Moving day 2017

July 1st is a bit of a phenomenon here in Quebec. Due to a law passed in the 70s a plurality of Montrealers, estimated at around 115,000 (or 7% of the population) move on or around that date. This leads to massive amounts of trash lining the streets, particularly the more transient ones where renters vastly outnumber owners (like rue Chapleau in the picture above).

In theory it’s a great time for garbage picking. This year was the first in a few that I wasn’t moving myself on July 1st, so I went on a bunch of extra trash runs in hopes of acquiring a bumper crop of trash.

However, the extra effort didn’t pay off. Maybe it was just bad luck, not being in the right place at the right time. But it might also be that a lot of the people moving on July 1st aren’t rich. It’s not like the McGill move-out day where most of the people are privileged. Those moving on July 1st are renters, not owners, and often aren’t well-to-do.

It also doesn’t help that pretty much everyone in the city knows about the event. There’s a lot of competition, and often I’d come across a pile only to find the bags ripped apart and trash strewn everywhere. I’m sure the garbage collectors hate this aspect of moving day, though I’m sure some appreciate the overtime hours.

It should also be noted that, although this blog is dedicated to the cool things that Montrealers throw out, many people, especially those in mixed-income areas are actually very good at redistributing their unwanted items. Charities get loads of stuff this time of year, and I saw many a “free box” on the curb.

The best part of July 1st is probably the furniture. My friend and I picked up several nice, mostly vintage pieces – they need a bit of love but my friend thinks she can fix them up. If all goes well I’ll share some “before and afters” in a future post. My own household acquired this unusual loveseat, it’s a bit funny looking but actually quite comfortable. Plus, the two halves separate which comes in handy during game nights. You have to be careful about bedbugs when taking furniture, but if you know what an infestation looks like they’re easy enough to avoid.

My best moving day finds actually came not as a result of my increased effort, but from just casually walking around with friends. I found a nice Guerlain perfume, and a bunch of other quality cosmetics / shampoos (which my friend claimed) while walking around the lower Plateau. The Guerlain has already sold for 15$ to a local buyer.

It’s good to trash pick with friends sometimes because there’s a lot to be learned from other people’s brains. One of the shampoos we found was made by Kiehl’s, a brand my friend noted as being expensive. I don’t know much about cosmetics so I made a note to remember the brand. Later on, while walking by myself I found another nearly full bottle of Kiehl’s not far from home. The price tag on the bottom says 27$. Pricey indeed! I’ll probably end up using it myself, even though my hair isn’t particularly frizzy. The shampoo smells really good.

I also found a couple containers filled with change. No loonies or toonies unfortunately, but it all probably adds up to somewhere around 10$. Easy money!

My best moving day find though came on July 2nd while walking with a different friend. I spotted these bags while walking to a restaurant. I gave one of the heavier looking ones a light kick, the contents sounded like dishes clacking together. I wasn’t expecting much, but I figured I’d open it anyways because our house needed a couple extra bowls.

Inside was a large collection of really nicely made pottery. And it wasn’t just that one bag, two others had also been stuffed with pottery. A couple people stopped to watch as I pulled piece after piece out of the bags. One lady, a grandma with two of her grandchildren, was dumbfounded and said she never saw anything like it. I let both kids take a piece each, which were going to be gifts for their mother if I remember right.

Another guy, who said that he himself was a potter, was impressed by the quality of the pieces and said that only 100 potters in Quebec could do them that well. I’ll keep a couple pieces for myself but I’ll sell the rest.

Thankfully my friend was there to help me carry it all back home. I filled two medium sized boxes (which were conveniently located near the pile) and we both put some in our backpacks as well. Needless to say our trip to the restaurant was delayed, but we did get there eventually.

Check out the rest of the collection below, and click on the pictures for a better look! Most of them are in perfect condition, only a few have chips.

Otherwise, I did well on the rich people garbage front (not moving day related, because most wealthy people own their home). I found this little wooden box near Westmount.

Inside was a collection of safety pins, as well as a collection of cufflinks.

I immediately recognized that this pair was made by Guy Vidal, the noted Montreal-based brutalist (1960s) jewelry designer. I love his work, and these cufflinks in particular are quite striking. I’ve found his work on a few different occasions now, and I expect these to sell for between 100-150$.

There was also some dental gold in the box, which I didn’t notice until I got home later. Tooth crowns are pretty gnarly, but dental gold tends to be a pretty high carat (16k apparently) and I expect this chunk to net me around 80-100$.

