The Terrifying Canadians of Historical Infamy

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Canada is stereotyped as a free, wild country with inhabitants that are known for being “nice” and “polite.” But it is worth knowing that Canada is the home of some of the worst criminals in history, who have some truly heinous deeds behind their names that put this country on the world map of violent crime and, sometimes, just plain treason. In this twisted account, we profile the scariest and most wicked Canadians in history, the thought of whom will have you locking and barricading your doors.

10. Robert Pickton

Canada’s most famous serial killer, Robert “Willie” Pickton (born in 1949), was a Port Coquitlam pig farmer who was arrested in 2007 and charged with 26 counts of second degree murder plus an unidentified person, named as “Jane Doe.” The remains of many women were found on the Pickton pig farm, which became Canada’s largest ever crime scene. He had picked up sex trade workers and other women known to be at risk in the community and taken them to the farm. He then killed them and fed some to the animals. DNA from 33 women was found onsite. He confessed to 49 murders, and is said to have wanted to kill one more victim to make the number “an even 50.”

Pickton’s charges for 20 murders were stayed by the Crown, with the logic that any more charges would not lead to a greater amount of time in prison. Pickton was given the longest sentence available under Canadian law for murder at the time of trial – life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years. Dubbed “The Pig Farm Killer,” Pickton became a flashpoint for public anger at what many saw as unsatisfactory police action, leading to a Vancouver Police Department apology for not catching Pickton more quickly, dismissing many reports due to witness unreliability and a low prioritization of the disappearances of First Nation women.

9. Justin Bourque

A paranoid person who sparked one of Canada’s worst shootouts in history, Justin Bourque of Moncton, New Brunswick, dressed in military gear with guns and knives, murdered three police officers in cold blood and badly wounded two more in June 2014. The shooting stands out for its brutality and is preceded by the perpetrator’s bizarre descent into paranoia and obsession with war and “the coming end of the world.” Initially, there was suspicion on the part of 911 dispatchers before it was confirmed that the call about a heavily armed person was a bonafide threat.

Once reports came in en masse about the suspect, responding officers began being tracked by the suspect and systematically killed. Within hours, three RCMP officers, 45-year-old Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 40-year-old Douglas James Larche, and 32-year-old David Ross were shot dead and two others were injured by gunshot wounds. After an incredible 30 hour manhunt, Bourque was taken into custody alive. Due to Bourque’s deliberately seeking out law enforcement to attack, the killing spree stands out as perhaps the most shocking case of a civilian deliberately turning on the police in Canada’s history.

8. Alek Minassian

Affected by Asperger’s Syndrome, Alek Minasian had a variety of symptoms while attending school and subsequently failed to succeed in the military despite making some progress in the IT field.

Minasian’s strange life culminated in being charged with 10 counts of murder and 16 counts of attempted murder when he deliberately drove a rental van into pedestrians along Yonge Street in what became known as the Toronto Van Attack, taking place in 2018. Prior to the attack, Minassian posted a crazed mini-manifesto in which he expressed hatred for “Chads” and “Stacies,” which were terms in the increasingly dark “incel” — or involuntary celibate — online community for those in sexual relationships, raging against a lack of romantic success in his own life and venerating American “incel” murderer Elliot Rodger.

On April 23, 2018, Minassian rented a van two weeks after placing a reservation. He arrived for pick up with an odd, patchy haircut after shearing his own hair with clippers and asked for help to put it in drive, much to the amusement of the rental car staff. He then posted a bizarre statement on Facebook about the start of “the incel rebellion” and “overthrowing the Chads and the Stacies” and “All Hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.” He drove away, and on Toronto’s Yonge Street, went over the curb, killing and maiming multiple pedestrians before the van came to a stop and he was arrested and taken into custody alive after waving his phone as if it were a gun and telling the arresting officer to kill him.

7. Adrien Arcand

Adrien Arcand was Canadian, but he wanted to be Hitler… or at least follow in his footsteps. Born in Quebec City in 1899, Arcand attempted to be “Canada’s Fuhrer,” and feverishly sought to establish a fascist/Nazi state in Canada. A newspaper editor in Quebec working with multiple publications, Arcand was heavily involved in all matters Nazi “on the side.” He founded and became the leader of a string of far-right Nazi-style political parties in Quebec that aimed to take over Canada, including the Ordre patriotique des Goglus, founded 1929.

