Known for its bitterly cold weather and incredibly warm people, Canada isn’t usually thought of as a breeding ground for some of the worst serial killers in the world. However, this humble nation has spawned several notorious murderers, including Robert Pickton, the wealthy pig farmer who many believe took the lives of nearly 50 women, and Peter Woodcock, a Canadian serial killer who murdered his first victim, a 7-year-old boy, when he was just 17. Like Woodcock, Cody Legebokoff committed his first murder when he was a teenager, as did Michael Wayne McGray, another Canadian serial killer, .
Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a rare female serial killer, admitted to murdering several elderly people while working as a nurse, and Léopold Dion pretended to be a photographer in order to attack young boys. Gilbert Paul Jordan is a suspected serial killer who many people believe used alcohol to end the lives of his victims, while Paul Bernardo is a notorious serial rapist who caused the deaths of three teenage girls. Gerald Thomas Archer preferred to attack older women who all worked as chambermaids in London, Ontario, while John Martin Crawford preyed upon indigenous women, exposing some of the prejudice towards aboriginal people in Canadian society.
Before he started murdering teenage girls with the help of his wife, Paul Bernardo was a serial rapist who sexually assaulted several woman between 1987 and 1990 in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. Six months prior to marrying Karla Homolka, the couple drugged Homolka’s 15-year-old sister Tammy on December 23, 1990, and the pair taped themselves raping the teenager. However, the 15-year-old choked on her vomit and died a short time later at a local hospital. Tammy’s death was ruled an accident, allowing Bernardo and Homolka to attack two other teenage girls. On June 15, 1991, Bernardo abducted 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and took her back to the home he shared with Homolka in Port Dalhousie. After raping the teenager repeatedly, the couple killed Mahaffy, dismembered her body, and dumped her remains in a nearby lake.
Soon after they married in 1991, Bernardo and Homolka kidnapped Kristen French, 15, on April 16, 1992, and they brought her back to their house and raped, sodomized, and tortured the teenager over the course of multiple days. Then, they discarded French’s naked corpse in a ditch were she was discovered two weeks later. Eventually, the couple were linked to the killings because Bernardo was asked to submit a DNA sample after he became a suspect in the serial rapes in Scarborough. When officials learned Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist, they questioned Homolka who told law enforcement about the killings, minimizing her role in the murders. Homolka pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was released in 2005 after serving 12 years in prison. On September 1, 1995, Bernardo — who was born in Scarborough on August 27, 1964 — was given life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, and he applied for a parole hearing in early 2017.
While he was only convicted of killing six women, Robert Pickton allegedly confessed to an undercover officer that he murdered 49 victims, many of them sex workers he met in downtown Vancouver and brought back to his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. The farm, which the Canadian serial killer inherited after his parents passed away, was worth millions, and it served as the perfect place for him to murder his victims and dispose of their corpses by feeding their remains to his pigs. Officials believe Pickton murdered tens of women over the course of nearly two decades, killing his first victim in 1983 and continuing his vicious crimes until his arrest in 2002. Pickton — who was born on October 24, 1949, in Port Coquitlam — was known to local police because of the raucous parties he and his brother had at the farm, and he was arrested for attempted murder in 1997 when he stabbed a sex worker multiple times. However, the charges were later dropped, allowing the serial killer to go free.
On February 6, 2002, police searched Pickton’s home for illegal firearms, and law enforcement found an asthma inhaler that had been prescribed to a woman who had been reported missing. On February 22, 2002, Pickton was arrested for murder, and he was eventually charged with killing 27 women. Pickton — who was dubbed the “Pig Farmer Killer” by the media — was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder on December 9, 2007, and he was given life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving 25 years. This Canadian serial killer has never formally admitted to the murders, but based on the evidence found in his home — which included human remains, a loaded gun with a dildo attached to the barrel, and approximately 40 unidentified female DNA profiles — Pickton is considered to be one of the most heinous murderers in the country’s history.
From 2007 to 2014, Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered eight elderly men and women while working as a registered nurse in a private home and multiple long-term care facilities for senior citizens in Ontario, Canada. Over the course of seven years, Wettlaufer ended the lives of her victims — who ranged in age from 75 to 95 — by injecting them with insulin, later stating she “got that laughing feeling” after killing the elderly men and women. This Canadian serial killer’s crimes were discovered when law enforcement learned of some concerning information Wettlaufer had provided to a Toronto psychiatric hospital.
