Miscellaneous finds from weeks past


Here’s some assorted finds from the last few weeks! A bag in Cote St-Luc produced a small coin collection, an old Romanian bill, and some other doodads. I also found a light meter, but this light meter collector (who seems to know their stuff) described it as “junk.” Apparently Sekonic made some good meters, but this is not one of them.


The oldest coin was a beat up 1905 Canadian silver quarter. I added it to my scrap collection, which I recently exchanged for a nice payday.


In NDG I found a neat photocopied drawing, titled “The Monetary Maze,” which looks to extol the virtues of unfettered free-market capitalism. According to the artist, economic management of any kind causes inflation, hurts economic growth, and “will ultimately seal the death warrant of all other freedoms as well.” I disagree entirely with the premise, but the maze itself is pretty well drawn and the idea behind it is interesting. The paper was a bit too large for my scanner, so the title as well as a hand-drawn heart below the initials “FRO” are cut out of the picture.


This note was once stapled to the front of the drawing.


I came across this cool “Cirque du Soleil” watch in Outremont. It has a distinctive look, owing to the fact that the clock arms have been replaced with colorful hoops. I found it new in its original wooden box, which was still sealed in plastic. I replaced the battery and now it works great, though I’ll have to find someone to press the back on again. One just like it sold on eBay for 130$, and I expect mine to go for a bit more.


Otherwise, I saved two 1978 tax guides in Montreal West (love the graphic design!);


… an antique metronome (TMR);


… a roughly half-pack of Viscount cigarettes, on the back of which is written the date June 12, 1978 (Montreal West);



… a cool chalkware wall hanging (CSL);


… a well-used vintage cast iron dutch oven (Point St-Charles);


… an old cheque for the grand sum of 1000$ (or, as written here, “ten hundred” – NDG);

… this figurine, which I actually found on my birthday (CSL);


… and what looks to be a stuffed baby crocodile (TMR). The skin looks pretty real, as do the teeth. It’s sewn up the bottom, and looks to have been filled with some type of straw. I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it before, and I wouldn’t mind if I never saw anything like it again!

29 thoughts on “Miscellaneous finds from weeks past”

  1. Stuffed alligators, real ones, were very common in the 50s being sold at every tourist location in Florida. Now, of course, they are illegal. BYW, baby alligators are striped, maybe they dye the skin.

  2. Awww … random birthday wishes. The Gods of Garbage were looking kindly on you.

    I love that $1,000 cheque … in the written amount is written “Ten hundred”! 🙂

    I saw a few of those taxidermy baby crocodiles/alligators on ebay and etsy, with asking prices in the $25-$29 USD range. Yours has a damaged tail and isn’t standing too well on his legs, so not so much. Examples: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Vintage-Taxidermy-Mount-STUFFED-BABY-ALLIGATOR-Crocodile/291634746079 & http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Taxidermy-Mount-Stuffed-Baby-Alligator-Crocodile-Reptile-2-/252122954311?nma=true&si=qmzY3EGVQfnDsBFcTJCX5XvsP2Y%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    1. I forgot to mention the “ten hundred,” which was my favourite part of the cheque. I just edited it to mention that. I’d say mine’s in similar condition to that one actually. It might be worth eBaying.

    1. Gal? I do find cool things in the trash, but that bit is definitely off! Thanks for linking regardless.

  3. how much for the used dutch oven? what are the dimensions? width by depth? inside enamel still ok? we would use for bread,could give the recipe should you be interested,(easiest bread I”ve met,even when it fails,it’s still great 😉 (bakery “Miche” big round loaf,heavy,moist,not air,old school european 😉 (for those hungry winter picking runs 😉

  4. Stuffed alligators were a popular souvenier from Florida in the States.

  5. Oooh, I like the look of that pendant with the Egyptian-looking head. Are you selling it?

    I just recently discovered your blog and am enjoying reading your posts. You find some amazing stuff. (The stuffed alligator is just creepy though.) I look forward to going to one of your garage sales one of these days!

