The Gazetteer


I went out to TMR this morning and made a few good finds. I talked yesterday about staying loyal to a spot for a period time after I find something cool but today was odd in that some places I had long given up on produced once again. This place on the left, for example is where I found the newspapers from the end of World War II (and more) in mid-October. Since then, however, there has been nothing of interest.


One of the boxes was full of old books, including this set of “Times Encyclopedia and Gazetteer” encyclopedias from 1930. There’s one missing, unfortunately – if I’m lucky it will appear sometime in the near future. Still, the design is beautiful and the content is interesting.


Some more books, including an incomplete but nice anthology of the works of Honore de Balzac.


The nicest of that bunch might be the one on the right, a 1874 copy of The Forms of Water by John Tyndall. It’s still in quite good condition.


Another box contained a bunch of good wool. I’m sure I can find someone who’ll want to use it!


There were also a couple of portable phones that seem to be in good working condition, though I have no landline so I can’t test them fully. I’m sure they’re fine though.


Here’s another spot where I found some interesting old stuff, though I don’t think I ever wrote a post about it. There was a dinner tray on top of the pile which I brought home.


Inside one of the bags were these notepads from 1960s-1970s hotels. Nothing too crazy, but I’m sure people would pay me 50c each for them at a yard sale.


Also inside were these old books. They’re not in very good shape but the one on the right is notable: it was published in 1803, making it the oldest book I’ve found thus far in my garbage picking career, beating the 1815 New Testament I found by 13 years. The text itself is in decent shape (though the pages are fairly warped), it’s mostly the cover that’s in poor condition.


The inside of the books.


The house for sale on the left gave me the remainder of my finds.


I found two reasonably modern digital cameras, one in the recycle bin and one in the garbage (whoever put the bins out had no idea when it comes to sorting). I didn’t find the chargers, unfortunately, but I’d bet on them working well as they’re both in very good cosmetic shape. They also came with little cloth bags.


These sticks, which seem to be used for fortune telling of some kind, were held inside this wooden container. There’s 38 in total, and unless there’s supposed to be more I have them all. Definitely yard saleable!


The last for today is this 6-pack of never opened Diet Coke bottles. They were made to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Holt Renfrew, a chain of high-end department stores here in Canada. They originally sold for 6.99 but now people online are trying to sell them on Ebay for around 6 to 20 bucks a bottle (with limited success). I don’t think I’ll bother with that, though. If they were regular coke I might drink a couple, but since they’re diet I’ll give them to whoever wants them.

That’s all for now! I need to take a nap. I’m going to consider checking out a part of Ville St Laurent tonight, it’s a bit far but it’d be interesting to see. Regardless, I’ll definitely be in Rosemont tomorrow morning to see if I can find anything where I came across those nice old books last week.

18 thoughts on “The Gazetteer”

  1. good stuff.

    books sure do look interesting, and as for the wool, yup,i bet some knitter/crocheter/crafter would be tickled to get these for a deal

    that coke, I would have thought you’d get a good doller for that. always seems to be folks who collect coke “stuff”, and they seem happy to pay.

  2. if you are selling the phones or any of the cameras let me know on cl im the ” CHATEAUGUAY/SOUTH SHORE ” GUY THANKS

  3. I would like to know the names of the street in TMR where you frequently find good stuff in trash.TMR has more than 40 streets so I do not think one person can cover them all on trash day.I know TMR and have relatives there so will avoid the streets you find stuff on if I go there.

    1. In the end it’s all random, some place will provide for a while and then another will take over. That being said those specific places today were on Glengarry, Kenilworth and Graham respectively. I wouldn’t worry about avoiding streets, if you have a car you might also find things that I wouldn’t normally be able to take

  4. Yup,you should mention the streets of TMR on which you find treasures in trash.I have been told one part of TMR is definitely wealthier than the other half;however most of TMR is at least middle-class and fairly affluent.TMR is difficult to cover all on one day,but I know for a fact Outremont can be completely covered by one person on garbage day or curbside recycling day.Outremont must have no more than 16 or 18 streets,and is the smallest borough in Montreal with only 24,000 people.TMR must have more than double the population of Outremont.

    1. When I go to TMR I usually end up covering the majority of streets. Often I am there for around 3 or 4 hours, quite a while to bike on a regular basis. One side is definitely richer, I think it’s the western part where you start to see more mansions (though it’s all quite nice).

      I looked it up and there are 19000 people in TMR. I figured it would be smaller, there are still a fair amount of dense, Plateau like areas in Outremont while TMR is almost entirely composed of single family homes.

  5. Martin,great work.Do not forget TMR demerged from Montreal and is an independent municipality.Outremont however is a borough of the city of Montreal and its smallest borough.TMR may have fewer people than Outremont,but of all the boroughs belonging to the city of Montreal,Outremont is actually the smallest.Smaller demerged municipalities like Montreal West have fewer than 7,000 residents.

  6. You mentioned when you first started scavening in TMR that you never came across scavengers or bottle/can collectors in TMR.Now that you have been going to TMR almost every week and because you have given publicity to the district,are you beginning to come across other scavengers when you do your rounds?

    1. I forget to mention this in today’s post. I today saw my first confirmed scavenger, an older woman who was walking around looking for something in recycle bins. I’m not sure if she was looking for cans, magazines, or whatever but she was definitely hunting for something. It was in the middle of TMR so I imagine she must live in the area.

      I also saw a vacuum that had its power cord cut, something that indicated that a scrap metal scavenger has been around. I haven’t seen any for sure, but I have seen a couple of white cargo vans driving around that may or may not be driven by scrap scavengers. They could also just be workers of some kind.

  7. I am hoping you will find a full copy of The Gazette,New York Times ,Boston Globe or The Globe And Mail of November 23,1963 in a recycling bin or in the trash.Nov 23,1963 was the day after John F.Kennedy was assassinated.A paper of this date has immense historical value.

  8. Do you generally find more treasures in the trash in the immediate vicinity of your new apartment in the Mile End,or did you find more treasures in the trash around the streets of your old apartment in the Plateau?Want to know.Don’t forget that besides salvaging historic items from trash and making some money,your goal is also to educate people to throw out less reusable stuff and knick-knacks.

    1. I like my new area a bit better, though it has nothing to do with the Mile End, it’s being significantly closer to TMR that matters. The Plateau and Mile End have mostly dried up in recent times, though I still find stuff there occasionally. My new place is also close to Rosemont and Villeray, though I’ve never found much there.

  9. I also look ahead to your visit of Town of Mont Royal each week.It must be by and far the highlight of your week and it falls right in the middle of the work week on Wednesday morning.When you used to live in the Plateau,you would wave aside TMR as a possible interesting foraging ground.You definitely need to go beyond the Plateau.There are too many bohemians in the Plateau who do what you do.You should also go to Ahuntsic and Ville St.Laurent.Both boroughs are just north to TMR and both could yield a lot of cool treasures.

  10. Awesome finds, Martin! Had to look up what those sticks were for – sure you could make a cool art project out of ’em, since you’re missing a few. Hope the winter is treating you well! Stay safe on the snow.

  11. Despite your admirable mission and the great work you do,a lot od people look down on scavenging,disparage scavengers and disapprove of them.Walrus magazine,The Globe And Mail,The New York Times,MacLeans magazine,New Yorker magazine,The CBC,etc should all devote an article to you and your blog.The Gazette and Journal de Montreal have already written articles about your work,and you have benefited from the publicity.The major media outlets may be unwilling to devote time and space because they do not want to encourage scavenging.But scavenging is great for environmental reasons,historic reasons,etc.More power to you

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