TTC Lost Articles is Toronto's strangest lost and found
Every day at around 1 p.m., more than 200 lost and forgotten items from TTC vehicles and properties are delivered to the TTC Lost Articles Office located in the Bay subway station.
Wallets, cellphones, textbooks, booze, umbrellas, jackets, pants (how'd that happen?), towels, hats, jewellery, bikes, and even sex toys get recorded into a database, and then sorted and stored.
Part librarians, part investigators, the TTC Lost Articles team work tirelessly to reunite more than 4,000 items at any given time back to their owners.
"The job is rewarding," says Tara Mercorillo, Supervisor of the Lost Articles office.
"Just a few weeks ago we tracked down a lady who left her purse behind with $6,000 cash. She came in the next day, in tears, giving us all hugs. She was very grateful," Tara recounts.
"People are amazed what a great city Toronto is, what honest people we all are. These stories happen every day."
The most money ever turned in? "$50,000 in cash, stuffed in a backpack."
Another story revolves around an older lady who came in after she lost her dentures. The attendant looked in the database and found a pair recently turned it. She picked them up, tried them on, sloshed them around and pulled them out.
"Not mine," she said.
Each item is held for a maximum of two months; roughly 50 per cent of items are claimed. Unclaimed items get shredded, donated to charity, or passed along to Police Auctions Canada. The money raised goes back into TTC revenue.
"We've seen everything", says Tara.
Other items that you wouldn't expect? Sex toys (which begs the question why are my TTC rides so uneventful?). Currently in one corner sits a framed collection of various brands of condoms, still in their wrappers - a tribute to prophylactics of sorts.
In another corner lie piles of crutches, canes and even a wheelchair.
"A year ago we were delivered a motorized mobility device", says Tara. "We guess the owner just got up and was able to walk away. We call it the TTC miracle."
Guest contribution by Matt Switzer, @MattSwitzerLive.
Lost bikes photo by Sue Motahedin.
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