It was bound to happen eventually. I finally got a ticket for trash picking in Mount Royal after receiving three previous warnings (first, second, the third I don’t think I bothered to mention).

To clarify, some boroughs of Montreal have their own government and bylaws. While trash picking is legal (or, at the very least the laws are never enforced) in most of the city, some parts of town have laws against it. One of those boroughs is the Town of Mount Royal (TMR), a wealthy suburban community not too far away from my place in the Plateau.

I knew that it was probably just a matter of time before I got a ticket. It’s just that the trash there has been too good to give up on. TMR has lots of money and a rich history – a profitable combination for a trash picker like me. It’s also great that it’s not too far from home.

My strategy has just been to avoid the local security guys as much as possible. It’s worked pretty well, considering that I’m there nearly every week but have only had a few previous encounters.


That night felt a bit like a game of cat and mouse. I kept seeing this security guy driving around, but they can’t seem to do much as long as I’m in or just entering my car. I successfully dodged him on a few occasions, but he did eventually catch up with me.

I saw that white SUV for the umpteenth time that night and drove into the side roads to lose him. I stopped not long after because I wanted to check out the picture frame in the picture above. If I were being super cautious I wouldn’t have stopped so soon, but I figured I was probably just being paranoid. Before I got out of the car I checked my rear-view mirror; I thought I saw a SUV moving slowly in the distance (maybe 150m behind me), but decided it was an illusion because the headlights weren’t on.

I noticed the SUV bearing down – lights still off – on my position while checking out the frame. (Whether rent-a-cops should be allowed to drive down roads at midnight with no lights on is another question entirely). I figured I was screwed, as I wasn’t about to run to the car and drive off really quick, and accepted my fate. The cat (who’s definitely not like Thomasina the enchanted cat from my last post!) had pounced and caught their prey.

The specific bylaw is 1358 37(1): “No person shall… rummage through a container or bin of refuse, commercial refuse, construction refuse, hazardous household waste, bulky refuse, recoverable secondary materials or yard waste.” The fine is 220$, a fairly hefty sum for someone like me.

I haven’t decided what to do about it yet. I’m definitely angry, as I think the bylaw is dumb on many different counts. However, it’d be hard to fight since I clearly committed the “crime.” The only way I could possibly fight it, at least in my layman’s interpretation of the law, is to go big and try to argue that it’s my right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be able to rummage through materials that are clearly abandoned. I’d love to fight it, not just for myself but also on behalf of trash pickers across the country (some of whom are already marginalized) who are punished by these sorts of laws.

However, my (somewhat spite motivated) fantasy is probably pretty far-fetched and would involve a tonne of resources I don’t have. I’ll likely end up having to pay the ticket. Whether this effects my trash picking habits remains to be seen. I don’t really have anywhere else to go on Tuesday night so the temptation to return is strong. I may just have to be more cautious, though at a certain point that cautiousness morphs into a paranoia which I don’t at all enjoy.

Despite the fine I still managed to load the car with trash. Here are the things I saved that the Town of Mount Royal would apparently prefer to destroy. It’s worth noting that I could have saved way more, but I only have so much time, space, and energy to work with.

I saved the picture frame from the photo above; …


… a box full of books, including copies of The Plague by Camus and Walden by Thoreau;


… an interesting clay sculpture;


… an unexciting but functional shoe rack;


… a cool trunk;


… a Waterloo Shop Series tool chest (which goes new for around 150+ shipping);


… a nice framed print (perhaps an old engraving?);


… a lamp;


… a stack of records,


… including three unusual medical LPs which I presume are lectures on the various topics;


… a nice plant, which unfortunately broke a bit when it was placed into the bag;


… and three books full of 1980s baseball cards. None are super valuable, but they’re fun to look at.



I made plenty of nice finds over the last couple of weeks, including these four sealed bottles of booze. They were wrapped in paper and placed in a black trash bag. This is actually the first time I’ve ever found a closed bottle of modern booze – the Smirnoff could just as well have come right from the shelf of the SAQ. There was also a port wine that seems new enough, a low alcohol chardonnay which I left on the curb (where it was found by someone else), and a bottle of a Gilbey’s Golden Velvet whisky. The bottle of whisky is marked as being from 1967, and I should probably do a bit more research to see if it has any value.


The same people tossed out a bunch of other decent stuff, including a seemingly brand new Bionaire heater, several flower pots, a coffee grinder, and a pair of skates. There was a “sold” sign out front of their very nice house, meaning the purge was likely due to their impending move. Maybe the tossed heater means they’re moving somewhere warmer!


