Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Toronto Police Museum

July 2017 - Toronto ON

I didn't even know there was a police museum in Toronto until we were looking for some sculptures.
Click here for the sculptures outside police headquarters.

Toronto Police Headquarters is 40 College Street. It is the first purpose built police headquarters in Toronto since the formation of the originating force in 1835.

As you enter you must go through a security check.

The Toronto Police Museum exists solely on the profits of the gift shop and donations.

This moose is from the 2000 Toronto Moose in the City project, he is in the lobby. The statue of the policeman behind him is part of the museum exhibits.

The museum has exhibits on the mounted division, the police dogs and a history of vehicles through the years.

1886 First mounted unit, which patrolled outlying areas and controlled speeding horses.

A lineup shows how Toronto police officers' uniforms changed through the years. From left, the 1875, 1880, 1930, 1947 and 1980s styles are shown.

  A lineup shows how Toronto police officers' uniforms changed through the years. From left, the 1875, 1880, 1930, 1947 and 1980s styles are shown. York Region Constable Brett Kemp, far right, displays what was believed to be the upcoming uniform in this montage created in 2000.

There are also displays on the history of crime investigations.

1884 First electric streetlights,welcomed by police walking the night beat - and cursed by would-be wrongdoers.

One of the most fascinating areas of the museum includes a number of display cases containing actual artefacts and evidence from past investigations.

Click here to read the full story of Ralph Power, murderer, whose crime is highlighted here with pieces of the evidence.

Known as the Casebook Rapist, Tien Poh Su's crime is highlighted in this display.

In January 1989, 47-year old librarian Susan O'Neal noted in her diary that she was worried about the 'persistent pattern of lying' of her common-law husband of eight years, 45-year old Robert Adamson.

Late on April 2, Adamson began calling many of their friends to tell them that Susan's elderly aunt had died and that they were going to the funeral in Sault Ste. Marie. After her disappearance was reported, police checked and found that Adamson had used O'Neal's banking card to get money from her account - and that she did not have an aunt in Sault Ste. Marie.

They traced his travels to Chicago. There, they found a typewriter ribbon in a machine that Adamson had rented. he had used it to type a letter of authorization to get money from the account of O'Neal's invalid father.

Adamson was charged with murder - the first time in Toronto that a murder charge had been laid prior to the recovery of a body. O'Neal's remains were found in a North York ravine four months after her disappearance. Adamson was convicted of second degree murder.

The Boyd Gang was a notorious criminal gang based in Toronto named for member Edwin Alonzo Boyd. The gang was a favourite of the media at the time because of their sensational actions, which included bank robberies, jail breaks, beautiful women, gun fights, manhunts, and daring captures.

Edwin Boyd had committed a variety of crimes in his youth and served time in Saskatchewan's Prince Albert Penitentiary at the age of 22. After returning from service in the Second World War, Boyd robbed a Toronto branch of the Bank of Montreal with a German Luger on September 9, 1949 while drunk and escaped with US$3,000 (equivalent to $30,197 in 2016)  With others, he committed six more robberies before he was caught and imprisoned in the Don Jail. There he met Willie Jackson and Lenny Jackson (not related) and together they broke out of jail with a hacksaw concealed in Lenny's artificial leg.

On March 6, 1952, Detective Sergeant Edmund Tong and his partner, Sergeant Roy Perry stopped a vehicle containing two men; these two men turned out to be Lennie Jackson and Steve Suchan. As Tong approached the vehicle, Suchan drew a .455 pistol and shot him and Sergeant Perry in the police car, wounding the latter in the arm. Tong died of his wounds on March 23, 1952.

Both Jacksons and Suchan were arrested in Montreal after a shootout with police that left Lennie and Steve wounded. Both men were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of the policeman. Boyd was arrested separately, in Toronto.

They went on to escape and be recaptured several times. Jackson and Suchan were executed in a double hanging at the Don Jail in December 1952.
Boyd served his time and was released in 1966, went west and died in 2002.

In the 1840 s and 1850 s, the most common offence was larceny, including cow stealing. And don t forget the charge of furious driving and racing a horse and carriage too fast. Early road rage?

“Electricity is one thing that criminals dread. It circumvents all their skill and cunning.” So wrote Philadelphia’s Chief of Police to Toronto's Chief, recommending a call box communication system. Until the call box arrived in 1888, Sergeants sent a message to the officer on the beat by having a passerby relay it!

That “new technology” meant Sergeants could signal Constables by sounding a gong and flashing a red light atop the call box - one flash for the beat officer, two for information for all officers, and three for an emergency.

A recreation of an early 20th century Toronto police station includes a 1920 poster regarding missing Toronto millionaire, Ambrose Small. His 1919 disappearance has never been solved.

I knew Ambrose Small rang a bell and I looked through my files and found that I had first heard of him last summer when we took Heritage Toronto's Lost Breweries tour.

Signs like this were placed in high traffic areas in the 40s and 50s.

A display of the various illegal substances.

There is a display of police killed on the job.


  1. An interesting read and a great post. Thank you for sharing all the exhibits, a place I could definitely spend a few hours in.

  2. That was interesting to read ! I will send the link to my friend her son is working in Toronto for the moment.

  3. I wish I had known about this place when I was there. Looks very interesting. I love a good "true crime" story. :)

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