Roncesvalles connection to notorious bank robbers explored at Jan. 15 Revue screening

A notorious gang of bank robbers with a Roncesvalles connection will be the subject of an upcoming screening and discussion at the Revue Cinema. The Roncesvalles Village Historical Society and the Revue Cinema will present The Real Story Behind the 1950s Boyd Gang. The evening will include a taped interview with writer/director Nathan Morlando who made the movie Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster as well as a screening of the film and a discussion. “I think the reason we are doing this is that we want to show there is a different side to our neighbourhood,” said Paul Weinberg, chair of the Roncesvalles Village Historical Society. “The real estate agents came in and created this thing called Roncesvalles Village, which is a nice neighbourhood, but we are saying "there is a history here, not all of it is nice and give a fuller picture of the neighbourhood.” Between 1949 and 1951 Edwin Alonzo Boyd and his accomplices staged a number of bank robberies and two break outs from the Don Jail. For a time the gang had a hideout on Wright Avenue in Roncesvalles Village. “The Roncesvalles connection is still not fully explored,” he said. “We need more information, but we know they hid out on Roncesvalles.” The gang also robbed a bank on Roncesvalles and two of the members shot and killed a police officer at College and Lansdowne, just at the edge of the neighbourhood. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011. It stars Canadian actor Scott Speedman as the charismatic and handsome aspiring actor turned crook Edwin Boyd. “The director feels that what the bank robber and his gang were doing was bringing Hollywood crime movies to the streets of Toronto and people got excited about that,” Weinberg said. In the interview with the director, Weinberg said they discuss the historical discrepancies and his decision to not clearly identify where the movie is set. The film was shot in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which Weinberg said looks similar to what Toronto looked like in the 1950s. “He talks about how his mother remembers the hanging of some of the members of the gang in the 1950s,” Weinberg said. “And capital punishment was very controversial and there were people in vigil protesting the hanging.” That taped interview will be followed by a screening of Eddie Boyd: Citizen Gangster and a question and answer session about the Roncesvalles connection to the gang with author Nate Hendley, author of Edwin Alonzo Boyd: The Life and Crimes of Canada’s Master Bank Robber. “There are some questions of historical accuracy and that’s what the whole discussion will be about,” Weinberg said. The screening and talk take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave. Tickets are $10 for members of the Revue and $13 for non-members. The Roncesvalles Village Historical Society, which aims to document, preserve, and promote the local history of the Roncesvalles area, meets monthly on different subjects. Visit the Roncesvalles Village Historical Society facebook page for more information.;