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 thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy reading your comments!

22 thoughts on “What is wrong with this picture?”

  1. so awesome,
    a note about the carved box, it shows a Polish Highlander of the Tatra mountains dancing with a decorative czupaga (sp?), his outfit would have been made of felted wool, the flower to the right is a szarotka or eidelweiss

    1. my pleasure, also the man would have been called a “Goral” since he lived in the mountains, the box is probably from the 1950s-60s, purchased/gifted as a souvenir

  2. If you’re interested, the art in the frame is “The Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan van Eyck.

    Have you found a market before for those kinds of old encyclopedias and law books? I doubt you’ll have any problem finding buyers for the Royal Romance and Kennedy books.

    Those cameras were worth a pretty penny back in the day.

    Baseballs! Keeping any? 😀

    Re: the Hibernian sign, the stone carved version can be seen here http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bloxsom/bnrhomepg/grosiletrp/grindex.htm and here on the Library and Archives site http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/grosse-ile/021023-119.01-e.php?&gallery_id_nbr=295&q1=3100&page_sequence_nbr=1&&PHPSESSID=0urop2nn23a31q7oee33hnb903 The Monument’s re-dedication in 2009 http://irishamerica.com/2009/10/100th-anniversary-of-celtic-cross-at-grosse-ile/

    I’d be interested in knowing why the same words are on your wooden board. I’m thinking maybe it was the item given to the stone worker to copy from when he was incising the text for the monument. Perhaps you could contact the Library and Archives about this. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-grosse-ile-1832-1937/Pages/immigrants-grosse-ile.aspx

    That eugenics book is quite the item! Crazy that it was a textbook at one time. “Amram Scheinfeld’s 1939 You and Heredity was a bestseller, a hit not only with the general public, but also with life scientists.” http://www.textbookhistory.com/tag/you-and-heredity/ There are a few copies on ebay http://www.ebay.ca/sch/sis.html?_nkw=YOU%20AND%20HEREDITY%20Book%20Scheinfeld%201939%20Genetics&_itemId=131229669635

    1. There is a market for older encyclopedias (such as the Source Books), but not for newer ones. Even encyclopedia sets from the 60s are pretty much just good for recycling.

      I’m keeping the baseballs!

      I have some figuring out to do about the Irish plaque. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. I collect National Geographic magazines and rescue the ones that I find in recycling bins for my own collection.I hope someone saved the National Geographic magazines that you did not take.I live in Brossard and I trash-pick while walking my dog.Do you ever do Brossard?

  4. How often is heavy garbage pickup day in Ville St.Laurent?You seem to find a lot of great stuff on Ville St.Laurent on heavy garbager pick-up days.Other boroughs do not seem to have them.Do you see more scavengers in Ville St.Laurent than in Town of Mount Royal?Want to know

    1. It’s once a month, but there are four different sectors for garbage in Ville St Laurent so it’s actually 4. Other boroughs have them but it’s not quite as notable. TMR, for example, has one every two weeks, but the only difference between it and a non-heavy garbage day is that you’re allowed to put out furniture. There are definitely more pickers in VSL than TMR, though I wouldn’t say it’s bustling either.

  5. The picture of the town of Mont Royal clearly shows it’s night-time when you were trash-searching there.Have you stopped scavenging TMR during the day?

    1. For now yes, though I might get back into it soon. Seeing all those security guys made me change my habits a bit. I figure if I don’t get seen for a while they’ll forget about me.

  6. Most charities do not even accept newer encyclopedias.But my aunt rescued a beautiful set of encyclopedias from the trash last year.They were from the eighties,and instead of selling or donating them ,she kereps them for decoration and occasional browsing.She lives in Kirkland,West Island.

    1. Yes, most book sales are now saying they don’t want encyclopedias (or National Geographics), so presumably nobody was buying.

      I wouldn’t pay a lot, but it seems a shame, an actual set of encyclopedias is different from having access via the internet. You can dip into them, and read at random, and they remind you of the days when they were the only thing. There was a time when the library (Maybe it was the school library) had multiple sets, and you could take out a volume at a time of the older set. Take it out for a project, or just to read.

      I once hauled home a 1969 World Book set, $20 at the McGill Book Fair. I had to go home and get something to pull them home with. And then I was stupid enough to let someone talk me out of them, for her school age daughter. That was a mistake,e specially since she eventually dumped them. But it was effort to get that full set home, and any time I’ve seen encyclopedias cheap or lying on the sidewalk, I just haven’t had the means to get them home.

      I have bought encyclopedias on CDROM at book sales, but have never actually done anything about installing them.


  7. Great finds. I am totally amazed by what people throw out. That PH Krug chair is amazing. I’d buy that if I lived in Canada.

    I work for a large university in England, and I’m amazed by the stuff that gets thrown away here, to the point where I have now started to scout the bins and storage areas for discarded stuff. A recent success was a couple of MacBook Air boxes. Obviously users had unboxed the units and ditched the boxes. I sold them both within days on amazon for £16.99 each.

    I’ve also rescued air conditioners/fans, IT cabling, and whenever I sell anything on amazon/ebay, I use the ton of empty cardboard boxes and packaging this place generates to package them up.

    I’m like a pilot fish that swims behind sharks 😉

    Keep up the good work, Tom

      1. I think you can assume that anything by Apple has a resale value, so it’s something I keep an eye out for.

      2. I’ve seen ads locally for people selling boxes, “just the boxes” for things, I can’t remember what brands. That in itself means nothing, people can offer things and find no buyers. But I think I’ve seen local ads where people are offering a little for specific boxes.

        I’ve assumed they suddenly need the box, but tossed theirs out as soon as they got the thing home. But who knows.

        I always check computer boxes, because if they’ve not put something old inside the new box, there may be bits that came with the equipment that they have tossed. I’ve found motherboard boxes that offer up various bits of screws and cables, nothing really great, but can be useful putting together something in the future.

        Something trivial, but I once got a small cloth for cleaning LCD screens out of a Mac box, hardly woth anything, but I needed such a cloth then.


  8. You said that your last trip to Cote St.Paul was a dud.However,I was in Cote St.Paul today morning and found two great cookbooks from 1965 on Biencourt street .I rescued them and a great figurine of an American Indian chief that I found on Champigny street.You have to look carefully in Cote St.Paul.You are likely to find good stuff,either in the recycling bins,in black trash bags or just sitting on the curb.

    1. I definitely think it’s a good neighbourhood for picking, but this business is pretty unpredictable and you can never count on anything week to week. I’ll definitely be back, perhaps in a week or two. Glad you were able to save that stuff, I’m most jealous of the figurine…

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