Canadair pt. 2

Link to part one

I haven’t seen anything at this spot for quite some time, as such this will almost certainly be the last post of this series. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted! I saved lots of neat little tidbits here.

One noteworthy find was a large collection of what I believe are old fax jokes from the early 1980s. Maybe you could call them a sort of proto-meme. Anyways, most of the jokes are terrible (largely sexist, occasionally racist, and often rated R) and I don’t want to share them here. However, here’s a couple of PG13 jokes to give you an idea what they look like. This one makes fun of former Quebec Premier René Levesque.

René folds out and turns into four pigs. The fold-out thing is a common trick in the faxes, but most of them result in awful sex jokes. Levesque was last Premier in 1985, which makes me think that they date from a bit before that.

This one was kind of funny, a bit of office humor never hurt anyone. The rest of the collection is currently with a local archivist though I don’t think he has any specific plans for them. I’m sure someone would be interested in the studying them somehow.

This pic didn’t turn out so well, but it’s good enough. The pen next to the Yak Bak is an old Parker 51 with a silver cap. It was pretty beat up, but still sold pretty quickly for 30$. I’m always happy to find a 51 because they’re fairly collectible, and are worth money even if just for parts. Otherwise, the rest is yard sale stuff. The Canadair pin will end up in the Canadair lot I mentioned in my last post. The miniature garbage bin is a fun find for me!

More yard sale stuff. The miniature vintage spy camera is kind of neat. The box on the left contains another dumb sex joke, seems like the previous owner couldn’t get enough of those.

That old coffee tin is a neat find. Otherwise, the promotional cigarette pack holders are interesting – I’ve never seen anything quite like them before. There’s a spot for a huge pack of cigarettes as well as a matchbook.

More yard sale stuff. Some of it is actual junk that no one will ever buy, but I like to have a bit of crap at my sales to make things more interesting. People seem to appreciate seeing things they wouldn’t see otherwise! The vintage Vita hypodermic needles won’t make it to the yard sale though, for obvious safety reasons. Not that I think they’ve been used anytime in the last 40 years but they’re still quite sharp and the box is fragile. Believe it or not there’s a market for that kind of thing on eBay, I’m not sure why.

One night I scavenged some better junk than usual. The best piece is probably the 10k gold Canadair pin, which I’ll include in the Canadair lot. I also had a sterling silver Canadair 5 or 10 year pin but I’m not sure where I put it – I’m sure it’ll turn up though. Here’s hoping that segment of chain on the right is gold as well. The Wade Red Rose tea figurine will look nice once cleaned up. The Quebec pin is sterling silver, but too worn out to be of much value. The Chauffeur safety badge is neat and quite old, probably dating back to the 30s or 40s.

Perhaps the most unusual, and also valuable find here was this collection of 13 vintage hermetically sealed packs of MacDonald’s cigarettes. The packaging probably dates back to the 50s or 60s but it’s hard to pin it down exactly. The fact that they’re hermetically sealed, and also 5-packs (which I think would have been an unusual size) is a bit odd. I suspect they were either part of military rations or given out on airplanes back when smoking on them was legal. The latter might be more likely, if only because it seems like whoever lived here worked for an airline.

Vintage cigarettes stuff is pretty collectible, and sure enough these stale old packs have some value. I decided to list them all for 35$ each plus shipping. Thus far 10 have sold (5 to one person at a bit of a discount) for a total of around 300$. Not bad, and by the time they’re all gone I should make around 400$!

In a lot of homes this kind of stuff would have been thrown out years ago. Thankfully, some people hold onto their old things for a long time and as a trash picker I’m kind of grateful for that. Sometimes it results in some really interesting garbage that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. I wish there was a way for me to know exactly where to find this kind of stuff at any given time, but unfortunately the only way is to bike or drive around randomly and hope you end up in the right place at the right time (and then, go back again and again until it’s clear that there’s no more garbage to be tossed out).

