Life on civvy street


Last week provided some interesting and unusual finds. I started Sunday night in Cote St-Luc, an area that has been productive for me recently. A spot I had been going to for the last month has now dried up, but this place made sure I didn’t go home empty-handed.

From inside the bags I pulled out: some nice silver plate, including a nice footed tray and a menorah; a gold and silver tone serving bowl; and a set of performance springs for a car. The menorah is beautiful but appears to be missing an attachment for a ninth branch – if not for that I bet I could have sold it for a pretty penny. It’s still cool regardless.

I also saved a couple pairs of high-heel shoes. One pair was clearly barely worn – only a couple light scuff marks – with a price tag of 325$ still stuck to the bottom. The brand is Spaziomoda of Balogna Italy.


I came across this pile the next day in the Mile End. The bags were largely filled with old junk, including a bunch of clothes. I saved a few smaller items, such as a genuinely vintage Pac-Man sticker, a 1950s pennant for Portage La Prairie (Manitoba), and an unusual “Lottowatch.” The watch doesn’t seem to be particularly common or well-known, but there does seems to be a niche group of collectors interested in this kind of thing (this guy even made a video about it!). Apparently in addition to telling time it also generates lottery numbers. I saw one site online selling one like it for 70 British pounds, but the website seems to have gone offline in the last few days. Here’s the link anyways, if it happens to come back up. My watch seems to be in mint condition, perhaps an unappreciated gift from many years ago? I’ll have to get a battery in it, but I expect that it works perfectly fine.




On Tuesday morning I did a run to Hampstead and NDG. Hampstead was pretty unexciting, but I did find some great stuff in NDG and nearby. There was an open box at this spot (somewhere near Grand and Monkland) that contained an odd ceramic dish and a chalkware wall-hanging featuring parts of Psalm 23.


I noticed that the ceramic dish had a sort of tiki bar feel to it, and knew from past experience that there are collectors passionate about that this kind of stuff. It indeed turned out to be tiki-related – a volcano bowl, to be exact. Apparently you and your friends would fill the bowl with a rum-based mix and drink from it with a straw. Also, to create the “volcano” effect, you could put high-proof rum at the top of the volcano and light it on fire (picture source: Bars go tiki chic). It sounds pretty awesome, actually. As for value, it seems to sell regularly on eBay in the 40-50$ range, not including shipping. Some people have it up for over 400$, but that seems a bit ridiculous and nothing I’ve seen makes me think this is a reasonable price.

tikibar20, cue, sieu, 5


Later on I came across this spot. There were a lot of bags here, maybe around 15 of the cheap kind that rip easily. There was a lot of cool old stuff here, and while much of it was junky or ruined there were definitely some great things to be found. I searched quickly, knowing the garbage truck was going to come sooner rather than later. I managed to look through most, maybe around 11 of the bags before the truck came and ate the rest. Whoever owned this stuff looked to have saved near everything they ever owned, which always makes for interesting finds.


Probably my favorite find from here was this 1948 phone book from Winnepeg. Phone books are the kind of thing that not many people choose to save even for a year, let alone nearly 70(!), so I think it’s extra special to come across. Really, how many more 1948 Winnepeg phone books do you think still exist, especially in fairly good condition as this one is? It’s full of beautiful old ads, and is a really great blast from the past.



Not quite as spectacularly old, but still cool is this 1969 Montreal phone book. I think it’s cool that someone held onto this for 45 years. I think my friend at a local archive will like this!

I also found a cool hand-made photo book. It’s filled with pictures detailing the construction of a set for a “Civvy Street” themed dance at a military mess hall in May 1945. I didn’t know what civvy street was so I looked it up; apparently it’s a term used by people in the military to describe civilian or post-military life. It’s a really cool thing and I realize now that one picture doesn’t do it justice. If you’re curious, check back tomorrow for some more pictures. (Edit: gallery added below!)


There was a lot of other great stuff, though: a bunch of pastels and other artist materials; a small stamp collection; a bunch of pennies, some of which were stored inside a great old Omega watch box (which might be worth some money even on its own); a silver dime, which was tucked away in a envelope of stamp-related stuff; a 1959 pass for Ontario provincial parks; a hand-painted metal lunch box; seven Red Rose tea collector cards featuring native trees of Canada; a Birks catalogue from the year of the Canada’s centennial (1967); another charga-plate (the precursor of the credit card); and a bunch of magazines, most of which were from the early 1960s (and including a racy 1960s Cosmo “love” issue).


