Sinful Songs


I’ve did a lot of mileage on my last two garbage routes. On Thursday I went through Westmount but spent most of my time in Verdun. I hadn’t really gone there before, mostly because there’s a limit of three black bags per household – a not particularly large amount. The presence of a lot of garbage is one of the best signs that there could be something interesting inside. Regardless, it seems that people don’t know about or don’t care about this law and it’s still a good place for pickin’.

As my friend and I were looking through this pile the owners came out and kindly offered us some furniture. They apparently lived at the same place for 45 years. There wasn’t anything too exciting but we did leave with a nice table and a dining chair. They offered us a beautiful stereo unit but it wouldn’t have fit in the car.


This place was a little more interesting. While we were hunting a woman offered us some cake tins and a outdoor light. People in Verdun seem to be very friendly towards garbage pickers. I suspect it’s largely because of its long blue collar history.


There were lots of little trinkets from the 1950s-1970s. I feel like this “Made in Japan” mug somehow symbolizes the general aesthetic.


This little autographs book with an “Indian” leather cover was probably a souvenir from a trip to Quebec City. It was never used. It looks very 50s.


This cute cat was hand etched and painted. Writing on the back indicates it was given to someone as a Valentine’s Day present.


There were a few different rosaries and pieces of rosaries. This was the nicest. It was originally in two parts (the links had gotten a bit loose) but I fixed it up, though I might have put the part on the wrong way as the two sides don’t seem to match up. The beads are crystal and the metal bits are made of sterling silver. It’s quite fancy. On the back of the cross is written the name of the previous owner.


I found a few other pieces of miscellaneous jewellery, some of which might be sterling or silver plate. The bracelet on the left is my favorite. When you look into the binoculars you see images related to Notre-Dame-de-Cap.


The prescription of these glasses is super strong. The frame is gold filled, making it a bit more valuable.


I know some glass can be collectible but there are no markings on this for me to do research on. If anyone knows anything let me know! I suspect it’s just a nice piece for a yard sale, however.


I’m trying to decide whether to sell these or use them to store food. I love the design.


I so often find old Catholic books, especially in traditionally Quebecois neighbourhoods. The coolest is the “Following of Christ” at bottom that was bound in leather and published in the early 1900s.


I enjoyed finding this beat up old 1937 dollar. It has no real value but it’ll look great in the random stuff section of my yard sale.


This old camera, a Kodak 25BT50 is pretty sweet. There are a bunch of patent dates printed on it the latest of which is 1917. It looks be to in excellent condition. They seem to sell on Ebay for between 35 and 50$.

I think I’ll check back to this spot next Thursday to see if there’s anything new.


I went on a massive trek on Friday. I first went to a good spot near Westmount but ended up driving through Cote St-Paul, Lachine and Lasalle (not garbage day there, unfortunately) before getting on the highway and heading far east, passing through Montréal-Est and Rosemont. I haven’t spent a lot of time out east and enjoyed seeing the port, the oil refinery and other prominent landmarks.

The warm weather is making exploring a little more fun. Overall this type of long (I was out close to five hours), winding trip isn’t the most productive but it’s a great way to explore the city.


At the spot above in Cote St-Paul I found a few old 10″ records. The three with covers are collectible, the best find being a 1950s copy of Leadbelly’s Sinful Songs (top left). This exact record has sold on Ebay for between 27$ and 130$. Here’s a classic Leadbelly song featured on the record if you’re curious.


That was it for a while before I reached this spot somewhere near Montréal-Est. A man came out an politely told me that there wasn’t much of value in the bags. I trusted him despite the fact that I basically make a living off of people not knowing or caring that things have value.


Before he showed up I found another collection of old records inside a black garbage bag. Some are in good condition but some were broken, records back then were much more fragile. I’ll have to see if any of them are collectible though I’m not holding my breath. I didn’t recognize the vast majority of the artists, with the only one I remember being by Maurice Chevalier.


I think this would have been your typical record sleeve back in the day. Apparently there used to be a record factory in Lachine.


I got a nice little surprise when I returned home and looked more closely at the record-book. Inside one of the sleeves with some records were these postcard-sized printed photographs featuring Montreal Canadiens players Ted Harris, Charlie Hodge, Claude Provost, and Jacques Laperriere. These guys played together around the mid 1960s. I don’t think they’re super valuable but they’re definitely a nice find especially as the Canadiens try to advance through the playoffs – these guys won two Stanley cups together in ’65 and ’66.


I last stopped at a house somewhere in the east end. By this time it was pretty late and whatever trash was still on the curb was soon to be picked up.


Inside the bags was a set of Craftman cordless power tools including a saw, drill, light, shop-vac and battery charger. I charged the battery and tested them out – everything seems to work great. I can’t imagine why someone would throw this stuff out!

Next week I plan on doing a bit more exploring, to where I’m not yet sure. I’ll keep you posted.

11 thoughts on “Sinful Songs”

  1. Great finds!! Incredible to see what people throw away, so sad really. Keep up the good work.

  2. if you google “emile berliner” (or wiki) you will find that rca/his master’s voice/33rpm vinyle records were apparently invented on montreal island,there’s even a museum in his honor 😉

  3. You should take your paper money to the bank and they will give you a fresh on in exchange. (If’s it’s still legal tender.)

  4. I am really happy to read about your wonderful finds.I am delighted you went to Verdun and cote St.Paul.The southern part of Cote St.Paul is full of rich homes and can be a great place for garbage picking.Your finds of the Leadbelly vinyl record finds in Cote St.Paul is wonderful.The beautiful trinkets and cup you found in Verdun are great too.Please go to Verdun and Cote St.Paul frequently.

  5. Please master the art of looking into those big plastic recycling and trash bins with lids.They often hide a lot of goodies,but it is only possible often to take stuff out from the top.How does one check the middle and bottom of these bins when they are full?Suggest ways of getting around this.

  6. Please go to Verdun West on Thursday morning.It is garbage and recycling pickup day there.Verdun West is the wealthier part of Verdun.In Verdun check those big blue plastic recycling bins with lids;also check out the garbage bags,black trash cans,and blue plastic recycling bags—not to forget dumped furniture.Good luck.May you meet more friendly folks in Verdun.Godspeed

  7. What did you find in Tmr this week?Please go on Friday mornings to Ville Emard and Cote St.Paul.Last Friday you went to Cote St.Paul.Ville Emard is attached to Cote St.Paul;North and West of Cote St.Paul is Ville Emard.In Ville Emard most of the recycling is put out in big green plastic bins with lids,but a number of people there put out their recycling in transparent blue plastic bags.Ville Emard goes on right until Parc Angrignon.Near Parc Angrignon the streets are wealthier.

  8. Which neighborhood so far have you found the most hostile to scavengers,and where many people are aggressive to scavengers?Want to know

    1. It’s hard to say because I haven’t spent a lot of time (looking or picking) in some neighbourhoods. In general though I find I get the best reception in traditionally poor blue collar or middle class areas like Verdun, NDG the Plateau, Rosemont etc as they are used to seeing scavengers about. I find richer neighbourhoods, especially ones further from the downtown core like Hampstead a bit less inviting. I tend to see more “concerned” people in those areas, they also tend to have their own security services though they are fairly easy to avoid.

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