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

31 thoughts on “Canadair pt. 2”

  1. I love checking out your finds. I’ve never heard of weird office fax jokes, but I could totally see that happening in the pre-email days.

  2. My father said sample cigarette packs were handed out to elementary school children on the south shore in the 50’s and 60’s to bring home to their parents. Aot of the kids never brought them home. They would smoke them during recess or lunch.

    1. Cool, I’ve never seen one before. Unfortunately I didn’t find the outer section. Glad you like the blog!

  3. Here in California, they use to pass out small sample packs of cigarettes back in the 1970s and 1980s. Eventually they made it illegal so as to cut down on smoking. Congratulations on the great fined.

  4. OMG! Those “jokes” take me way back to when I worked at a certain insurance company. Someone would find one of these tasteless papers, copy them and put one on everyone’s desk. What people did while they were suppose to be working!!! I didn’t appreciate them back then (late 70s/80s), and I don’t appreciate them now. The difference between then and now is who would be fired!

    I just had an idea I poked around in my cluttered mind: I was wondering if it is difficult to identify some things because of the French/English language in, specifically, Montreal? “Everyone” probably knows about Canadair, simply because you live in Canada, but what about other things perhaps written in French when you mostly speak English? Do you find that difficult when identifying certain things? {I hope I made myself clear.}

    I seem to remember small portions of cigarettes given out for people to maybe try a new or different brand. Maybe. I smoked from about 1970 until about 7 years ago.

    That’s a great-looking trash receptacle. It was made just for you! Enjoy!

    1. I never really heard of Canadair actually, as it shut down just before I was born. I learn a lot of things by trash picking, ha ha.

      My French is good enough to get the gist of the things I can read (I can read a lot better than I can listen or talk), and if I miss a word I can always Google translate it. What’s harder is the other languages that I have no knowledge of whatsoever.

      Cigarette samples eh? That could be it, and a great example of things that happened in the 70s that wouldn’t fly today.

  5. “Some of it is actual junk that no one will ever buy, but I like to have a bit of crap at my sales to make things more interesting.”

    Lot that junk together in a ziplock bag, staple it shut, slap a price on it, people will buy it.

    1. It’s a good idea, but I prefer to have people at my sales rummage through my junk to find the good stuff. And once I get sick of seeing the actual junk I put it on the curb for others to find (and, in my neighbourhood if no one ends up taking something that’s free it means it was always trash to begin with).

  6. Thank you for another great post. I’ve been thinking about you for days and days as I have been helping one of my sisters go through decades of boxes of stuff — letting go of some of it and keeping some of it to move in a truck from one side of the USA to the other. Today was the final push, and I now understood a little bit better how some folks end up throwing all sorts of things into trash bags and leaving it on the curb… One gradually becomes de-sensitized to the value of things and just wants the process of cleaning out the house/apartment to END! Bless you for all the work you do to re-claim and re-circulate some of the stuff your fellow human beings choose to discard.

    1. Yup moving inherently sucks and that’s part of the reason good stuff gets thrown out. But there’s certainly a good / better way to do it (open free boxes on the curb that people can pick through) and bad ways to do it (putting everything in black garbage bags so that only I and a few others might find it, if we’re lucky). The latter indicates a lack of respect for their possessions, and for some people this starts long before the stress of moving begins.

  7. I too remember vividly those( waste of time and paper ) faxes. So embarrassed now when I think back to how hilarious they seemed.
    Thank you for being a great example for the rest of us.
    Don’t take this wrong, but I think of you every trash day.

    1. That’s what I was going to say. I can picture having the pin, but I can’t remember why it would be from the USSR pavilion. The pin isn’t too descriptive, except “1967” is a giveaway for Expo 67.