I went back the next trash day but nothing was out. Perhaps it’s already done, but I’ll keep an eye on it again this week to see if the house cleaning continues.


I went to Mount Royal on Tuesday night and found a few other things of note, including: a vintage designer stapler; two 1960s books about Montreal; a leather book cover; a pair of Vuarnet sunglasses; a sterling silver keychain fob made for Control Data Corporation, one of the original supercomputer manufacturers in the 70s; and a couple of cool wall masks.

I focused on other tasks the rest of the week. However, I made several more one-off (ie: where the location was not worth featuring) finds from the week, such as: a hand-made wooden rocking horse in Glenmount (which I left on the curb for others – it was gone within a few hours); a good toolbox in Hampstead (with a couple of decent screwdrivers inside); some watercolour paints, a package of Dead Sea mineral mud, and a couple of jewelry charms in Westmount; and a cool pair of sock stretchers, found while out on errands in Rosemont.


Last week’s garbage sales (November 17 – November 23)

18k gold band: on Etsy for 60$. Found over a year ago in Rosemont.

Total: 60$, 5849.65$ since May 18th. Not a great week – if not for my new Etsy listings I would have made nothing at all. I still expect that things will pick up in time for the holidays.

New listings

I again focused on getting jewelry up on Etsy. If you’re curious, the top eleven listing in my Etsy store are all new.

Link to my 133 eBay listings

Note: I offer local buyers a (often significant) discount on all eBay and Etsy prices. Email me for more details.

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!

Like me on Facebook!

Loose change


I found this Macbook in TMR back in September. It was missing a battery and a charger. A friend of mine had the same model, making it easy to test without investing any money. The computer worked fine, and I ordered the necessary parts on eBay for around 55$ – a great deal, since this model typically sells for around 200-225$.

I’m enjoying life with a laptop. I’ve made a habit of taking it to the café on Mondays (Tuesday this time! I was too busy yesterday) and writing these posts over sandwich and a latté. It’s a nice treat for me, and I appreciate getting out of the house more often. This may sound silly to those who have had laptops for years, but this is my first one! Well, actually it’s my second (both of which have come from the trash), though my first was buggy even at its best and I never felt comfortable taking it out.

This machine definitely isn’t “top of the line” anymore, but it works perfectly fine for what I use it for. Apple laptops are the best in the business, and I expect this will last me a good while.


Last week began fairly well. I went on Sunday night to a spot in Cote St-Luc that had been productive the few weeks prior. (I forgot to snap a photo, however, so I had to use the one from last week).


There were two large garbage bags totally full of family photo albums, most of which seemed to be from the 70s and 80s. I brought them home on the off-chance that there was something older or otherwise cool in there, but there wasn’t much. It seems like a shame, though these people might have just taken too many photos, like some people do today. I put them back on the curb to meet their fate.

The most notable finds were these two stone carvings. The one on the left is made from some type of green rock and weighs a ton. It looks to me like a three person group hug, though it’s hard to tell that from the photo. The one on the right is made from soapstone. I bet these were expensive originally, but I don’t think there’s much resale value unless the green rock is somehow valuable. If anyone knows what type of stone it is, let us know in the commments!

Otherwise, I saved: a nice vintage toolbox; a heat gun; a bag of tea lights; a candle-holder from Israel; a magazine holder; several small picture frames; and a lettering set.


On Wednesday I decided to make a special trip to check out Pointe-Claire. It’s pretty far away, and not somewhere I want to go regularly because it takes a lot of time and gas money just to get there. However, it was nice to explore the area, and it’s always good to explore different places – it gives you a better chance at coming across a really worthwhile spot.

There were four bags in front of this house, all of which clanged like kitchenwares when kicked. I saved a bunch of dishes, though none of it was particularly notable outside of a large crystal glass pitcher. The best part for me was the change sitting at the bottom of the bags. Much of it was foreign coins (mostly from Mexico) but there was another 4.24$ in Canadian currency, including one loonie.


I came across this spot a little later on. Inside an open box was a collection of sewing magazines, most of which were from the 40s and 50s (but also one from the 20s). The coolest was titled “Make and mend for victory,” which was published in 1942 during WWII. Otherwise, I brought home: a cute glass dish; some patches; a wooden box with some hermetically sealed smoked salmon inside (not sure if I’m brave enough to try the salmon, but at least the box is nice); a little portable mirror, one side of which features a photo (probably from the 1950s) of a museum in Prince Rupert, B.C.); and a cute painting of horses by someone named Irène.


I also saw this cool old organ. It’s a shame this was curbed as it appeared to be in good condition, but there was no way I was getting it in the car!