That spot also provided a collection of vintage 1970s toy cars. I thought this was a good find at first, but the cars are pretty beat up and of limited interest to a collector. Still, I should be able to get something for them.

That pile gave me a nice Givenchy perfume as well. It already sold for 17$. The Hermes came from elsewhere.

Let’s finish off with a vintage Bernzomatic torch box I found in Westmount. Inside was a small collection of junk, the best piece being a silver 20 kopek Russian Empire coin from 1870. It’s not super valuable but it’s pretty cool regardless. The box is nice as well and should be an easy sell at a yard sale. I’d bet that the box held a lot more neat stuff before it was tossed out, but such is garbage.

I’ve been looking for a garage or other storage option. However, I’ve had no luck thus far. If you know of anything suitable in the Mile End, Plateau, Outremont, CDN, Park Ex, or Rosemont please let me know! Ideally it would be heated and have electricity (I’d like to set up a photo studio for junk inside). Extra ideally my furniture friend would also be able to store things there and occasionally be able to use a power sander (no power saws though). Unfortunately locations in other neighbourhoods won’t work because I don’t want to to travel far. Anyways, if you know of anything please let me know!

49 thoughts on “Moving day 2017”

  1. Wish I were there. I’d have been walking around with you too, and helping to carry things.
    Love your “street” pics. 🙂
    That’s a lovely bunch of pottery you found.
    Are the gold-colour cuff links mother-of-pearl?

    1. There was rain, though it tapered off in the afternoon. But I know I didn’t go out as early as I’d planned because of the rain.

      I checked, and this is the third year running (I didn’t look further back) that it rained on July 1st. I know that impacts on things, the books get soggy, and after a while, so do I.

      And then it’s very in a flash.


  2. What an irony that Canada Day (if I understand you correctly) ends up being celebrated in Quebec with lots of trash on the streets… Always great to read your posts and get a glimpse of your finds!!! Thank you for doing this work and sharing it with the rest of us.

      1. Sorry..YES Martin!! I think I am having a double conversation with you on FB as well…Yes 15$ sounds great!! I also mentioned the drum….FB is better…thanks!

  3. Beautifully made pottery!
    If you list the blue mug, first pic,back row, 2nd from right, let me know please. I might buy it. Either way, “open handle” good in title, and harder to find.
    Great find on the small jewelry box, and those brutalist cuff links are gorgeous!
    I continue to love your blog, and learn new things.
    Thank you.

  4. Hi, I was wondering if there was any signature or marks on the pottery? If yes, could we have a look? Thanks!

    1. Hi. most are marked “WD”. Can’t find any reference to them online, could be nice student works.

      1. These were made by an advanced pottery student, name of William. He goes to the same pottery studio as me for classes.

        1. Interesting. Does he know I found them? It might be a bit awkward to find that out, but at least lots of people here appreciate the work.

  5. Hey, I don’t know if this will help, but just heard about it on Dans l’oeil du dragon (French equivalent of Dragon’s Den): It basically matches people with space they don’t need with people who need space. Don’t know about the prices, but there’s a geolocator thingie so you might find something interesting in your hood.

    1. Funny, I just happened upon that site accidentally just before reading this. There are a few places on there that I didn’t see on CL or Kijiji. Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. Hi there, I’m J-F, cofounder @ Sharebee ! Just wanted to let you know that we LOVE your blog! If you need anything call us ! Cheers

      1. Glad you like it! This garage should suit me for now, but if I need more storage at some point I’ll be sure to check your site.

  6. Hi Martin, I raise money for an animal rescue by selling items that people give me that they would ordinarily toss. Someone just gave me a pair of Versace sunglasses that appear to be authentic. How can I find out what they are worth?. I know you are great with sunglasses. If I don’t find something on eBay, I have a difficult time figuring out how to charge a fair price. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi, there’s usually a model number somewhere on there you can Google, or even better look up on eBay’s completed listings. Sometimes it can be hard though to find specific glasses / sunglasses models on eBay, so I’ll have to Google them. OR you can look up “Versace sunglasses” and see what they generally sell for. Price based on condition and the prices gained by similar pairs. Personally, I would start at the highest price you think is possible and then lower it ever two weeks or month until someone buys it. That way you’re more likely to get the most money for your item without much extra work. I’d avoid auctions as they can be a bit of a crapshoot, and “bidding wars” are pretty uncommon.

      1. Thank you so much for your helpful reply. Will get on it tomorrow and do some research, beginning by looking for a model number.

