Spring is finally here, and you know what that means? Spring cleaning!

Yes, yes. Try not to jump for joy.

Whether you love it or hate it, doing some decluttering once a year is great for freeing up extra space. Of course, you’re a good person, so you don’t throw those gently used items away! You give them new life, by donating them to your local Goodwill. 

But between your old CD collection and that novelty pancake maker you only used once – did you know that Goodwill receives some pretty wacky donations? Like, historical artifacts and LEGIT dinosaur bones – just to name a few. 

Spring cleaning just got a lot more interesting, huh?

Here are 7 of the wildest donations ever made to an Alberta Goodwill.

A Grenade

We’re starting off this list with a bang! Don’t worry, not literally. A grenade was found in a box of dishes dropped off at a north Edmonton Goodwill donation centre back in 2014. 

Luckily, it was soon confirmed that the grenade wasn’t live but was a diffused military grenade dating back to the First World War. What’s even crazier is that this wasn’t even the first time staff had found a dead grenade in a donation box! Maybe double-check next time Grandpa asks you to haul away his old junk.

A Sealskin Coat


It’s not every day you come across a cultural relic – especially in such great condition! A sealskin coat was dropped off at Goodwill Alberta’s location on Whyte Avenue back in 2020, and the team immediately knew they had found something special. 

The tag on the coat read: “Holman, N.W.T. Handmade by Eskimos.” It was discovered that Holman Co-op in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., started making sealskin coats in the early 1960s with similar tags. The coat has since been preserved as a cultural relic to document the history of Ulukhaktok, which still exists, even though it no longer has a fur shop.

A Narwhal Tusk

Yes, you read that right. A 2-foot-long narwhal tusk with the accompanying hunting tags was donated to a Calgary Goodwill location back in 2020. It didn’t take long until the Goodwill team contacted the University of Calgary, where the tusk now resides as a part of the AINA (Arctic Institute of North America) collection.

Narwhal maqtaq, which refers to the skin and a small amount of blubber, is an important food source for many northern communities, while the tusks are often incorporated into modern Inuit crafts. You can check out the tusk for yourself at UCalgary’s AINA collection!

Military Service Medals

This is why it’s worth checking your donation boxes twice! It’s definitely not a normal work day when a piece of actual history turns up, but that’s exactly what happened last year when a collection of Canadian military medals wound up at Goodwill. 

The war medals were from the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. How cool is that? These medals have since been donated and now make part of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives.

A Dinosaur Bone


Jurassic Park, your local Goodwill is NOT. Last month in Calgary, Goodwill was sorting through donations when they came across some strange-looking rocks. Goodwill’s brand coordinator, Daoud Abbasi, did a little digging (pun unintended) before reaching out to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. 

Museum staff was able to confirm that two of the fossils — petrified wood — are likely from the Cretaceous Period, dating back 66 to 145 million years ago! There’s also a piece of an ornithischian dinosaur bone, possibly from a hadrosaur or ceratopsian. Sure, Goodwill gets some old stuff – but not this ancient!

A Guitar Made Of Pencil Crayons


This one comes with a pretty heartwarming story. Bryan Rosychuk, a retired special needs teacher, stopped by a south Edmonton Goodwill store back in 2020 to sing some original songs, playing on a custom-made guitar. 

The guitar itself is made out of 1,200 pieces of pencil crayon, which took Rosychuk about a year to collect. The guitar pays homage to Goodwill’s philosophy of upcycling materials and keeping household items out of landfills – and he even donated the guitar to Goodwill after his performance! 

Guns N’ Roses Guitar

Cue the collective swoon of rock superfans. The Goodwill in Edmonton’s Sherwood Park neighbourhood recently received what has to be one of the most epic donations of all time. A guitar showed up with signatures by rock legends Axl Rose and Slash from Guns N’ Roses.

While there are no photographs or records to fully confirm the authenticity of the autographs, the owner of a local Antiques shop with over 35 years of experience in historical items of interest, says that by the look of the signatures, dates, and pen strokes, it’s extremely likely these are real. Goodwill will be holding a silent auction for the Guns N’ Roses guitar, with proceeds going towards helping people with disabilities or barriers find and gain meaningful employment. 

Inspired to do a little spring decluttering? Bring any gently used items you don’t need anymore to your nearest Goodwill… but maybe double-check that donation box and save the historical relics for a museum!


Donated items support Goodwill’s mission of helping people with disabilities to find meaningful employment. With over 30 donation centres across the province, Goodwill Industries of Alberta supports local communities. From clothing and furniture to electronics and household items, Goodwill accepts a wide range of gently used items.

When: Open daily, hours may vary by location
Where: Locations across Calgary and Edmonton