Take the Money and Run


Lansdowne Ave. and College St.

this story

On March 6, 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.

Front page of the Globe and Mail offering a reward for the Boyd gang, "wanted, dead or alive," September 9, 1952.

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.

By David Wencer

Visit The Canadian Encyclopedia for more on Edwin Alonzo Boyd.

Site of the famous police shoot out, looking west on College St. towards Lansdowne Ave., c. 1939 (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 3, Item 1398). View the image gallery