        1. Usually there’s one on the arms somewhere.

          I should add that for eyeglasses I’d recommend being firmer on the price. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right buyer. For example, I had some Christian Dior frames that I found a while back that sat on eBay for quite some time, maybe even a year. I think I lowered the price a bit but didn’t go too low because they were very nice. I think they ended up selling for 100$, which is pretty solid. I also got good money for some Silhouette frames a while back that took a while to sell.

          Sunglasses I feel are more likely to sell quickly, especially in summer and especially with the designer brands.

  7. that pottery- imagine if all that beautiful stuff had gone to the landfill–what a loss that would have been

  8. I looked hard among the curbside trash on the two days following July 1st in three neighborhoods while riding my bike,but other than a few beer cans and a bottle of shampoo,I found little else of value except for five or six good books inside a wicker basket next to abandoned,broken furniture piles.I guess on moving day and the day after,a lot of nonscavengers go looking through trash for good furniture,scrap metal,good electronics and other goodies.Many of these people ordinarily do not scavenge at other times of the year.There is too much competition for scavenging on July 1 and July 2.
    By contrast,I found a lot of good antiques,bowls,knick-knacks and books in the week before July 1 and the last three weeks of June.A lot of people discard unwanted goodies a week or two before July 1.That is the time to be scavenging in full force actually.

    1. Yup, based on my experience this year I think I agree. Too much competition and the resources are scarce to begin with. The week before at least less people are out.

  9. I hope you make a fortune this year in doing what you do.Try new areas and streets you have never done before.You say streets with newer homes do not yield old treasures.Sometimes they do.Some people who have moved have brought their old treasures to their new homes,and sometimes they discard them.In northern Ville St.Laurent,just below Cartierville,you find wealthy ,shiny newer homes.Sometimes their owners junk valuables and there are fewer scavengers to compete with you on St.Laurent streets like Murphy,Metivier,Mcarthy,Robichaud,Jean Bourdon,etc.The area is just north of Henri Bourassa.In the Bois Franc region also,people sometimes junk working air conditioners,computers and expensive new stuff which can make money for you.
    I remember reading you have a sister living in St.Laurent.You must visit her more often and scavenge the borough frequently.

    1. It does make sense to try new neighbourhoods especially when you don’t have luck in others. My sister lives in Verdun now, I have found good stuff down there before but I think St Laurent is much better for garbage overall.

    2. I hope you make a fortune this year too 😀 But I’m wondering about selling on ebay, I thought that I read a few years ago that the government was going to start monitoring ebay sales and taxing people on the income they make there. Is that true? Was it something that only applied in the USA? I think that people were advocating selling on kijiji instead for that reason… but in Edmonton anyways kijiji seems to have gone the way of the dodo. Everyone is buying and selling here through facebook now. The only problem is there are about twenty different BuyAndSell groups – so hard to keep up.

      1. No idea honestly, but I personally claim everything I sell. eBay is my primary source of income though, so if it’s more of a part-time things I’m not sure I’d bother mentioning it.

  10. Thank goodness you saved that glorious pottery. What an idiot who threw those out & so many!

  11. I would maybe like to buy the vase beside the green teapot. I have a paypal account…what is the cost.


    1. Where do you live? Unfortunately it would cost a fair bit to ship, so that would add a lot to the final cost.

  12. Good garbological technique. In NYC it used to be Monday morning for furniture pick up so we would go out Sunday night

  13. Woohoo! Not a bad haul for having to compete with loads of people and looking for diamonds in the rough. 🙂

    1. Yup, next year I plan on trying less hard haha. It seems that luck is a major factor when it comes to moving day trash.

  14. Your “finds” are a lot better than mine. I just try to convert garbage to humorous art. When the semesters end at IUP, the students really get rid of a lot. It give me something to keep me productively busy.

    1. Lol, well that’s good too. Students do throw away a lot of good stuff when they move. Keep it up and you’ll find more, maybe make a trip to a wealthy neighborhood to see what they’re throwing out.

      1. Good idea, but the space that I was able to work in has been rented, so it is just one day at a time. I have “thoughts of grandeur” about getting some of my written and photographic humor moving in a direction needed income.

  15. Absolutely love the cufflinks and they popped out at me in your box shot. Montreal is the right spot for Guy Vidal finds! The pottery is beautiful, sad that the maker felt he had to toss them. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, I’ve found a number of his pieces now. I guess that makes sense given he was based here. Funny though, I haven’t found any Robert Larin (another brutalist designer) pieces despite the fact that he was also from Montreal.