    1. I had planned on putting it out at a yard sale. I might do one this weekend, if the weather is nice (things are looking good thus far). I’ll post updates on the blog / facebook page.

  6. The chart illustrating un-fettered capitalism is quite elegant! What I continue not to understand is how folks who hold these ideas/convictions (in some cases very passionately) manage to ignore the much vaster ecosystems within which our human cultures/theories exist. Bless you for pursuing a less-consumptive life path AND sharing some of what you find and learn with all of us via your blog.

  7. Hi Martin,

    I found this podcast from the public radio program “backstory”, called “ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE A HISTORY OF TRASH”, that is a little over 52 minutes long. I thought it was interesting, as it might be to you and your readers. Here is the link: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/trash/?autoplay=true

    P.S. Happy belated birthday!

  8. Pointe-Claire man combs garbage for charity

    ‘Happiest man in the world,’ raised more than $12K foraging for recyclables

    By Morgan Dunlop, CBC News Posted: Dec 28, 2015 4:06 PM ET| Last Updated: Dec 28, 2015 4:11 PM ET

    Maurice Parkes says his bottles and cans scavenger hunt started a few years ago as a friendly competition.
    Maurice Parkes says his bottles and cans scavenger hunt started a few years ago as a friendly competition. (CBC)








    Photo of Morgan Dunlop

    Morgan Dunlop

    Morgan Dunlop is a reporter with CBC Montreal.
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    An 82-year-old Pointe-Claire man has been rifling through people’s trash in the West Island.

    But don’t be alarmed. His goal is to find bottles and cans he can sell to raise money for charity.

    Maurice Parkes says it started in 2012 as a competition between friends and “a bit of a joke.”

    “A fellow from the other congregation challenged me to raise $1,000. Then we did that and we teased him a bit and he said ‘I bet you can’t raise $10,000.'”

    Never one to back down from a challenge, Parkes and his friends raised more than $12,000.

    ‘A big help,’ says food bank

    The Christian Action Food Bank in Pointe-Claire is one of the local charities Parkes supports. Volunteer Jack Fraser says the help allows the food bank to buy more food to supplement their deliveries.

    People are so kind. I’ve never seen so much kindness.

    – Maurice Parkes

    “Most churches are struggling. There’s a smaller group of people contributing. With this, there’s an added injection of cash,” says Fraser.

    One of Parkes’ friends, Lynn Coughlin, says the initiative is a great way to get out in the community and see how generous the neighbours are. He says he’s often mistaken for someone in need of charity.

    “I can understand why they would wonder. You know, ‘That poor unfortunate, he seems to need to forage,'” says Coughlin.

    ‘Happiest man in the world’

    Parkes, who calls himself “the happiest man in the world,” credits his more than 50-year marriage and the generosity he sees while combing garbage bins for his bliss.

    He says strangers often approach him wanting to help, offering home cooked meals or slipping cash into his hands.

    “People are so kind. I’ve never seen so much kindness. Everyone wants to help,” says Parkes.

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    1. At least he is grabbing the whole can or bottle.

      A while back there was yet another story about someone collecting the pull tabs from cans to raise money. There is an urban legend that these have some premium, but thy don’t. Just the value in metal. The deposit on a can is worth more.

      I’ve seen it shrugged off, “the tabs take up less room”, but since it takes a lot of pull tabs, that isn’t true. For the same amount of income the can deposits bring in the money faster.


