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Crown Life


I got back from Edmonton late Saturday night after spending a bit more than a week “on the road.” I definitely got to see a lot of the country! We didn’t take our time driving: most cool spots and hiking trails were snowed in, motels are expensive, and it was really cold most of the time. Still, it was a good trip and it solidified my connection to this massive country that is Canada.

The train got in a bit late to Edmonton but Sarah and I still managed to do a bit of a trash run in an area known as Westmount. We didn’t find anything too crazy but did bring back a few mementos. If I lived in Edmonton I’d definitely check the trash in this neighbourhood quite regularly, there’s lots of beautiful houses and a fair bit of history.

The recycling bins above contained a bunch of old liquor bottles from the 60s and 70s. If I had the space I might have taken them but alas the car was already loaded with stuff. The bags contained some odds and ends and what looked to be the contents of a deep freezer. I took these two stuffed animals both of which look to be from the 1970s. The dog is pretty cute and has movable limbs, the octopus is pretty fun as well. The dog is actually sort of collectible – it was made by Kamar in Japan and other dogs by this company have sold on Ebay for between 10 and 35$. The octopus I might just keep for myself, at least for now as it’s a charming living room decoration.

I also found a couple of cool glasses. One unfortunately broke along the way but this chalice made for the 1973 Edmonton Exhibition made it back alive. I like its kitschy design and it’ll serve nicely as a souvenir from the trip. It’ll also serve nicely for drinking wine and beer.

I’ve spent most of the last few days recovering from the driving (/ constantly sitting in weird angles) and also helping my friend get settled in. Today though we decided to use her car and drive over to TMR, hoping to find some cool trash but also some furniture for her new place. It was an interesting change of pace to use the car. It’s much faster and you can definitely cover a larger area. You can also take a lot more stuff. On the down side, however, you lose a bit of the “feel” and are more reluctant to stop at any time.

I should be able to use the car a bit going forward, I’ll just have to contribute money for gas and other maintenance stuff. This means I might be able to check out some new trash days that are otherwise too far away. I currently have my eyes on Westmount and Ville St Laurent specifically, the latter especially on their heavy trash days. The car is a small hatchback, nice because it’s pretty decent for storage but also very economical on gas.

Today’s run was pretty solid, we didn’t find anything that would stop the presses but we still came away with some interesting and useful finds. Our first haul came from this place. The owners have been throwing away a small amount of good stuff every week for a while now, likely because they’re getting ready for a move.

Inside the recycling bin was this painting. The artist’s signature looks to be written in Greek.

Inside its original box was this Holiday-brand tape deck. It looks straight out of the 70s and seems to work okay, it’s just missing one of the keys. I might be able to get a bit of money for this at a yard sale as it definitely has a cool vintage look.

Inside a black bag were some baubles and bits of jewellery. My favourite of this bunch is the horn-shaped piece on the bottom left. It’s made of some material that’s colourful and shiny, my guess would be carved mother of pearl.

These might be the best of the bunch though. Both are connected to key-chain attachments but I doubt those were there originally. The one on the left is made of sterling silver and feature some kind of Hebrew phrase. On the right is a medal commemorating the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-Day War. It’s apparently made of bronze, I found one that sold for 10$ on Ebay. If anyone can tell me the meaning of the Hebrew phrase let me know!

Later on we came across this spot somewhere west of the railroad tracks. We stopped only because we saw a wooden box with wheels that Sarah thought might be useful; inside the bins though was some more interesting stuff. I took this picture as we were about to leave, as you can see there wasn’t much left for the garbage truck.

Inside one of the bins was a bag full of nice fabrics and sewing materials.

Inside the other bin were a bunch of old frames and photos. A lot of the photos are pretty cool and I’ll show you some of my favourites below. I’d guess that most of the pictures were taken in the 40s and 50s.

These were worth taking for the frames alone but the pictures (and the people) are beautiful as well. I like the image of Mary on the right, it’s deep inside a very cool greenish frame that features a pattern made of shaped mirrors and black paint. To me the frame looks very art deco and the lithographed image of Mary is similar to others I’ve seen that were made in the 30s and 40s.

On the left is a very old religious image with text (I’m not even sure of the word for this kind of thing, does anyone know?). On the right is what looks to be a class photo with the title “Rhétorique ‘A’ 1958-59”. I’m not sure what that would be either, so if you have an idea let us know!

I love old certificates and this one is no exception. It was issued in 1952 to a boy in honour of his passing his catechism test. I have another one just like it for another, slightly younger boy.

A few more pictures. The one on the top looks like Niagara Falls. On the bottom right is a boat that looks to be full of military personnel. It’s one of two different framed pictures of the boat, which lead Sarah to note that the boat itself must have had some kind of significance to the photographer, especially since one of the pictures wasn’t a particularly good shot (a bit blurry). If I were to guess I’d say that this boat is bringing back soldiers from World War II and that the person who took this photo was the wife of one of the men aboard.

I also really like the picture on the bottom left. It’s taken inside of a Crown Life Assurance-Vie (life insurance) office – you can see the name written backward in one of the windows. The view of the outside is awesome, giving a view of a bunch of 1950s cars (“boats”) and an old Shell Oil sign. The photo offers a great look at what a desk job back then could have looked like.

I might keep a couple of these as decoration but many will likely end up in a yard sale. Old black and white photos are fairly popular in my area and since they are already framed I can charge a bit more for them.

By the time we got home we had filled most of the trunk with stuff. Some we left in the Give Box on St Viateur (the basketball, a ski bag and a fake Louis Vuitton bag) and some we took back to her place (including the wire mesh table, wooden planter, the box in the back which was full of old wallpaper designs and the red toolbox). All in all it was a good haul.

I’m trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. I could do my usual run though Rosemont but I could also make a special trip out to Westmount (the Montreal one this time around). It’s a very rich neighbourhood but it’s a bit far away to go to by bike. There’s also a lot of big hills that make using the bike trailer very difficult. Anyways, we shall see. I’ll keep you posted regardless!

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