  16. What kind of law was passed that makes July 1st so popular a moving date? Ignorant in upstate New York.

    1. A lot of leases used to run out on May 1st, which could interrupt the school year for kids. So one year there was an extension or something, so they expired on July 1st.

      I’ve never seen a good explanation of why the leases line up on May 1st.

      But once it did, it’s self-perpetuating. Your lease doesn’t expire some other time, and fewer potential places available to move to. So they successfully shifted the date to July 1st, but it didn’t break the big alignment.

      Moving company rates go way up due to demand. It can get crowded. Someone I knew moved, and the truck didn’t show up until late in the day, so the unloading happened the next day. They put up some chairs to hold space for the truck, the neighbor was moving too and their truck used the space and then laded up the chairs.

      Another time I helped someone move, actually they were swapping apartments with the neighbor, and we moved the stuff through the front doors, while the neighbor moved via the balconies.


      1. Good summary. I’d guess that May 1st was the day back when because it would have been the first time since maybe October where you were more or less guaranteed no snow / good weather. These days moving in the winter isn’t quite so bad, but I imagine that back the day it was extra difficult. Especially since the winters then were harsher than they are now.

  17. I LOVE the green bowls. I wish I could buy them from you, but shipping to the US would probably be too expensive given the weight.

    1. Yeah unfortunately, it would cost at least 20$ to ship them alone so there wouldn’t be much room for profit after that.

  18. I hope someone can help out this woman.Please read this Craigslist ad and her contact info.It is a very sad situation and causing her a lot of anguish.

    Documents lost (Lionel Groulx station)

    I lost ALL of my documents somewhere near Lionel Groulx station in Montreal. Probably – on a bus stop or inside the bus. I took bus 425.

    The documents were in a laptop bag – grey with an orange handle. There was not laptop inside, only the documents. Please, call or email me if you found or saw the bag. I’m desperate…

    Tel: 438 921 4296

    IDannonce: 6203804316

    affiché: 4 days ago

  19. I love your blog.I am American.Hope you do not make macabre finds like the one in this article from THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

    Mother of slain woman found in garbage bin: ‘It was total disrespect’

    Scene of woman found dead on South Side

    Chicago police investigate in an alley in the 7300 block of South Kenwood Avenue, in the city’s Grand Crossing neighborhood, where a woman was found dead in a garbage container March 3, 2017.
    (Eric Clark / for the Chicago Tribune)

    By Deanese Williams-Harris•Contact Reporter
    Chicago Tribune

    April 28, 2017, 8:24 PM

    Nearly two months after her daughter was found dead in a garbage container on the South Side, Latisha Turner is waiting for the nightmare to come to an end.

    “I don’t know what she could’ve done to make someone kill her like that,” Turner said. “It was total disrespect to do her like that. Not just to her, but to her mother, grandmother and family.”


    Friday evening, Turner and other relatives gathered to talk about if and when the killer would be found. So far, Diamond S. Turner’s death is unsolved.

    The last time the family saw Diamond Turner, she was leaving her home the night of March 1. An older man, possibly in his late 50s, picked her up to go to Red’s The New Generation, a lounge at 69th Street and Stony Island Avenue, her mother said by phone.

    Whether her daughter actually went to the lounge and what happened leading up to her being found is unknown, Turner said.

    Her daughter had lived for three years in the area where she was found. And the man she went out with the night she disappeared was a stranger to the family, Turner said.

    Diamond Turner had turned 21 in December. She attended Robeson High School before transferring to an alternative school on the South Side, her mother and relatives said.

    “All my daughter did was take care of other people’s kids, clean up and go to church,” Turner said. “She was an all-around good person. She didn’t deserve the way she left here.”

    Diamond Turner’s body was found March 3 in the 7300 block of South Kenwood Avenue by a city worker who was dumping garbage, authorities said at the time.

    Garbage collector finds body of woman in trash

    Diamond Turner, who lived on the same block where she was found, died from asphyxia and blunt-force head trauma in a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

    Her death was classified as a homicide by police March 10.

    Diamond’s mother recounted her funeral, which many of the children her daughter cared for attended.

    “Some of these children were so upset they passed out,” her mother said. “It was a total shock, it caught everyone off guard.”

    On Friday, her family could only speculate on who was responsible, or if more than one person was responsible in Diamond’s death.

    “I lost my daughter in such a tragic way. I’m trying to find her killer because she didn’t deserve it,” Latisha Turner said.

    “Turn yourself in. You deserve to be where she is. You brought great discomfort to our family.”

    As of Friday night, the homicide case was still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

    Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
    This article is related to: Homicide,

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