Amik the beaver


I went for a run Tuesday night in Mount Royal. It started out slow, and for a little while I thought I was going to come away with nothing. Things picked up towards the end, however, and I came away with a good haul.

I spotted several document boxes in front of a house and decided to take a look. Inside the boxes was a bunch of kitchen and housewares, including: a beautiful crystal decanter; two bird figurines, likely made from pewter; a decorative plate; a collection of cups, glasses, and candleholders; a glass pitcher; a vintage pink ceramic vase (“Made in Canada”); and a small pewter dish (coaster?) marked as being from the George Inn of London.


I also found this Corningware 10 cup coffee pot. These things are great – I have another one (though it’s now missing its top and never had the interior parts) that I’ve often used to hold iced tea. I’m keeping this for myself!


I came across this pile not too long later. Inside one of the bags was a paper sign advertising a yard sale, a clear indication that this stuff was likely whatever went unsold. I salvaged a few things: a cool wall hanging (photographed hanging from a telephone pole, if you’re wondering); a vintage Agfamatic 2000 pocket camera; a large piece of tupperware; a brass candleholder; a metal industrial-style box (with a price tag of 1$ at the top); a wooden cigar box filled with costume jewelry; a softball; and a baseball. I also saved several hockey pucks and a few somewhat deflated basketballs – more on that later.


I came across this spot just as I was getting ready to head back home. The house had a “vendu” (sold) sign out front. In the background of this photo was a pile of different stuff, including: a gas powered lawnmower; a few framed diplomas from the early 1950s; a nice and fairly large print featuring some type of bird; and a framed print of what looks to me like the construction of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. From the bags and bins I saved a long Liz Claibourne coat; a beautiful cookbook published by the Culinary Arts Institute in 1950; three vintage staplers; a hydrometer; and a very old oral thermometer by Short and Mason of London.

The thermometer came inside a great wooden container. I think it might be worth a bit of money – everything on eBay related to Short and Mason has sold, often for a nice price.


However, my favourite finds from this spot were two posters from the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. They were laying right on top of the pile in the background. I’m glad I went out early because these would have been ruined by the overnight rain.


I like this one especially. It features Amik, the beaver mascot of the 76 Olympics. (Amik means beaver in Anishinaabe, if you’re curious). I think Amik is pretty cute and a great choice of mascot. These posters are fairly collectible, particularly Amik – one like it, albeit in near pristine condition, sold for 140$.


I saved much more than I listed here! I can’t keep everything though, largely due to storage space issues but also my own aesthetic tastes, and have to do a lot of curating and culling.

This time around I decided to leave behind a bunch of house and kitchenwares (mostly from the first spot), as well as a collection of hockey pucks and basketballs from the second. I placed it all by the curb near my place for others to find. Within several hours all the stuff, outside of a few items that were already in poor shape, had found new homes. In fact, one of my room-mates ended up bringing home a large 1993 Petit Larousse French dictionary that I had left, which I thought was kind of funny. Below was the scene a few hours later – someone, for whatever reason, tossed a few random papers into the mix in case you’re wondering what those are.

I went to Westmount and Verdun on Thursday but came up empty. I decided to take today off to focus on writing this post and maybe get a few things on eBay. I’m not sure of my plans for Monday, but I’m going up to Cartierville and Laval on Tuesday morning to see what I can find. I’ll keep you posted as usual!

New listings

Vintage Baird Atomic Cold Cathode Tube
Vintage EG&G flashtube
Vintage Weston volt-ammeter

Côte Saint-Luc


I had planned to take last Thursday off to get myself organized. However, I ended up doing a mini-run when I agreed to pick up a friend in the Golden Square Mile area. This pile sat in front of a gigantic house north of Docteur Penfield.


Inside the boxes were more boxes full of Kashi granola bars and Kellogg’s Rice Krispie squares. All the bars are hermetically sealed and don’t even seem to be expired. My room-mates and I have been eating them without any problems. The Kashi bars are actually reasonably healthy and have made for a good morning snack. This stuff ain’t cheap – I imagine that all of this would cost over 100$ if bought new in the store.


Just off Cote-des-Neiges I found a few small, salvageable items in a black bag, including: a funky candle-holder, a pair of 9kt gold cufflinks, earrings (also likely made from gold), and an odd piece (perhaps a former magnifying glass?) made from sterling silver. The precious metals are going into my scrap tin for eventual sale to a jeweller. The picture frames were a bit worn out, otherwise they would have been a great find as well.


