The box is quite beautiful and might be worth a bit, especially with the powder inside. The razor is a “Made in Canada” Gillette marked as being made in 1920. It looks to be in fine shape.


This is a tiny container that once held a free sample of “kiss-proof” lipstick. It was made by Delica Labs Inc of Chicago. The tin is about the diameter of the nickel.


This is a medal from the Congregation Sainte-Anne, a religious institute (or nunnery) up in Vandreuil, now a city off the West Island of Montreal. One of the books I posted about on Tuesday had a note inside about a “Mumsie” who studied at a convent, maybe this was hers. I don’t know much about this medal, so if you happen to have any information about it let us know!


Here’s a few old Bulova watches. Two (the bottom and the left) are wind-ups that seem to work fine. The other is a quartz that needs a new battery, for now I can’t tell if it works. Regardless, the wind-ups should make me a nice chunk of change.


This little jar had a piece of tape glued to it on which was written “Water from Well Nazareth.” It smells like perfume. Either water from Nazareth smells like perfume, someone used an empty perfume bottle to take a water sample but some of the smell stayed, or Water from Well Nazareth is a perfume scent.


Another book with a note telling of its significance. This one reads: “Grandpa’s prize received at the end of the school yr.” The inscription (below) is dated 1890.



Miscellaneous old tins, a couple of cute sewing scissors and some “Made in USA” nail clippers. I like the old tins, the tiny ones are my favourite. The box on the top right is made of stone.


A bit of the jewelry I thought to be notable. The beads seem to be made of carved glass (crystal). The orange-y pendant, according to a pamphlet I found with it, is made of amber resin. The metal on it is silver. The earrings in the middle are sterling silver and made by Bond-Boyd, probably worth around 20-25$. The top earrings have gold clasps. The little white balls attached don’t look special, but they also look like they’ve been hand painted. I scraped a bit of paint off and the metal underneath looks like it could be gold as well. I’m going to try to get the rest of the paint off, maybe using the same technique I used on a holy water font back in the day. If they’re gold it would definitely bump up their value.


These necklaces seemed unique to be and I wondered whether or not they could be made of Bakelite, a collectible vintage plastic that emerged in the early 1900s. I did the hot water test – apparently Bakelite smells like formaldehyde when put under hot water. While the orange necklace on the left smelled fairly normal, the yellow one on the right definitely had a unique funk to it. If it’s indeed Bakelite it would be worth good money, similar looking necklaces on Etsy sell for 80-100$. I’ll need to do more research before I label it as being Bakelite, however.


A few old pins. The one on the top right is sterling silver, made for the Association des Dactylographes (Typographers) du Canada. The one on the bottom is for the “Societe du bon parler francais” (Society of good French speakers), featuring the slogan “parlons mieux” (we talk better) in the middle. I’m not sure what the CIC stands for.


My favourite find though might be these little sewing scissors shaped in the form of a long beaked bird. These are fairly old and also beautifully designed. They have a makers mark on them but I can’t make it out without my magnifying glass handy. I have a bit of thing for bird stuff so I’ll likely keep these for myself!

I’m not sure where I’m going tomorrow morning. If I find something I’ll let you know. Regardless, I’ll probably do a bit more sorting.

The old dusty trail


I went out to the Town of Mount Royal this morning and came back with a massive load. I left around 730 and got back totally exhausted by noon, breaking only to drop off some of my haul at my friends’ house. My first finds came from this garbage can.


Here we have a few helmets, a pair of diving flippers, and a pair of rollerblades. I’m most happy about the “Bell” brand red bike helmet in the middle. My bike helmet disappeared a while back, this one fits me great and looks mostly unused.


Later on I came across this familiar pile in front of a recently sold house. It’s the same place where I found the tourist-y slides and medicine pot last week.