While taking a walk in Verdun a friend and I came across around 7-8 bags full of books. Most were paperbacks from the 60s-70s, which I like for their often eccentric covers. There were several classics, including a few by George Orwell, but I also saved a selection of kitschy, weird, and comically dated novels. For whatever reason I get a kick out of having those at my yard sales. My favourites might be the four novels about cats (at the bottom), one of which is Thomasina, “the beloved story of an enchanted cat and the lives she changed forever.”


There were a few older books, including this very nice 1895 copy of Through the Looking Glass.


I also saved several vintage burlap sacks. A couple sold for 1$ each at my most recent yard sale.


I found a nice little bottle collection not far from my home in the Plateau. I sold all but one at my most recent yard sale for 1$ each (a good deal!). I kept the JL Corriveau champagne bottle (second from left), which looks to be a bit older than the others. I’ll do a bit more research before letting it go.


That spot also gave me an old scale, some glass insulators, two vintage cigarette packs …


… and this old cast iron doohickey. Any ideas what it might be? It measures about 8″ long and wide, with a part that points upwards at an angle.



I otherwise saved a big vintage lard tin, which now acts as my kitchen trash bin (Rosemont); …



… a bag full of cables,


… some of which were MIT audiophile cables that I might be able to sell for decent price (Mount Royal);


… a token commemorating the 100th anniversary of a Hungarian opera house;



… a box of junk, inside of which was some silver jewelry, a vase, and a crappy cell phone (Montreal West);



… two man-cavey fake road signs (24 Manny Ramirez Drive and something A-Rod Way if I remember right) that I sold for 2$ each (Montreal West);


… boxes and boxes of 90s porn mags (Montreal West);


… a nice stand, which I’ve since put in my room (Westmount adjacent);


… a bag with real leopard fur inside (Mount Royal);


… some great silver plate pieces (Mount Royal);



… an antique sewing machine attached to a busted table (I was able to remove the machine from the table, and sold it at my sale for 5$ – Mount Royal);


… and an old Bell & Howell 8mm projector (Mount Royal). I listed on Kijiji for 50$.

I made a very nice sale last week. I’ll let you know what it was in my upcoming sales summary post, which should be out later this week. In the meantime, let’s hope that the good finds continue! I haven’t found gold in a while, so some of that would be nice…

Recent sales (September 28 to October 11)

September was a pretty crappy month for sales overall, but things really picked up once the calendar turned to October. I made nearly a thousand overall, my best total in quite some time. I feel a bit more optimistic that I can meet my 20k goal now, especially with the holidays approaching.

I plan on doing a yard sale this weekend. Depending on the weather it could be the last of the season so come on out! It’ll be at 5051 Brebeuf, and I’ll be out there from around 11-5pm.

Now, to the sales:


1. iPhone 4S: On Kijiji for 70$. The screen was cracked but the phone otherwise worked fine. Found in the Plateau earlier this year.


2. Voigtlander slide projector: On Kijiji for 50$. Found a little over a month ago in Mount Royal.

3. Yard sales: 283.50$ (192.25$ + 91.25$). It was nice to get a couple decent sales in.


4. Vintage can camera: On eBay for 30$. This sold within a day of being listed. Found August 2015 in Hampstead.


5. Polaroid film, expired 1983: On eBay for 50$. This listing was for the two on the far left – I already sold on the ones on the right for 60$. Not bad for old film! Found with the slide projector in Mount Royal.

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6. Spica transistor radio: On eBay for 65$. Another quick seller! Found a few weeks ago in Hampstead.


7. George Orwell’s Animal Farm, early Polish edition: On eBay for 150$. A nice haul for a cool book! It was printed in 1947 by the League of Poles Abroad in London. The binding is very basic and economical, intended for distribution to a country devastated by the Second World War. It was in remarkable shape considering its age and materials used, not to mention the fact that it was tossed in a recycling bin. Found June 2015 in Mount Royal.


8. Nova Eborac colonial coin, dated 1787: On eBay for 286$. This was one of many cool old coins I found at a strange spot in Verdun. The coins were casually tossed in a black bag along with some food waste (“normal” garbage) and a few ripped up photographs. Makes me wonder if someone was going through a divorce and tossed them out of spite.


I listed the coin only recently. I had plans on getting it authenticated, but in the end I just decided to list is as it was. I had some nice close-up shots, which I figured would be enough for most collectors. It ended up selling for a bit more than I expected, so I guess it all worked out! Found back in November of 2014.

Total: 984.50$, 15241.25$ since the new year began.