I also stopped at the place where I found that beautiful cast iron pan a couple weeks ago. This time there was a bit more kitchenware, including four corkscrews (one of which is a cool wooden one), a nice Corningware casserole dish, a 1950s-era ashtray from a restaurant in New York, and a pot full of perfectly healthy baby jade plants. If not for a little chip and mild discolouration I could maybe get 20$ for the ashtray; instead it’s just good yard sale material. I always love saving Corningware stuff – it’s a great product that’s still perfectly useful today.


I took Friday off but got back on the hunt early Monday morning. I woke up very early, around 4am, to give my friend a ride to the airport bus. I decided to take advantage of the early start, checking out familiar spots in St Henri and Ville St Laurent before going to check out Côte Saint-Luc for the first time.

Côte Saint-Luc was better than expected, given that the borough imposes a maximum of three garbage bags per household. This recently sold house definitely exceeded that limit, though most of the stuff ended up being junk. I saved a Wollensak cassette recorder, a couple of ancient bottles of wine made for the Opimian Society (a Montreal-based wine club), and a little 40 card tarot deck.


This house in Côte Saint-Luc was more productive. There was a bunch of good stuff packed away in that bin, such as: a nice baseball trophy; four glass flowers (that somehow weren’t broken); a set of coasters; a birdhouse; a Montreal “March to Jerusalem” medallion; some wine and shot glasses; and two Expo 67 season passes, both of which are packed with stamps. The watch is nice, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to work.


However, my favourite find since last post came totally by accident. I was out walking to a friend’s house in the Mile End on Saturday and came across this stuff on Clark. It had been raining heavily.


This trunk caught my eye immediately. It was beautiful and I wanted it bad – I just had to make sure there weren’t any bugs involved in its tossing.

Fortunately, while I doing an inspection a pizza delivery guy came and rang the bell of the house. After the transaction was completed I asked the person who lived there if they were throwing out the trunk, and if it was good to take. He told me he was moving and he didn’t have any use for it, which is what I expected given the “for sale” sign in front of his house and the delivered pizza (classic moving food!). I called my friend and she helped me get it home.

It’s a really great piece. It was made from cedar by the Honderich Furniture Company of Milverton Ontario, likely in the 30s or 40s. It has the usual trunk space but also a shelf at the bottom. There’s a few small cosmetic issues but overall it’s in amazing condition. If I were to sell it I imagine I could get at least 200, maybe even 300 dollars for it, but since it’s so useful for storage I’m going to keep it myself.

On Tuesday I went on a run through Montreal North, Anjou, and a little bit of RDP but came away totally empty-handed. I doubt I’ll go back to these boroughs any time soon – it’s a long way to go for a two-days-a-week garbage pick-up. My preference is neighbourhoods with only one garbage pick-up day a week, as such as arrangement offers much more bang for the buck. Regardless, I’m trying to explore some new neighbourhoods before the cold comes. My next new stop might be Lasalle or Lachine.

Last weeks garbage sales / trades (October 13 – October 19)

-Shell’s Wide World of Golf magazine, 1965: on eBay for 34$. Found early this summer in Snowdon.
-3 teacups: to a reader for 45$. From the October 11th post.
-Film slides: traded to a friend for a sandwich. From the October 17th post.
-Sugar refractometer and salt box: to a reader for 13$ and a jar of honey. The honey is home-made and delicious. It will be put to good use! The sugar refractometer was from the post on October 11th while the salt box was part of the kitchenwares from October 5th.

Total: 92$ (+ sandwich and honey), 4806.75$ since May 18th. A below average week, but one that still provided a bit of cash flow.

New listings

Lot of 11 vintage batteries
Lot of 3 Merkur “Tribes of Israel” ball point pens
Vintage Bulova Sea King automatic watch movement
Set of 2 Aynsley tea cups, fruit, signed D Jones
Vintage Maruyama figurine, “Made in Occupied Japan”
Vintage Footed JL Menau trinket / jewellery box
Vintage Chinese cloisonné urn
Black, floral Paragon Fine Bone China tea cup and saucer
Flaine (France) skiing pin
“Needle Point” Royal Albert bone china tea cup
Beck of London magnifier

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at I also enjoy reading your comments!



The past month or so has been one of the best stretches of the my career as a trash picker. It’s been sort of unreal actually, given totally insane finds like: a 10k gold medal from WWI, an envelope full of old 25c bills, WWII-related items, a decent laptop, and a huge bone china and crystal set, among other great things.

I don’t think I can keep up with this pace. There’s a lot of luck involved in trash picking – sometimes you’ll find a tonne of stuff in a short amount of time and sometimes you’ll find nothing at all. It’s a bit like roulette in a way: there’s a chance that you can hit eight blacks in a row, but the odds in the end remain the same.