One of the bags contained a collection of fancy little envelopes and papers along with some crafting supplies. The gift bag on the right holds a bunch of little plastic flowers attached to metal wires. One of the tins holds a number of miniature plastic top hats, for what reason god only knows. I’d guess most of this stuff would have been used for invitations of some sort. I threw the whole bag in my trailer.


Inside another bag were these cute salt and peppers shakers (made in Japan) and a pair of Chrys Dion “Diamond” Sunglasses. They fold up and go into that little pouch in the background. They’re pretty unique and are generally pretty fabulous. I looked them up online and saw people trying to the same pair for 45 and 52 dollars.


I also saved this Japanese wall art. The fabric it’s painted on is a bit bent up but I doubt it’d be that hard to straighten it out again. My guess is that someone probably bought this while vacationing in Japan back in the 70s or 80s.


Somewhere in the middle I came across these hockey sticks sticking out of a bin. I’m not much of a hockey fan but I still think it’s pretty silly to throw out good hockey sticks. A hockey stick from Canadian Tire generally goes for around 20-30$ with goalie sticks like the one in the back going for a little bit more. That’s not a lot of money in TMR but it’s a fair bit to someone on a fixed budget.

I might sell the sticks for a nice discount at a yard sale. I’m thinking about having one more before it gets too cold. I’ve found a lot of stuff recently and it’d be good to clear house a bit. It really depends on the weather, however.


I’m not really bothered most days by the waste I come across. I understand that not everyone knows how much things are worth, just how interesting their stuff is, and so on. Today, however, I felt frustration. The hockey sticks were one thing but this pile was another thing altogether. When I arrived there was a moving truck loading up the furniture from the house – whoever left this trash was moving away. The juxtaposition of these manual labourers, who from my experience in the trade were probably recent immigrants coming here for school, with the trash bags containing lots of useful stuff (and some nice sterling silver jewelry to boot) made me fairly annoyed. My fantasy of the owners giving their “trash” directly to the movers as gifts might be a bit unrealistic (especially since there were four workers to divide this stuff between, and they might not even have wanted it anyways) but it’s this kind of thing that makes me think about how much wealth is simply wasted on a day to day basis.


I found a really ballin’ cutting board, a wooden box filled with still-good oil paints, two like-new badminton racquets, some mostly-full cleaners, and what appears to be a mini desktop easel. I took this stuff mostly for my friends, though I might keep the badminton racquets.


Here’s a couple of edge grinders, both of which work.


A beautiful original piece of Native American art. The artist’s name is on the back, though I forget what it is at this moment.


This is a white wine aroma kit. It’s made to train the nose of the aspiring connoisseur to recognize the different scents of wine and comes with a couple of booklets to ease the learning process. Believe it or not these are selling for around 140-150$ new online. I think mine would sell for around 75$ on Ebay, maybe more if I hadn’t of accidentally dropped it, adding a little ding to the front cover.


I also found a small cache of jewelry. The pink watch looks completely unused.


These are probably the nicest pieces, all being made of silver or having a silver base. The necklace on the left was originally in the Swarovski box. It was likely fairly expensive, though you can never sell anything for quite as much as they do in the store. It’s tangled up but should come loose with a bit of work. The green stones look like they could be jade. (Just to clarify, the green stone in the middle is part of a pendant that isn’t attached to the other necklace, though it looks like it in the picture). I like the pendant on the far right that features some sort of mythical charioteer.


After that pile I was packing a lot of weight and decided to hit the old dusty trail. Still, I explored a few new roads on my way home and came across a box full of lampshades and a nice pink rocking chair. I wasn’t far from my friends’ place so I decided to throw the box into my trailer and carry the rocking chair up front. This is by far the most ridiculously full this trailer has ever been. The last couple of kilometres were a real pain as a result. Still, I made it back safe and sound.

All in all I’m pretty exhausted. It’s times like this when I remember how much work “the trash hunt” really is, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

I don’t want to think about moving right now, but tomorrow morning I’ll probably hit the road again and explore the trash days in Outremont or Rosemont.