Going out of my way again, I went to Lachine on Thursday night. It’s a nice neighborhood with lots of potential for good garbage, but came away with only a pair of rollerblades. I was feeling really confident I’d find something, but as usual the location of good garbage is impossible to predict. It was a good reminder not to take gut feelings very seriously – I would have been better off spending that time relaxing.

Still, I wanted to make another find – my blog post was looking like it was going to be pretty bare! I decided to do an “old school” run by bike and trailer to the eastern part of the Plateau on Friday evening. I used to do the route religiously, every Tuesday and Friday. However, I’ve barely done it in recent months – especially since the car era began – despite it being only a short bike ride away and the source of many a good find. It simply fell out of favor, mostly because it has a tendency to boom and bust (but mostly bust). Still, I felt like exploring the neighborhood, hoping the unpredictability of garbage would provide me something nice. I also felt like biking for a change.

The run was mostly bare, as I sort of expected given that it was still the middle of the month. However, I did come across a spot that provided what I was looking for – something to talk about. There were several bags in this one area near Fabre and Mont-Royal that contained some miscellaneous junk, some of which seemed to have come from a shed.


I looked in one of the bags and spotted a nice pair of virtually brand-new CCM Alpine skates.


Upon pulling them out, I noticed a little surprise underneath.


It was a plastic container full of change, conveniently taped up so that I wouldn’t have to pick around the bottom of the bag to collect it all. There was 14.46$ in total, including a loonie. I find change often enough that I got a TD bank account specifically to use their free change-sorting machines, but it usually only comes a few coins or dollars at a time. Oddly enough, both times I’ve found large collections of change it’s been in the Plateau, the other time being a jar with around 25$ inside that I came across nearly a year ago on a cold, January night. It was only a couple blocks away too, come to think of it.

Edit: I almost forgot about another collection of change, again just a few few blocks away, that I found while walking with my mom last June! That pile totaled 13.82$. For the record, I think this is more of a strange coincidence than proof that Plateau residents throw out their change in droves.

I don’t really get people throwing out their change, especially loonies. It seems even a bit offensive, particularly in the Plateau where this person could have walked half a block and given it to someone in need. Regardless, it made my trip worthwhile! I also recovered a couple of slides, which I’ll likely leave on the curb for someone else to find.

Last week’s garbage sales (November 10 – November 16)

-Merlin (vintage electonic game): to a roommate for 5$. I didn’t ask for anything, but he insisted on giving me 5$ for it. I always accept money when people insist more than once. He might sample its very 1980s sounds for use in music. Found in TMR (but not mentioned on the blog) two weeks ago.
-Vintage sterling silver rosary: on eBay for 54$. Found in Verdun back in May.
-Vintage brass ashtray (Simon Arzt cigarettes): on eBay for 30$. Found in TMR December of last year.
-Shimano bike shoes: on eBay for 45$. From a spot in Rosemont that provided a bunch of great bike stuff, including a few bike locks with keys included.
-Signed photo of Marlene Dietrich: on eBay for 38$. Found in April with the Nazi passport in the Golden Square Mile.
-Quaker Oats “Big Inch” deed of land (promotion): on eBay for 22$. Found nearly a year ago in the Plateau. I’m glad to see this go, as I procrastinated about listing it for quite some time before doing so this week.
-Small change: processed in the TD bank change machine for 31.90$. Includes the totals found this week.

Total: 225.90$, 5789.65$ since May 18th. A pretty good week! eBay sales seem to be picking up a bit as the holidays near.

New listings

I felt inspired to get some jewelry up on Etsy this week, after largely neglecting the store for quite some time. I started to remember how much money I used to make off it, and also don’t find some things (like guessing the shipping costs) as stressful as I used to. Check out the link to my Etsy store below if you’re curious – the top 12 items are all new.

“Big Inch” deed of land (SOLD!)
The Source Book encyclopedia – complete set
Canadian Municipal Manual, 1917 book
Canadian Commercial Corporations, 1916 book
Set of early 1900s Quebec law books
Samsung Galaxy phone (locked to Virgin)
iPhone 4 (for parts, repair)
Lot of 3 Blackberrys (for parts, repair)
Lot of 27 Japanese travel brochures

Link to my 133 eBay listings
Link to Etsy store
Like “Things I find in the garbage” on Facebook

Note: I offer local buyers a (often significant) discount on all eBay and Etsy prices. Email me for more details.

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!

What is wrong with this picture?