      1. Re: Michael Black’s comment about pull tabs. I have been saving these for years (and so have a number of other people I know). Hereabouts, the tabs can be left at the hospital or a local depanneur once a quantity has been saved. Due to a farm accident, my brother was in a wheelchair since the age of 16, so I thought I was doing my “part,” as t’were (as the proceeds were said to go toward the purchase of wheelchairs) in saving these tabs. Well Michael’s comment sent me a-Googling. Bottom line, saving pull tabs is not at all worth the effort, as Michael says. From now on, I’m just recycling the cans with their tabs, or, as I live in la belle province, I’ll take the intact Québec-produced cans in for my 5-cents per and let the metal recyclers take care of them. Thanks for the illumination, Michael. There’ll be no more slicing fingers trying to get the ding-danged tabs off for me! 🙂


    Griffintown residents not allowed to retrieve their belongings

    Residents say problems with building started when construction began on condo project next door

    By Melissa Fundira, CBC NewsPosted: Apr 10, 2016 10:40 PM ET|Last Updated: Apr 10, 2016 11:08 PM ET

    Justine Marcotte has lived at 185 de la Montagne for 38 years and was evacuated over a week ago. (CBC)








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    A Griffintown housing co-operative that was evacuated in a rush is so unstable that residents aren’t allowed to retrieve their belongings.

    Cooperative d’Habitation Ste-Anne, at 181 and 185 de la Montagne Street, has faced two evacuations in the last week — once due to a collapsed sidewalk, another time due to an unstable wall.

    Experts have now determined that one of the buildings is at risk of collapsing due to instabilities with its walls and foundation.
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    “The situation is very complex. They looked at what needs to be done, and the solution, unfortunately, is to proceed with demolition,” said Southwest borough Mayor Benoit Dorais told reporters in front of the co-op.

    The building is set to be demolished Sunday night.

    Southwest borough Mayor Benoit Dorais speaks with displaced residents of the Cooperative Ste-Anne Sunday afternoon. (CBC)

    Dorais said residents of that building will not be able to retrieve their belongings for safety reasons.

    One woman was not able to retrieve an urn containing her husband’s ashes.

    Started with condo project next door

    “It all started with the excavation right beside us,” said resident Justine Marcotte.

    Marcotte has lived at 185 de la Montagne for 38 years, was one of the people who established Cooperative Ste-Anne and is now its treasurer.

    She was evacuated on April 1.

    “It’s very hard emotionally. Now it’s been over a week with the ups and downs. Nobody wants to take responsibility for it. We didn’t do nothing wrong. We just happen to be beside the site,” she said.

    Marcotte and other residents of the Cooperative Ste-Anne said they only started having trouble with their building when construction began on a new condominium next door.

    The Brickfields condo construction site is being developed by Maître Carré, whose project was praised by mayor Dorais for its plans to incorporate Keegan House — Griffintown’s oldest house — into the design.

    Part of the Cooperative Ste-Anne can be seen on the left side of this picture of plans for the neighbouring Brickfields condominium project, which includes Keegan House (Maître Carré)

    Though the developer has been praised for its attention to the tiny heritage home, co-op residents said their building should be afforded the same courtesy.

    “This is heritage. These are the last houses of Griffintown, the old houses,” Marcotte said.

    She added that the construction seemed to be negligent.

    “They knew these houses were old houses, they’re 100 years old. They should’ve taken many more precautions.”


    RAW: Keegan House on the move0:33

    Could be homeless

    Some of the evacuated residents found housing with relatives while 10 others have been taken in by the Red Cross until Monday.

    If they tear it down, rebuild… all we want is our co-op back.- Justine Marcotte, longtime co-op resident

    Once the the building is demolished, some residents may become homeless.

    Marcotte called on the mayor and the city to support those displaced by the demolition.

    “If they tear it down, rebuild. It can’t cost that much, it’s not that big of a building, ” she said.

    “All we want is our co-op back.”

    Heritage Montreal has denounced and questioned the decision to demolish the building, adding that firefighters recently demolished another building nearby after a fire.

    “We must find a way to ensure that accidents do not automatically translate into a loss for heritage,” Heritage Montreal policy director Dinu Bumbaru said.

    “That means that the fire department should be recognized as a partner with homework, not just an authority.”

