My belligerent lucky charm


On Wednesday I went to Mount Royal and stopped at a house that’s been producing for a while – the same one that provided the WWII RCAF cap and Expo 67 ephemera not long ago.

In the middle of sorting through the recycling bin an SUV pulled up beside me. I turn around and saw a neighbourhood security guard who I’m sure was the same guy that told me to leave the area way back in October. I’ve since had contact with other security officers in the area but none that has given me any real trouble. This time around he took my name and address, gave me a warning and told me I’d face a 219$ fine if caught again, all the while acting fairly belligerently.

I left but came back around a bit later to finish the job. I’d rather risk a 219$ fine than miss out on an amazing trash pile. Inside the bin was a treasure trove of old newspapers, photos, and other ephemera, much of was related to World Wars I and II. It seems that the family previously living in this house had a extensive military background. This stop was definitely one of my finest as a trash picker, and much of the best stuff came after I returned for the second time.

It’s annoying that I could be fined for picking in Mount Royal going forward. It’s one of my favourite routes due to its beauty and interesting history. Regardless, I doubt this will keep me from going and if fined I may elect to fight it in the courts. I’d be curious to know what by-law mentions trash picking. I should have asked him!

On the other hand that security guy might be my good luck charm! I found great stuff last time I talked to him as well, including a collection of newspapers from the end of WWII.


This atlas, published in 1913 is cool in its own right…


However, it’s what was stashed between its front and back covers that was particularly interesting. There were many old, mostly pictorial sections of newspapers, older than I’ve ever found before. They cover many different topics including: the Hindenburg disaster, the coronation of King George VI, the 1939 Royal Visit, the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, various post-war celebrations, and the building (and collapse) of the Quebec Bridge in 1916. There were also newspaper clippings mostly related to the WWI.

It’s an amazing collection and many of the papers are in really good condition. They’ve likely been stored in that book for quite some time. I had never heard of the Montreal Standard before. It was apparently a pictorial newspaper published between 1905 and 1951.


(Just to note: you can click these thumbnails below for a better view. You can also get an even closer look if you go to the bottom right of the popped-up image and click “view full-size.”)


I’ve always been a bit of a map nerd so this piece is one of my favourites. It’s a (WWI) War Map of Europe published in 1914 by Rand-McNally and given out compliments of Canadian Sirocco Company. They apparently made fans and blowers way back in the day, so long ago that it’s hard to find any information about them on Google. I can’t find a single mention of another map like this one. It’s a great piece that would look really good framed.


These photos were found in the middle of a scrapbook mostly full of newspaper clippings and military-related ephemera. Two are group shots labelled “Uplands 24/4/44.” Uplands likely refers to the former RCAF training school at Uplands just south of Ottawa. Many airmen were trained here before being sent to fight in Europe. These photos are amazing, particularly the shots of the planes in flight which don’t seem to be very common. Some great history right here!


I also enjoyed finding these two WWII-era RCAF Christmas cards, both of which were apparently never used. The design of the one on the right is especially cool – the logo is printed with some kind of blue, fuzzy fabric while the inside features a great drawing and typography so typical of the era.

There’s still enough neat stuff to warrant another post! It may take time though as I began the second part of a regular temp job today. It involves re-delivering stored boxes to students returning from summer vacation. It’ll keep me busy for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll probably be able to post and will definitely have the time for a few trash runs.

10 thoughts on “My belligerent lucky charm”

  1. Nice finds. You may want to phone the town hall and get the truth on their bylaws. He may just be scaring you!!

  2. What a bonanza!Congratulations.If you get fined,it would be a great idea to start a petition and circulate it online to get your fine canceled.I support you 100%.Keep going to TMR.

  3. You are an inspiration!
    Where I live trash on the curb is considered public domain, police can still hassle you though for public disturbance.

    1. I think it’s like this in most of the city… some neighbourhoods have their own by-laws though which may be the case here.

  4. Don’t be cowed by the bad luck/good luck security guard. Learn your rights.

    What a haul! I look forward to your subsequent post about this outing. I know one thing for sure … you’re in ephemera heaven. 🙂

  5. I like your blog and discovered it while living in Toronto.Such historic stuff should not be thrown out in the first place.Ofcourse,you have a right to rescue this.The security guard who tried to bully you must be disregarded.Anyways,I grew up in Point St.Charles and lived there for the first 30 years of my life.10 years ago I moved to Toronto.Last month I moved back to Montreal for good because my job was transfered here.In Montreal,rents in neighborhoods in Point St.Charles and many other poorer neighborhoods have jumped like crazy.All of you tenants,do not take apartments with soaring rents advertised on Craigslist.They are renting
    1-bedroom apartments in Point St.Charles for $650 or $700.10 years ago,you could rent the same apartments for $440 or $460.Why aren’t more people in Montreal speaking out ?You,for one,should have your own apartment so you can store the treasures you want to keep in style.As for fining scavengers like you,it is a no-brainer.

  6. I live in Rosemont,and have been in the same building for 25 years..In my apartment building in Rosemont,an apartment that was renting for $390 in 2004 is today renting for $590.The rent increase is much,much higher than the rate of inflation.Tenants and readers of your blog should pay attention to this.

  7. Martin spectacular finds love all of them, the map, the newspapers cuts … way to GO … and about the scary guy … call the city and get informed … he may just be in a power trip of his own…

  8. I just lost my job 10 days ago after working in the same company for nine years.I am eligible for employment insurance and have filed papers for that.I also have savings so I am not in big trouble.Now I have some extra time on my hands and decided to experiment scavenging in the trash to save treasures,help the environment and also recycle some bottles,cans and scrap metal by using my car.I live in Verdun West and last Wednesday night I checked out the trash and recycling bins on seven long Verdun Ouest streets.I found $25 of bottles and cans,a collection of toonies and loonies(10$ in all that somebody had thrown away),three nice teddy bears,two working printers that I resold immediately,20 vinyl records of the disco era,a number of Archie comics and about a dozen paperback novels.I urge readers of your blog to scavenge on Manning,Moffat,Beatty,Riverview,Godin,Valiquette,Roland,Allard and Stephen streets on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

    1. The Thursday morning Verdun route is one of my favourites! It’s unfortunately a bit far for me to do regularly though… You can definitely make some decent extra cash, even if it’s not as much as you would otherwise make. Scrap metal, especially copper can make decent money if you have a car or truck with decent storage space. My only suggestion is to keep an eye out for bedbugs, they are a pain. I have a how-to avoid them under the “resources” page at the top to help with that.

      Otherwise, I’d love it if you kept us posted of your finds via comments!

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