Propane propane


Today’s trip to TMR was a bit more social than usual: two people went out of their way to offer me things to take home and one told me I didn’t have the “right” (tu n’as pas le droit!) to look through the trash. It was fine though, his bin contained nothing even vaguely interesting anyway.

There were plenty of decent things on the curb today. I ended up leaving a lot at the Give Box on St Viateur, including some nice dishes and knick-knacks. Nothing I took home was particularly mind-blowing but there were still some solid finds.

Recently I’ve been trying to snap shots of the trash before I start fully rummaging through it. I feel adding the pictures of the curbed trash to the blog adds context and helps to illustrate how unexceptional these piles often look from the outside. I prefer to include a picture where the garbage is unperturbed and truly “as it was”. However, I’m not sure it will always make sense to do this. Some trash looks interesting and then isn’t, making the photo-taking process useless. Taking a photo is also something that people find a bit sketchy and if someone happens to be watching they might feel the need to confront me or to call the authorities. Regardless, I’ll do this as long as I feel comfortable doing so going forward.

(To clarify, this comment is totally unrelated to the story of the man above who told me I didn’t have the “right.” I hadn’t taken a photo of his offerings.

Anyway, let’s get to the garbage. These bins were in front of the same place where I found a bunch of old framed photos a few weeks back. They’ve been slowly clearing house and throwing a bit of stuff away each week, though it’s not always particularly exciting.


And this week… more framed photos! There’s some nice old family photos but nothing quite as interesting as last time around. The frames are all great, however. I’ll give some to a friend to mine to put her artwork in.


Inside the blue bag in the left bin was this Coleman-brand propane camping stove. It even comes with a half-full propane canister, which I wouldn’t think is a good thing to throw in the compacter. It looks to be in pretty good condition.


Most of my take-homes came from this spot, the same one where I found the stamp collection two weeks ago. After looking through some of the trash bags a woman came outside and began offering me things. She ended up giving me a metal shovel, a little table and a big (again half-full) canister of propane propane (this is a reference to one of Leahy’s crazier moments on Trailer Park Boys if anyone’s wondering). She told me she was helping her mom clear house before a move.

She said she was going to bring things to Renaissance (a local thrift store) but there were definitely donate-able items inside the bags. Maybe there’s so much inside that it’s kind of overwhelming to sort through.


This vintage 1972 Raggedy Ann / Andy refuse bin is pretty cute and somewhat collectible. I have a friend I think might like it.


I really like the classic design of this mug made to commemorate Canada’s centennial. By the looks of it I’d guess it was made by Beauce, a company in the south of Quebec that produced a fair bit of ceramics back in the day.


Inside the black bags was a worldly collection of knick-knacks and souvenirs. The figures on the left, which have bells underneath by the way, are souvenirs of New Orleans. The container in the middle was made in the USSR. The brass plate in the background was made by Peerage in England and is somewhat collectible. We also have a couple Eiffel Towers (from France I’d presume), miniature swords from Toledo, and souvenirs from the port of Quebec and some railway in B.C. On the bottom is a 10k gold-filled retractable pencil made for IBM. It’s actually pretty sweet and a similar one on Ebay sold for 21$.


There were a few wooden plaques, one for something (?) in Germany, one commemorating the first Canada-US run by Via Rail (in 1982 if anyone’s wondering), and one for a Balliol College in Oxford (England).


This beautiful wooden crucifix possesses a secret compartment hidden behind the Christ. I can’t figure out how to open it, though from what I can see there’s just a couple candles in there anyway.


Two vintage tins. These are great for storing away junk you find in the trash!


This program from a 1973 recital at the NAC in Ottawa wraps up the items from that spot (for this week at least!). The show featured Joan Sutherland, a famous opera singer who died in 2010 at the age of 83. What’s interesting about the program is that it appears to be signed by Sutherland herself – a comparison with ones I see on Ebay checks out. I doubt it’s worth any more than 10$ but it’s still cool to find. I had never heard of her before, here’s a sample of her singing if you’re interested.


Now for a few things from last week. I found this vintage pack of cards in TMR last Wednesday and only today (upon cleaning out the car) did I notice that they were made by Gucci. A pair of decks like this recently sold on Ebay for 100$, believe it or not, and while mine aren’t in quite as good shape they should still garner 20-30$.


My Friday trip to Rosemont also provided a few good finds, including this brand-new-in-box Bally continental wallet. It came from the same house as where I found the stereo set-up the week prior. These people are apparently ballers – they also threw out three good watches and a couple pieces of silver jewellery. This is an excellent quality wallet that I have reasonably (based on my research) put on Ebay for 150$.


I came across a collection of black bags in front of a triplex somewhere on 7th Av. Inside the bags was a lot of Christian miscellanea (crucifixes and a 3d picture of Jesus, for example) and jars upon jars of old screws, nails and etc. Whoever owned this stuff was clearly older as no one holds onto things like that these days. My best find was this cute depression-glass ashtray. I’ll check back this Friday to see if I find anything else.

In other news a battery and a battery charger I ordered off Ebay came in. The charger was for a Sony digital camera I found back in December and the battery for a Video 8 Camcorder I procured just a few weeks ago. The new batteries confirm that these pieces work as I expected them to. The camera should sell for around 30-35$ (charger cost: 12$) while the camcorder should sell for around 80 (battery cost: 10$). I’m still expecting a charger for the other camera from that post in December.

I also made a couple of sales. A 10k gold ball necklace sold on Etsy for 96$ and a 1913 silver coin from Germany (which I found with the WWI dog tags a while back) sold for 39$.