  8. It never cease to amaze me what people throw out as garbage, most of us work hard for our money, in whatever capacity! If it wasn’t for individuals like yourself, these historical treasures would be lost forever and the next generation would have no clue what the world was really like. Cheers Suzana from Australia x

  9. I love your blog and am an ex-Montrealer who lives in Laval.You do not seem to mention anymore in most posts which neighborhood you make these finds in.You can choose not to mention the street name,but at least mention the neighborhood or borough .The street in the photo looks familiar to me but I cannot put my finger on it.

    1. I waver on this issue. One thing is that the more I mention neighbourhoods the higher I go on the Google rankings (I think), so when people Google their neighbourhood garbage pickup they might see my post instead. I’d prefer to remain largely unknown as long as possible. Also, I don’t want to give away spots that might produce future items by being too specific in mentioning their locations.

      As of right now I tend not to mention the neighbourhood when they’re rich (one of the “big 3” that someone else mentioned). Otherwise, I will mention the less rich neighbourhoods as there’s less perceived risk involved. Maybe I’ll change by mind at some point, but for now that’s what I’ll do more often than not.

      Since that spot in Villeray is now kaput, I can mention that it was on Normanville.

  10. Last evening on Tuesday night someone threw away 25 to 40 National Geographic magazines in Little Burgundy on St.Jacques Street between Vinet and George Vanier.I was walking by but had my hands full–I did not take those magazines though I wanted to.(I do not have a car and was walking to the metro to take the train home).I already had three shopping bags full of stuff on my hands.I hope somebofy took those magazines home before the recycling truck came today on Wednesday morning.I have seen ads on Craigslist from people looking for National Geographic mags;I know some others who collect them.I collect them too.
    I also found two almost-new Adidas handbags in a trash bin today in Shaughnessy Village and these I did rescue.The bags had no rips or tears;the handle was fine and the shoulder strap as well as the zipper were functioning.I come across so many discarded handbags in great condition as well as laptop bags and shouder bags.Why do people Junk these things?Do people not have room in their closet for one folded handbag?
    Martin,you or anyone observant could rescue good discarded suitcases
    from the street and resell them or repurpose them.I do not see the logic in throwing out functional stuff.

    1. I take National Geographics that are older, at least 1970s and sometimes only 1960s and before depending on my mood. Personally, I think it is okay to recycle some as they were produced in the millions and there are still tonnes around (there is no shortage of them at this point).

      Same with suitcases. I take vintage ones but don’t bother with the others. Luggage these days is made very cheaply, and often isn’t worth fixing (at least for me). Also, luggage is one of the more likely items to be infested with bedbugs which makes it even less worth the hassle.

      There’s a lot of stuff out there that could be saved, but I have to be picky because if I save everything I’ll miss out on some of the best. You could say that as a picker you must be a chooser.

      1. National Geographics are odd, since people tend to keep them. I know as a kid, that was the closest we had to a set of encyclopaedias, if I needed something within their coverage area, I could find an article, the collection going back decades.

        But that also means that when people want to get rid them, there’s usually a large collection. Used book sales no longer want them, people may buy specific issues, but the sale ends up with lots of leftovers. And at some point, the sales decided they didn’t want the magazine, so maybe there was a decline. Since people kept them, it’s not like there is scarcity through attrition.

        I actual bought the magazine on DVD a few years ago, about $20 US, though it lacked the latest two years. Since it’s quite common to see that sort of deal, this was from the Society directly, that further limits demand. I know I’m slowly culling, our collection goes back to the thirties, and the discards go to recycle. Though the older they are, the more likely I’ll keep them.

        People may want specific issues. I bought a spare of the issue from the month when I was born, and did buy the September 1939 issue, WWII about to start.

        But most of the ads I see, people just want them to make collages or something, so a step away from recycling rather than a willingness to pay much money.

        I also got Rolling Stone magazine on DVD when it was cheap. That contrasts a lot with National Geographic. Rolling Stone was newsprint, with a fold. I have some issues, but I bought them used in the mid-seventies. When I look at them now, chances are good that they will tear. People didn’t keep them, and they haven’t held up well, so they probably would bring in a decent return, if an old stash materialized.


