I came across this spot a little over a month ago and found so much neat stuff (some of which dated back to the late 1800s) that it stressed me out. I was dealing with some burnout / overworking issues even before stopping here, and adding two carloads of stuff to research, photograph, pack away, and so on sure didn’t help matters!
I’ll share some of the other finds in a future post. This one will focus on the large postcard collection that I found in the recycling bin. I’d guess there are around 400 in total, but I’m only going to share around 140 here. I’d love to share them all, but it’s a pretty time consuming process so I decided to just pick out my favourites, or at least the ones I thought were most interesting. It would have been nice to scan them as well, but the photos will have to do.
Most of the postcards seem to date from the early 1900s to the 1960s. A few are from later, maybe the 70s and 80s. Most are unused, but some were written on and mailed out. I’d say most originate from Quebec and Eastern Canada, but there are also some from the States (especially New York), Western Canada, and other countries.
Click on the picture if you want to zoom in for a better look! This particular photo came out a little bit blurry, but the rest are a fair bit better.
I’m always a sucker for old hotel postcards. Those old buildings just look so distinguished.
These postcards feature dumb jokes, jokes I don’t understand, and holiday greetings. The one at top right is just creepy. Was there ever a time that it wasn’t?
This postcard was one of my favourites. It’s printed in a way that gives it a cool texture and depth. I’d guess it was made in the 1920s.
These are all from the Montreal area. The “Caughnawaga historique” up top is actually a booklet full of different postcards. The Prince of Wales Hotel postcard on the right proudly notes that it has running water in every room. The hotel once sat at 1421 McGill College, but from looking at Google street view the building appears to be long gone.
There were plenty of postcards featuring the RCMP, including one titled: “Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Indian” (middle right).
These ones have a Canadian military theme. Some were mailed, sent out by an RCAF serviceman in 1941. I expect they were all printed during WWII.
I thought these were part of a set, but I realize now that the one on the right isn’t related to the other two. That one is the weirdest of the lot; its title is “begging lepers,” and the image is about what you’d expect.
My guess is that the real photograph postcards with handwritten (or hand-etched? I’m not sure how the script was added to the photos) descriptions tend to be more uncommon than the others. I’m not sure of that though, so if anyone knows better teach us a lesson in the comments! Most of these are from places in Quebec. The Chateau Frontenac postcard at the bottom is very cool, and might be worth listing on eBay.
Let’s finish up with these guys. On the left is a photo of a band (specifically, the Vancouver Kitsilano Boys’ Band) that apparently won something during the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Their conductor was Arthur Delamont, who is notable enough to merit a Canadian Encyclopedia page.
On the right is a photo of Mount Eisenhower as taken by Byron Harmon, an early photographer of the Canadian Rockies. This postcard must have been printed between 1946 and 1979, because before and after those dates the peak was named Castle Mountain. Apparently the powers that be decided to rename it in honour of General Dwight D Eisenhower after WWII, but it didn’t go over particularly well with the general public.
Pretty cool collection eh? I like postcards because they’re like little windows into the past. They’re definitely fun to look through, especially when you find them in the trash and don’t know what you’re going to see next.