Edwin Boyd Hits the Big Screen

By Nate Hendley

Dashing criminal Edwin Alonzo Boyd, who headed up the bank-robbing Boyd Gang in Toronto in the early 1950s, was the subject of my first book.

The same man is now the subject of a great Canadian flick soon to enter wide release called Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster.  The film features handsome Scott Speedman (he of Felicity and Underworld fame) as the titular character.

Good-looking Boyd (who closely resembled matinee idol Errol Flynn) was a flamboyant character who enjoyed jumping on bank counters, guns in hand, announcing a hold-up was in progress. Given that Toronto was an uptight backwater at the time, the Boyd Gang made for sensational headlines. The fact the gang twice broke out of the notorious Don Jail also added to their allure.

Boyd earned a reputation as a “gentleman bandit” who never harmed anyone during his robberies. The same can’t be said for two members of his crew, Steve Suchan and Lennie Jackson, who were hanged for gunning down Toronto police detective Eddie Tong.

Interestingly enough, Boyd himself was the son of a Toronto policeman and worked at several legitimate jobs, including bus driver, before turning into a gangster. He also served in the army in World War Two.

Boyd spent part of the 1950s and 60s in prison then was released. He lived in anonymity in British Columbia, dying peacefully at age 88 in 2002.

Around the time Boyd expired, CBC-TV aired a documentary about his life. Said doc strongly suggested that gentlemanly Boyd actually committed a couple murders for which he was never caught or convicted.

Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster doesn’t touch on such controversies, but it is a terrific movie. I saw last year where it played at the Toronto Film Festival before a packed house. While not a big-budget production, the film does accurately capture Boyd’s strange charisma and short existence as Canada’s number one criminal.

To watch a trailer for Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster on Youtube, click here: http://tinyurl.com/75rlap7

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based author and writer. Click on this link for information on his books)


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