The Village: The Montreal Murders

The Village: The Montreal Murders

In the early 1990s, as AIDS tightens its grip on major cities around the world, the relative safety of Montreal’s nightlife becomes a magnet for gay men. But when they start turning up dead in hotel rooms, beaten lifeless in city parks, and violently murdered in their own homes, the queer community has more to fear than the disease. While the city’s police force dithers over the presence of a serial killer, a group of queer activists starts making connections, and rises up to start a movement that would end up changing thousands of lives. Hosted by Francis Plourde. For listeners outside of Canada, episodes are available ad-free when you subscribe to the CBC True Crime Premium channel on Apple Podcasts.

Episodes

March 31, 2019 4 min
For years, Toronto’s Gay Village worried a serial killer was in their midst. Men were disappearing from the neighbourhood but police insisted there was no evidence of foul play. Then, in January 2018, police arrested Bruce McArthur for the murders of eight men and police reopened dozens of unsolved murders from the Village, dating back to 1975. Journalist Justin Ling covered this story for over five years and now he’s going back to...
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In 2010, men with similar characteristics start mysteriously disappearing from Toronto's gay village. They are all linked to one man. Investigative journalist Justin Ling follows the case as friends search for loved ones and police provide few answers.
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April 2, 2019 43 min
The community rallies as more men go missing and frustration and anger build. An anonymous source reveals how close police come to catching a serial killer, then let him go.
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April 3, 2019 54 min
A string of unsolved murders in the 1970s share a disturbing pattern. A retired homicide detective has regrets about not solving one case: he had evidence and a sketch. But a victim's sister says police had blind spots when the victims were gay.
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April 4, 2019 48 min
The head of the Toronto Police cold case team insists the historic, unsolved murders were fully investigated at the time. But Justin discovers otherwise, and learns these men lived and died in a time of no rights, and no protection, including from police.
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April 5, 2019 46 min
Justin traces Sandy Leblanc's steps from beloved brother with humble beginnings to well-known discoteque owner in the Village's burgeoning club scene. When he's killed, rumours are rampant about who was responsible.
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April 6, 2019 47 min
The American police who investigated Mark's murder open their files to Justin, who learns Mark's and Sandy's deaths were connected, in an unexpected way. A retired beat cop who worked the Village in the 70s shares his suspicion about who murdered Sandy.
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April 7, 2019 54 min
When close to 300 men are arrested in one night in Operation Soap, Toronto's largest bathhouse raid, the queer community rises up against what they see as decades of police repression. An internal struggle in the force keeps murders unsolved.
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April 8, 2019 42 min
Toronto's queer community comes to grips with the truth about Bruce McArthur's crimes and pushes for changes in how violence against marginalized people is handled by police. The Toronto police cold case team has some answers in the 23 re-opened cases.
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April 9, 2019 47 min
Trans women of colour in Detroit are confronting an epidemic of violence with the support of The Justice Project, a task force that investigates and prosecutes serious crimes against LGBTQ people. After aspiring designer and dancer Kelly Stough is murdered in Detroit, they take on her case.
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Season two explores the unexplained deaths of Alloura Wells and Cassandra Do, the communities that loved them, the systems that failed them, and a police investigation gone wrong.
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June 22, 2021 50 min
Alloura Wells finds a vibrant and supportive community, growing up and coming out on the streets of Toronto. But she also finds herself entangled in the criminal justice system. Note: If you're in crisis or just looking for someone to talk to, try the Trans Lifeline’s Hotline — a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning folks: CAN (877) 330-6366 or US (877) 565-8860
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June 30, 2021 36 min
When Alloura disappears her friends and family organize to find her, only to be brushed off by police. A stranger reaches out and provides some unsettling answers, but many questions remain. Note: If you're in crisis or just looking for someone to talk to, try the Trans Lifeline’s Hotline — a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning folks: CAN (877) 330-6366 or US (877) 565-8860
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July 6, 2021 47 min
Cassandra Do comes to the Village, trying to escape discrimination back home. When Cassandra pursues sex work to finance her transition, she finds herself part of a community targeted by the Toronto police. Note: If you're in crisis or just looking for someone to talk to, try the Trans Lifeline’s Hotline — a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning folks: CAN (877) 330-6366 or US (877) 565-8860
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July 13, 2021 48 min
Police believe someone knows who killed Cassandra; all he has to do is talk. Meanwhile, trans activists and their allies embark on a long fight for inclusion in human rights laws — in Canada and around the world. Note: If you're in crisis or just looking for someone to talk to, try the Trans Lifeline’s Hotline — a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning folks: CAN (877) 330-6366 or US (877) 565...
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July 20, 2021 53 min
Justin discovers a shocking failure in the investigation into Alloura's death and poses tough questions to Toronto’s police chief. Trans activists honour Alloura and others who have inspired change, and who deserved better. Note: If you're in crisis or just looking for someone to talk to, try the Trans Lifeline’s Hotline — a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning folks: CAN (877) 330-6366 ...
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May 31, 2022 3 min
Justin hands over the season to Francis at Parc de L’Espoir, the memorial to people who died from HIV/AIDS in Montreal’s gay village. We’re going back 30 years. The world was a different place. What we learned about how to live through a pandemic and how to solve a murder.
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A sneak peek into season three. Montreal in the 90s was a great time, but it had a dark side. For many men, being in – or out – of the closet during the AIDS epidemic was the difference between life and death. Unsolved murders stack up. And in the absence of police protection, a community of activists are forced to take matters into their own hands.
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June 7, 2022 44 min
Joe Rose, a queer activist living with AIDS, is murdered in cold blood on a city bus. So public, so brutal – the city is shocked. The killing becomes a catalyst for ACT UP’s takeover of the 1989 Montreal AIDS conference.
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June 14, 2022 38 min
Scores of police remove their badges and slip on rubber gloves before beating and arresting queer partygoers in downtown Montreal. The violence escalates in the coming days, and many more are beaten and jailed. A stronger front emerges.
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