Tomorrow morning will be pretty messy, both rain and snow are in the forecast. I plan on making it out regardless, however. If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll go to Westmount for the first time, if not I’ll go to Rosemont.

If you are interested in buying any of the items you see on my blog I would love to hear from you! Email me at and I’ll get back to you within a few days.

20 thoughts on “Propane propane”

  1. You do have a right to look through garbage if that garbage is going to the landfill anyways and the person has thrown it out voluntarily.I came across a wonderful album of family photographs of someone in my neighborhood of NDG When idly rooting through a dozen or so recycling bins and trash bins early in the morning while walking my dog.I have taken some wonderful nature photos from that discarded photo album and am scanning it.I will post them somewhere on line.Please keep doing this—you are doing a great job.

  2. I have always heard that once garbage is at the curb, it is no longer private. However, in past couple of years, I have also heard of police showing up (having been called) and telling folks to move on. Guessing the police may not legally have thi sright.

    some good finds.

    re the photos. always breaks my heart to see/hear of photos, obviously well done, well loved, discarded with no one to love/remember/treasure them. you mentioned you have a friend who is an artist… wasn’t sure were you saying you would give them these photos? it would be good if the photos could be incorporated into an art form, and live on/be treasured.

    1. I think things are slightly different if the police are called because at that point it’s like the original owner is staking a claim to what they put out on the curb. Even so, the police asking you to move on isn’t really a punishment (at least not in the traditional sense, I would be pained thinking about what I might have missed out on!), more of a way to resolve a situation with a complainant.

      What I’d probably do is take the photos out of the frame and put them in a yard sale. People do buy black and white photos, some of which end up in art projects.

  3. I’ve only had one ask me not to go through their trash, most don’t care, and many are actually glad to see someone claim something and possibly put it to good use.

    Your cross is a Catholic one used for sick visits or last rites (ebay last rites cross), they usually contain a vial of holy water and two white candles, the one I found a year or so back just swung open…but some slide I think.

    Keep picking, and thanks for sharing your finds.

  4. For the crucifix, try sliding the panel open. there is usually a groove on either side of a wooden rectangle that will slide open. I like the Raggedy Ann trash can.

  5. I love your “before” pics. It gives us a better idea the kind of thing you’re encountering.

    If you come across any Corelle dishes like these (good stackers) in any pattern, save them for me. (Only the plates and bowls though; I don’t need the cups and saucers).

    It saddens me when people throw out those kinds of pictures. Surely someone in the family would want to hold on to such things. I’m glad you “save” them and give them an opportunity for a second life.

    Lots of neat-o finds again!

    Nice little Russian container. That’s a nice little ashtray. The only one I could find similar at all was this one but yours is better.

    I’ve seen those miniature swords from Toledo before. I think they were import items back in the day.

    Nice to see you’re adding some things to your ebay listings … and making some nice sales! 🙂

  6. The right. hmmm. From wikipedia :”In Canada, The Trespass to Property Act[citation needed] – legislation dating back to the British North America Act of 1867 – grants property owners and security guards the power to ban anyone from their premises, for any reason, permanently. This is done by issuing a notice to the intruder, who will only be breaking the law upon return. A recent case in Canada, which involved a police officer who retrieved a discarded weapon from a trash receptacle as evidence, created some controversy. The judge ruled the policeman’s actions as legal although there was no warrant present, which led some to speculate the event as validation for any Canadian citizen to raid garbage disposals.[21]”

    so there’s that. kind of a legal precedent, really.

    1. Sounds like it’s only illegal if they ask you to leave and you don’t go or come back. Makes sense… thanks for the info.

  7. You should check out the recycling bins and trash bins outside big apartment buildings in highrises in Ville St.Laurent and also downtown.In downtown,while absent-mindedly opening a recycling bin with lid in a highrise building while visiting a friend,I found and salvaged very interesting comic books.My husband collects them.I was there in the right place at the right time.In Ville St.Laurent where I live,there are quite a few high-rise buildings too.I live on a side street in a two-storey building.Hope my tip encourages you.I tip my hat off to you for making such wonderful finds.

  8. Who knows what you would find if you look outside senior residences-especially highrises on trash day?When seniors die,maybe some good stuff gets thrown out.Check out recycling bins and trash bins outyside senior residences—especially multi-unit senior apartment complexes

    1. I’ve found things there albeit rarely. I think the main problem is that seniors who move to these homes always pare down their possessions before moving anyway, leaving behind only few possessions that are generally easily managed by their children. Once in a while great things will be tossed, however, I found a nice collection of gold jewellery by what I think was a senior’s residence once.

  9. hi, sorry, this comment is nothing to do with this post, but I ran across this article/blog, and thought of you…
    It popped into my mind,
    -you have a nice way of writing/presenting info etc
    -maybe you could collect up photos whenever possible of folks who put the “garbage” out which you rifle through (you often speak of chatting with them)
    – etc etc

    really, I could see you accomplishing much in a similar vein to what these links have, but in connecting it all to garbage/people/society/ etc..

    I find your work/your success every bit as interesingn

    — every bit as thought provoking.

    here’s links if of interest

    1. Interesting idea, though I often avoid telling people I see that I’m going to post things on the blog or that I even have a blog. I’ve considered doing this with other trash pickers and people I give free things to, however.

  10. Do you open trash bags by untying them or do you rip a hole in them to search? Some trash bags are double and even tripled knotted and wondered if you can even untie them?


    1. Good question. Especially in the cold weather it can be hard if not impossible to untie the bags. In that case I usually make a tear at the top of the bag next to the knot. If you do it right you can generally re-tie the bag after, or if there is a hole it won’t be in a place where garbage will come out and make a mess when the guys come to throw it in the truck.

Comments are closed.