The French Canadian was obsessed with Hitler’s policies and in an incongruous emblem, used the Swastika with maple leaves and, yes, a beaver as a symbol for how he thought Canada should be represented under his Parti National Social Chretien, established in 1934. As leader of that party, Arcand called for Canada’s Jews to be exiled to Hudson Bay. When World War II broke out, Arcand declared himself “Canadian Führer” and claimed the National Unity Party, his latest Nazi pet project, would take over Canada. Enough was enough, and Arcand was swiftly interned by the Canadian government. Arcand died in 1967. He had continued his agitation long after the war, but fortunately was mostly overlooked by the majority of the Canadian public.

6. Karla Homolka & Paul Bernardo

Canadian female serial killer Karla Homolka committed three sexual murders with Paul Bernardo, who at the time was her husband, including the drugging, rape, torture, and murder of her own younger sister, Tammy Homolka, in 1990, followed by the rape and murder of two teenage girls in 1991 and 1992. Her release from prison in 2010 is widely viewed as an injustice in Canada and has been termed the result of a “deal with the devil.” She claimed to have been coerced into the murders by her husband, but evidence shows willing participation.

Homolka, an animal lover, was born in 1970 in Port Credit, Ontario and first met Paul Bernardo when she was 17-years-old, at a pet convention in Toronto. The two became intimate the day they met, pursuing a BDSM relationship. Bernardo became a rapist, supported by Karla, attacking women at public transit stops and receiving the nickname “The Scarborough Rapist.” Karla was not a virgin when they met, so to please Bernardo, she offered up her little sister like a sacrifice to the devil. Tammy died when they attacked her with a Halothane cloth, stolen from the veterinary clinic where Karla worked. Paul was angered by her death, as he sought a sex slave. The death had been declared accidental, leaving the pair free to unleash more terror.

Homolka invited a teenage girl named Jane out for dinner, and then the pair drugged her with Halothane and assaulted her, but she survived. In 1991, the couple murdered Leslie Mahaffy, cut up her body, encased the remains in cement and dropped them in a lake. The next year the couple murdered 15-year-old Kristin French. When police got close to arresting Bernardo, Homolka — who had been hospitalized by Bernardo’s physical violence — made a plea bargain allowing her to receive just 12 years in prison.


5. Kanao Inouye

World War II aggressions by Japan against Canada were partially assisted by a Canadian-born traitor known for his violent ways. Born in 1916 and nicknamed “The Kamloops Kid,” Japanese Canadian Kanao Inouye was convicted of treason and war crimes for violent acts on behalf of Imperial Japan during World War II, though he was a Canadian citizen. Known as a Nisei, which is the name for a second generation Japanese Canadian, Kanao Inouye was the son of a Japanese Canadian World War I veteran who fought for Canada. Despite his father’s history of service to Canada, Inouye turned against Canada.

He had traveled to Japan, where his grandfather was a Japanese member of parliament, after graduating from Vancouver Technical School in 1938. Drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942 to serve as an interpreter due to his knowledge of English, Inouye became a prison camp guard for the Imperial Japanese Army working at Sham Shui Po prison camp, where he was known for his cruelty to Canadian prisoners of war being held there. After being discharged in 1943, he was conscripted to become an interpreter for the Kenpeitai military police. Inouye caused the death of eight Canadian prisoners of war, according to survivor testimony. He was sentenced to death for war crimes, a verdict overturned due to his Canadian citizenship. A second trial in 1947 on the basis of treason led to a guilty verdict, issuance of the death penalty, and execution in Hong Kong on August 27, 1947.

4. Clifford Olson

British Columbia serial killer Clifford Olson committed 11 child and youth murders, violently killing victims between the ages 9 and 18, and was one of the worst violent criminals in North American history. He tortured victims and scattered remains around southern BC, then engaged in bizarre cash-for-bodies deals with police. Olson was born in 1940 in Vancouver, standing out for antisocial behavior even in his childhood. He was cruel to animals, stole items, and frequently fought before being arrested at age 17 on breaking and entering charges.