    Mayor Dorais said Sunday’s priority was safety but more answers were soon to come.

    “Everything will be settled in the coming days, including an effort to look into what happened, the sequence of events, [and] everyone’s involvement,” Dorais said.

    He added that the city would be working towards finding the best way to assist uninsured residents.

    Marcotte was skeptical that things would go their way if the city didn’t make a concerted effort to rebuild the co-op.

    “If they don’t save us, they’re going to build a 15 tower-[storey] condo, I’m pretty sure of that.”

    With files from René Saint-Louis/Radio-Canada

  10. Families lose everything as Griffintown building is torn down
    0 0 Posted on 4/11/2016 4:39 AM by James Foster
    Photo: Cosmo Santamaria/CTV Montreal
    Demolition crews spent the night tearing down a building in Griffintown, leaving many families distraught as they watched their homes and personal belongings destroyed.

    Residents were forced from the building Saturday by emergency crews when a sinkhole caused one of the building’s walls to become unstable.

    Jocelyn Marcotte and her sisters were among the residents who were not allowed back inside, even to get personal belongings.

    “Of course we have insurance, but you can never replace what you have. Furniture you can replace, but I’m sorry – there are things that you can’t,” she told CTV Montreal with tears in her eyes.

    Nicole Bagnato said she was forced out before being able to grab her most precious possession, her husband’s urn.

    Families lose everything as Griffintown building torn down @CTVMontreal pic.twitter.com/BUOVt50CvX

    — Cosmo Santamaria (@cosmoCTV) April 11, 2016
    The building housing the Ste. Anne Coop at 181 – 191 de la Montagne St. dates back to the 19th century, and residents said problems began when work started on a new condo development next door.

    The Brickfields condo project began construction last year, and in December developers moved the Keegan House, Griffintown’s oldest house, and will move it back to its original location to incorporate the home into the lobby of the condominium building.

    “I would’ve expected more of an effort to go in to making sure [the Ste. Anne Coop] stayed the way it was” said resident Shawn Amyot.

    De la Montagne St. will remain closed between Wellington and Ottawa until at least Tuesday.

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  11. The city makes excuses to not allow residents to not even retrieve their important personal belongings within 24 hours.This situation is not like a fire-the whole building would not have come down on its own so soon.City managers are extremely callous and heartless—-you should have seen residents who have lived there for more than 30 years.They were sobbing and wailing.They lost their homes and belongings for no fault of their own.A lot of buildings have structural problems.The city should not have the right to not allow the residents to retrieve their belongings in such cases.All the apartments were still standing.City was playing too safe and thus causing untold grief to residents.

    1. It’s a shame. From what I can tell, between this, the Mount Stephen Club, and lots of other things the city seems to be doing a half-ass job preserving our classic architecture. Not to mention the likely pointless loss of items in this case.

  12. Did you ever scavenge on Ponsard,Saranac,Jacques Grenier or Snowdon street in the NDG-Cote Des Neiges borough between Villa Maria and Snowdon metro?Did you find anything of value there?

    1. I pass by them sometimes. They’re a bit awkward to get to, so I don’t go there as often as some of the other streets in the area. Otherwise, no luck there yet, though I do expect that there’s some interesting stuff in the area.

  13. I’ve been picking on and off since I was little. It’s incredible what people toss out. Though I don’t venture into the bags, out of fear of what I’ll find – the bad stuff but also the good stuff. Stuff so good it’ll feed my addiction until all I do is rifle through trash. Which might not be a bad thing.

    Montreal’s nice, but rifling when I lived in Europe was incredible. You find stuff hundreds of years old. And diving for produce at the fresh markets you’ll never shop at the grocery again.

    1. I can only imagine. I’m a particular fan of more recent history, and Montreal provides well for that era. The dumpster diving is good here too. I don’t do it much anymore though, as I don’t have time / have gotten out of the habit of cooking.

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