Ottawa’s trash could be your treasure Feds make surplus and seized items available to savvy, not-very-discriminating shoppers

OTTAWA — Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Is there a certain shampoo, or some used office supplies, that you just couldn’t find on Boxing Day?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/12/2019 (1010 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Is there a certain shampoo, or some used office supplies, that you just couldn’t find on Boxing Day?

Ottawa is here to help.

The federal government offloads thousands of items each year at bargain prices through an online directory.

Much of it is a mismatch of departments’ unused office supplies, but some is property seized by federal agencies in criminal or tax investigations.

Sometimes there is obscure technical equipment on offer. Occasionally (but rarely) there are gift-worthy items. Most are on auction, though some have a flat price.

While these bargains are available year-round, the holiday season is an opportune time to browse through the bureaucratic bonanza.

Here are some Winnipeg items listed recently on

The minimum bid for this 2013 Ford Taurus is $4,000, but might need repairs (

• 2013 Ford Taurus

Minimum bid: $4,000

This blue sedan used to be a cop car. It runs, but don’t bother trying to open the rear windows or the doors from the inside.

“Windshield chipped… body has paint scratches and scrapes… some electrical wires have been cut and/or disconnected,” reads the notice, which seems more honest than most ads for second-hand cars.

“This vehicle has not been mechanically inspected and may require unknown repairs.”

Imaging accessories

Sold for $14.92

The Canadian Grain Commission offloaded “an assortment of bulbs, cables and other pieces used in scientific imaging” which “includes an Edmonds CCD Spectrometer — condition unknown.”

• Approximately 100 used binders

Minimum bid: $20

These three-ring binders come in “assortes (sic) sizes and colours,” packed in cardboard boxes, one of which is labelled “2005.”

Need 100 binders? has got em. (

Marrakesh hair-care oil

Sold for $88

These 10 spray bottles include argan and hemp oils and were “forfeited to the Crown.” They ended up at an Inkster Boulevard warehouse where someone nabbed a great deal Monday — these bottles retail for $19 each on

Flour sifters

Sold for $550

Another great gift item from, naturally, the Canadian Grain Commission.

What appears to be three flour sifters each come with a 120-volt motor, which can process 100 grams per minute. But beware, “some feed hoppers, electrical controls and drive motors are not included.”

Three flour sifters sold for $550. (

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