Similarly, these great stretches also make the hunt that much more addictive. When you’re finding great stuff on a regular basis you want to go out and find more and more, just like when you’re winning at the casino. Unfortunately, to make the money I need to survive I have to deal with the stuff I already have. My room and storage has been a total mess since finding all those boxes from the last post. At some point I’ll need to make time to sort through, organize, and list it all. Unfortunately, to avoid organizational disaster (and the burnout / feelings of insanity that often come with it) there’s a bit of a limit to how often I can go hunting. If I were a rich eccentric type like Barry from “Storage Wars” I’d have a different business model, likely hunting more often but focusing less on maximizing my profit margin per item. I’d love that, but it’s not something that I can afford to do.

While I doubt I’ll keep finding amazing stuff at this pace I do think my recent strategy of switching neighbourhoods often, trying to find the “hot hand” has paid off. This wasn’t really possible by bike – it only made sense to go to neighbourhoods within a short distance of my home – but having a car has made this new strategy possible. I owe many thanks to my friend Sarah for allowing me borrow it so often!

This past week and a half has been a bit more “average,” producing some nice finds if nothing as spectacular as in weeks past. I came across this spot in Mount Royal last Tuesday night. Inside one of the bags was a small mix of good stuff, including a beautiful enameled urn and a fish bowl (which I gave to a friend). Next to the bin was an unopened IKEA CD shelf. I have to do more a bit research on the urn, it’s a really nicely made piece and I think it could be worth a bit of money.


Later on I stopped at a pile in front of a house for sale. Inside the bags was a bunch of great stuff: a gorgeous painted wooden box; two silver plate trays; a wool hat; a kids tea set; a box of incense (compliments of Ogilvy’s!); an empty Lampe Berger; and a very nice hand-crafted tea set.

At another place I saved a vintage cooler, a mostly-complete microscope set (which I left on the curb for others to take), and a paper bag full of chocolate bars. There were 15 bars in total, three of which were of the massive variety. I left it in my kitchen for my five room-mates (and whoever else came by) and it all gone within about four days! Some were slightly expired, not that it matters too much.


This Tuesday morning brought me to Laval. I didn’t find much outside of this one recycling bin that contained two vintage five gallon carboys. One is blue glass and was made for Puritas Water – this type tends to sell for between 50-70$ on eBay.


I took a little detour through Park Ex on the way home. I saw an unusual quantity of bags in this one spot and decided to check it out. Inside was a whole bunch of stuff, though a good chunk of it had sustained water damage.


I was able to salvage: a collection of figurines and miniatures, some of which are collectible; a number of vintage tools; an old tobacco tin; a vintage Nabob coffee jar filled with some type of oil or lubricant; a bronze Jennings Brothers dog figurine; and a somewhat water-damaged 800 silver picture frame, which if nothing else has value as scrap.

I also saved a damp envelope containing a small collection of slides and cut-outs from an old reel-to-reel film. The slides were just cut-outs from old film as well, which is something I’ve never seen before. A friend walked by as I was sorting through them and offered me a sandwich in exchange for a majority of the collection, which to me was a good deal!


I went back in Mount Royal that night and a friend came along for the ride. It was mostly quiet, but I did find a few things at this spot not far from the highway, including: a working Heirloom lamp; matching silver plate candle-holders; a nice mug by Portmeiron Pottery of England; a beautiful old 1955 Canadian “Official Handbook of present conditions and recent progress”; a few other old books, some of which are written in a script I don’t understand; and a non-functional Caravelle clock. If anyone in Montreal wants to try to fix the clock (last two pictures) let me know. It likely needs a new clock mechanism (or maybe even just new connections) after the old battery corroded inside it, probably an easy fix for someone with the know-how. Whoever emails me first can have it for free.

I took yesterday and today mostly off to focus on blog and other stuff but should be back on the road again Monday.

Last weeks garbage sales (October 6 – October 12)

-Set of ten crystal glasses: to a friend for 20$. Found in the boxes from last post.
-Schminke pastels: on eBay for 25$. Found alongside the gold medal a month ago in St-Henri.

Total: 45$, 4714.75$ since May 18th. I was bound to have a down week after making around 1500 in the previous two.

New listings:
(Note: no links are provided to listings featuring any sort of personal information)

Set of 3 Aynsley cottage themed teacups and saucers
Vintage Westclox glow-in-the-dark clock
WWII-era US Navy canvas bag

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at I also enjoy reading your comments!