Last week began with a Sunday night run to Cote St-Luc. I went mostly to check on a recently-sold house that’s been somewhat productive recently. This time around the garbage gods offered me a Nikon film camera (with case and another lens); a collection of softballs and baseballs; two frisbees; a nice crystal glass ashtray; a portable radio; and a bundle of thin candles.

It’s always nice finding film cameras. The market (especially in my area of Montreal) seems to be pretty strong these days and I shouldn’t have any trouble unloading it.


This spot in Ville St-Laurent produced most of my best finds of the week. It was heavy garbage day, which in VSL means you can put out whatever you want. This stuff looked to be the remains of someone cleaning out a house. The boxes were mostly filled with old books and decades worth of National Geographic magazines.

From the many boxes I saved: a complete set of 1926 “The Source Book” encyclopedias; a complete set of 1937 “World’s Popular Encyclopedias”; a collection of Canadian and Quebec law books from the early 1900s; books about insurance law and industrial psychology; beautiful tomes on the topics of municipal and commercial law (from 1917 and 1916 respectively); a series of Canadian Annual Reviews from the 20s and 30s; an early 50s “Royal Romance” magazine by the Daily Mail; two nice old missals from the early 50s (with an embroidered lithograph of Pope John VI tucked away inside); a few of the older National Geographic magazines; a photo book about the death of President Kennedy; a 1946 copy of Tolstoi’s “Anna Karenine”; “New book of stories for the young,” written by Mary Howitt and published in 1850; a cool book about pure-breed dogs published by the American Kennel Club in 1935; and an interesting but horribly backwards book about heredity, featuring some now reprehensible views on eugenics.


Apart from all the books, I also saved a great old hand-carved jewellery box, a cute old picture frame, and a box of vintage “Made in Canada” mason jars.


This little pile wasn’t too far away. I took away two nice vintage lampshades and a few good picture frames.


This was an odd find. This plaque, made from some type of hardboard, commemorates the thousands of Irish that died from ship fever (typhus) while coming to Canada to escape from famine in 1847 and 1848. Most died at a quarantine facility on Grosse Île, an island near Quebec City. I’m not sure if it’s actually from 1909, but I imagine it’s quite old either way. It definitely tells an interesting story! My guess is that it had been in a garage or basement for quite some time. If anyone has anything to add to the story let us know in the comments.


On the way home I took a little detour through Hampstead. I originally stopped just to take a photo of all the junk left behind from Halloween decorating, but decided to take a closer look when I saw a “fun-sized” box of Smarties on the sidewalk. It lay right next to a bag that squirrels had chewed a hole through. When I opened the bag I found five large boxes (four unopened) of Halloween candy. It had just expired so maybe whoever it was didn’t want to hold onto it for another year. Either way, my room-mates and I gorged ourselves for days! It’s finally (and thankfully!) all gone, as of yesterday.

Speaking of halloween-related waste, t’is the season for tossing away perfectly good pumpkins! I think lots of people forget that you can totally eat pumpkins. Just to clarify, these aren’t jack-o-lanterns, which I personally wouldn’t eat, but complete pumpkins used for decoration. My room-mate has made a couple of these into food (soup as well as muffins) but a few still need to be processed before they truly go rotten.

The rest of the week was pretty slow. I came up mostly empty in Mount Royal, outside of one spot that produced a painting easel, 1.35$ in Canadian tire money, and a mound of small change (but including one loonie). I didn’t go on much of a run on Thursday, though I did find a nice vintage / antique office chair (made by PH Krug of Kitchener) on Drummond in the Golden Square Mile. Friday’s run in Cote St-Paul was complete dud!

Last week’s garbage sales (November 3 – November 9)

-Tobacco pipe: to a reader for 5$. From my last post.
-Blue glass cups, figurines: to a reader for 10$. The cups were from Mount Royal, the figurines from Park Ex.
-EG&G flash tube: on eBay for 46$. Found last heavy garbage day in Ville St Laurent.
-Rollei camera filters: on eBay for 116$. Nice sale! I listed this early last week, and it sold within a day. Found last week in Mount Royal.

Total: 177$, 5563.75$ since May 18th. A solid, move the chains type of week.

New listings

Rollei color filters, hood (SOLD!)
Old Spice shaving mug and two razors
Vintage cigar cutter / utility knife
Frontenac Export Ale vintage bottle opener, copyright 1912
Grindley England Electrolux mug
Three lids for vintage Pyrex refrigerator dishes
Vintage Telefunken portable radio

Link to my 129 eBay listings
Link to my Etsy store

Note: I offer local buyers a (often significant) discount on all eBay prices. Email me for more details.

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!