  11. A lot of parents teach their kids never to look into other people’s trash.That is why many people do not scavenge even though the cause is great.

    1. It’s also because people don’t have the skills needed to make it a profitable endeavour. To make money you have to be able to spot the good trash and avoid the bad trash, know how not to get bedbugs from trash, know how to use eBay (as you’re not going to get top dollar for some of the stuff without it), and know how to do research / know what kind of things people spend money on. It’s taken me years to have a pretty good understanding of all those things, and even then I’m only making around 25k this year (which is good, but not exceptional by any means). Maybe I can get up to 30-40k if I get lucky and optimize my business somehow. So, like with a lot of things anyone can go trash picking, but making money off it is harder than it looks.

      My parents never really taught me to look through trash. However, I think growing up in a small town where most people brought things to the dump effected me somewhat. I first noticed curbside garbage when I moved to the city for college, and so it was a novel thing that excited me (especially as a young kid looking to furnish an apartment). Maybe people who grow up in the city are more likely to take it for granted, unless their parents also notice garbage. It’s a theory anyways.

      1. One time I came upon a pile of Apple computer stuff. And as I looked it over, a passerby exclaimed something about how I shouldn’t be looking, “it’s nasty”. So I suspect many don’t see anything but “garbage” so even when something appealing is there, they don’t see it.

        On the other hand, I was amused by a letter to the paper about a chair someone threw out, “what a waste, shouldn’t it be properly disposed of….”. But then she admitted that she’d brought it home, something she couldn’t do if it hadn’t been thrown out. It’s not perfect, but some people don’t seem to realize that there are people who may see something in the garbage and bring it home.


  12. Some people fear scavengers because they have been burglarized.Read this letter from a California newspaper.

    Bill Jaques: Modesto on another bad list? This city deserve it

    August 02, 2017 5:51 PM

    A few days ago, my computer alerted me to the five lowest educated cities in the U.S., and Modesto was No. 5. That seems to go along with all the other “bad lists” Modesto has become part of. For the past two years, I’ve had Christmas decorations stolen from my front yard. Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we steal.

    In March, two of the flower pots on my front porch were stolen. I’ve had flowers pots with geraniums on my front porch for over 20 years; I guess that was long enough.

    Last evening, after participating in our neighborhood National Night Out, my American flag was stolen from my flagpole. I have proudly flown the American flag in front of my house for 30-plus years. My mistake was about three months ago I put a light on it so that I could leave it out at night, too.

    Modesto has become a place you can no longer be proud to live. We deserve to be on every “bad list.” With just a few more shootings, stabbings and drive-bys, we’ll be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Detroit and Chicago. Ain’t that great?

    Bill Jaques, Modesto

    Read more here:

  13. I am from Saskatchewan.The province is facing its worst drought this year in 130 years.British Columbia is experiencing endless forest fires because of tinder-dry weather.Europe is also facing a lot of wildfires.Climate change and environmental destruction are very important issues.We need more people to do what you are doing;even doing salvaging on a small scale helps.Reusing or selling discarded good old furniture,knick-knacks,antiques,paintings,books,etc is a great idea.I hope what you are doing becomes even more commonplace(just as so many people are picking cans,bottles,scrap metal and copper from circuit boards).

  14. I also want more solidly middle-class and wealthy people to read your blog,to subscribe to your blog or to take an interest in it.I would love it if several of your subscribers or readers have an annual income of over $50,000 or $1,00,000.Also I hope that by now at least 1,500 of your subscribers or regular readers are from the Greater Montréal area.
    (I do not see anything wrong with picking up discarded handbags from the trash if they are clean.Just make sure to swab them with rubbing alcohol or a diluted solution of Pine sol after a visual inspection to kill any bedbugs or other insects—in case they are there).

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