Olson’s next 25 years were spent primarily in jail, with 21 out of 25 years in custody for over 90 different convictions. In 1981, he married Joan Hale, who did not know he had killed three children without being caught. He went on a spree of terror around British Columbia, killing Canadian children of varying ages and genders, as well as a young German tourist. He killed Langley resident Sandra Wolfsteiner mere days after his wedding. His frequency of killing was shocking, even for a serial killer. In the month of July 1981, he slaughtered six. Olson was ultimately arrested on Vancouver Island near the city of Port Alberni as he was trying to get two young girls who were hitchhiking to get into his car.

Olson ultimately pleaded guilty to 11 murders, after first getting police to pay cash into a fund in exchange for body disclosure and then parading the gruesome deeds, traveling with police to killing sites as though the murder scenes represented personal “accomplishments.” He finally died in custody at age 71 from cancer.

3. Bruce McArthur

A landscaper from Toronto, Bruce McArthur stands out as a nightmarish Canadian serial killer by his own confession. A stealthy predator against men in the gay community, McArthur murdered vulnerable community members and then concealed their remains with the assistance of his landscaping business. That is to say, he buried the men he killed in gardens. McArthur was known as being friendly by acquaintances, and had dressed up for a job as a mall Santa on one occasion. Working as a landscaper unsupervised, as his own boss, McArthur had the a chance to place bodies in planting containers belonging to an elderly couple on whose property McArthur maintained the plantings.

McArthur primarily killed South Asian men as well as Middle Eastern immigrants. What the victims had in common was being financially or socially vulnerable immigrants, often from countries where homosexuality is not accepted and carries the risk of severe punishments. The capture of McArthur is the real life culmination of years of guessing about the possible presence of a serial killer operating in Toronto. McArthur confessed to eight murders and is imprisoned with no chance of parole until 25 years have been served. At 67-years-old as of 2019, he is Canada’s oldest serial killer.

2. Luka Rocco Magnotta

A troubled youth, Luka Rocco Magnotta (born Eric Clinton Kirk Newman in July 1982) stands out as one of Canada’s most bizarre murderers and stalkers of all time. A frequent online miscreant, Magnotta, a male sex worker and model, made an extraordinary number of fake profiles and circulated rumors about his life before claiming others were harassing him. Magnotta’s strange behavior ultimately ended in the gruesome killing of a Chinese man from Wuhan named Lin Jun, also going by Justin Lin. Mr. Lin had come to Canada as an international student before being killed by Magnotta, who is notable for not only the killing, but the grotesque nature of the murder, which involved tying a naked Lin to a bedframe before fatally attacking him with an ice pick and a knife.

Bizarre sexual acts followed the murder. Then, the body was dismembered, some fed to a dog. The entire thing was recorded on video and circulated on the internet, and then body parts starting showing up, some mailed to the Conservative Party of Canada and even an elementary school. Body parts were recovered in various locations, including the victim’s head, found dumped beside a lake. Eventually, he was arrested in Germany at an internet café, extradited to Canada and imprisoned for an array of crimes associated with the killing, including first degree murder and criminal harassment on account of the body part mail delivery. Great concern was expressed in China about the safety of Canada, as well as concern over whether the killing involved racial hostilities.

1. Marc Lepine

The perpetrator of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre, Marc Lepine attacked the engineering school, which was affiliated with the Université de Montréal, with a Ruger Mini-14 and a hunting knife. Motivated by blind hatred directed against “feminists,” who he blamed for “ruining his life,” he killed 14 women, injured 10 more, and attacked and injured four men in what has been called the “Montreal Massacre.” From Montreal, Quebec, Lepine was born Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi in 1964, the son of a French Canadian nurse mother, and an Algerian businessman father who despised women, behaved cruelly, and soon garnered the derision of his son. At the age of 14, he made a legal name change to Marc Lepine out of hatred for his father, taking his mother’s last name.

The violence took place on December 6, which is now the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a day established by an Act of Parliament in 1991. December 6 is also known as White Ribbon Day, as people may choose to wear a white ribbon to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women in society. Memorial sites have been set up in different parts of Canada to the remember the deceased, who are Genevieve Bergeron (age 21), Helene Colgan (23), Nathalie Croteau (23), Barbara Daigneault (22), Anne-Marie Edward (21), Maud Haviernick (29), Barbara Klucznik (31), Maryse Laganiere (25), Maryse Leclair (23), Anne-Marie Lemay (22), Sonia Pelletier (23), Michele Richard (21), Anne St-Arneault (23), and Annie Turcotte (21). After the rampage, Lepine killed himself with his own gun.


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