Toronto Feature: The Boyd Gang

This text is from the free Toronto in Time app, which was created by The Canadian Encyclopedia and is available from the App Store and the Google Play store. Visit its companion website, which is linked below, to explore all the features of the app online.
This text is from the free Toronto in Time app, which was created by The Canadian Encyclopedia and is available from the App Store and the Google Play store. Visit its companion website, which is linked below, to explore all the features of the app online.


This content is from a series created in partnership with Museum Services of the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Corner of College and Lansdowne, 2012
Corner of College Street and Lansdowne Avenue in 2012. College has been straightened since the 1950s (photo by James Marsh).
Corner of College and Lansdowne, 1939
Site of the famous police shootout, looking west on College Street towards Lansdowne Avenue, circa 1939 (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 3, Item 1398).
Corner of College and Lansdowne, 1939
Site of the famous police shootout, looking west on College Street towards Lansdowne Avenue, circa 1939 (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 3, Item 1398).
Corner of College and Lansdowne, 2012
Corner of College Street and Lansdowne Avenue in 2012. College has been straightened since the 1950s (photo by James Marsh).
Globe and Mail offering a reward for the Boyd gang, \"Wanted, Dead or Alive,\" 9 September 1952.", "title_fr": ""}' title='' alt='' />

"Take the Money and Run"

This text is from the free Toronto in Time app, which was created by The Canadian Encyclopedia and is available from the App Store and the Google Play store. Visit its companion website, which is linked below, to explore all the features of the app online.

On 6 Mar 1952, Toronto Police Detectives Edmund Tong and Roy Perry pulled over a black Mercury at College and Lansdowne. As they approached the car, the driver rolled down the window and opened fire, killing Tong and severely wounding Perry. The men in the black Mercury were Steve Suchan and Lennie Jackson, two members of the Boyd Gang, Toronto's most notorious bank robbers.

For a period of about a year, the Boyd Gang dominated the headlines. Named after one of their members, Edwin Alonzo Boyd, most of the gang first met in the Don Jail in 1951, where they had been locked up for earlier bank heists. Following a daring escape that November, the gang embarked upon a series of bank robberies, including what was then the largest bank robbery in Canadian history.

After four months of robberies, the gang was rounded up and locked up again, but incredibly they managed a second escape from the Don Jail. This time, however, they were caught before they could commit more crimes, and the gang came to an end when Jackson and Suchan were hanged at the Don Jail for Tong's murder.

Boyd had not been involved in the murder but was sentenced to life imprisonment for robbery and escaping prison. He was eventually paroled and returned to private life under a new identity.