Wettlaufer — who is one of only a few known female Canadian serial killers — was arrested in 2016 for multiple counts of murder, and in June 2017, the 49-year-old pleaded guilty to eight murders, two counts of aggravated assault, and four attempted murders. During her trial, Wettlaufer testified that she got a “red surging feeling” when she selected the next patient she was going to murder. On June 26, 2017, this Canadian Angel of Death was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
On September 15, 1956, Peter Woodcock committed his first murder when he was just 17, strangling 7-year-old Wayne Mallette to death after luring the child to an isolated area in Toronto, Canada. Less than a month later, the teenager killed his second known victim, 9-year-old Gary Morris, on October 6, 1956. The following year on January 19, 1957, Woodcock strangled 4-year-old Carole Voyce; the little girl died not from strangulation, but from when the teenage serial killer shoved a tree branch into her vagina. Thankfully, Woodcock — who was born in Peterborough, Ontario, on March 5, 1939 — was arrested on January 21, 1957, because multiple eyewitnesses saw him leaving the scene of Voyce’s murder.
This Canadian serial killer confessed to killing all three children, but he was only tried for murdering Voyce. On April 11, 1957, the teenage murderer was deemed not guilty by reason of insanity, and he was sent to a mental health facility in Penetanguishene, Ontario. Decades later on July 13, 1991, Woodcock was on his first ever unsupervised weekend release from Brockville Psychiatric Hospital when he murdered Dennis Kerr, a fellow patient, with the help of his lover, Bruce Hamill, a convicted killer who had recently been released from Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, the same facility where Woodcock was sent after his 1957 trial. Immediately after killing Kerr, Woodcock went to a nearby police station to turn himself in, and he was transferred back to Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre where he died in 2010 of natural causes on his 71st birthday.
Born in Canada on January 21, 1990, Cody Legebokoff killed his first victim, 35-year-old Jill Stuchenko, in October 2009, when he was just 19 years old, making him one of the youngest known serial killers in Canada’s history. Legebokoff murdered his next victim nearly one year later, killing Natasha Montgomery, 23, near the end of August 2010. Sadly, the young woman’s remains have never been found, but investigators recovered her DNA in Legebokoff’s home in Prince George, British Columbia. His third known victim, 35-year-old Cynthia Maas, went missing on September 10, 2010, and when her corpse was found in October 2010, authorities determined she had received multiple blows to the head with a blunt instrument and her body had been repeatedly stomped on.
This Canadian serial killer was finally apprehended when he was stopped for speeding shortly after dumping the lifeless corpse of his final victim, 15-year-old Loren Leslie, on November 27, 2010. Officers noticed blood all over Legebokoff’s body and in his vehicle, and they also discovered Leslie’s belongings, including her ID, in his truck. Legebokoff claimed he had beaten a deer to death, so investigators contacted a conservation officer who traced the murderer’s tire tracks to where the serial killer had recently discarded the remains of his fourth victim. On September 16, 2014, Legebokoff — who pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder — was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Gilbert Paul Jordan
Nicknamed the “Boozing Barber” by the Canadian press, Gilbert Paul Jordan is an alleged serial killer who is believed to have murdered at least eight women — many of them aboriginal — between 1965 to 1988. Jordan encountered his victims in bars in downtown Vancouver, and he encouraged them to drink until they lost consciousness. After the women passed out, Jordan allegedly poured liquor down their throats, ultimately killing them via alcohol poisoning. Initially, his victims’ deaths were attributed to binge drinking, but after multiple women were found dead in Vancouver hotel rooms, the police began to suspect foul play.
Investigators connected Jordan — who was born in Vancouver on July 7, 2006 — with the string of murders after his fingerprints were found near the corpse of Vanessa Lee Buckner on October 12, 1987, causing law enforcement to place the barber under surveillance. According to officers, they saved at least four women from dying at the hands of the Boozing Barber, and this information was used to try him for the death of Buckner. In 1988, Jordan was convicted of one count of manslaughter, and he was released after spending just six years in prison. He was arrested multiple times for parole violations until his death on July 7, 2006, at the of 74.
During the 1960s, Léopold Dion sexually assaulted more than 20 young boys, and he lured his victims to remote areas by pretending to be a photographer who wanted to take pictures of them. Dion committed his first murder when he strangled Luc Luckenuck, 12, to death on April 20, 1963, and buried the child’s dead body near the city of Pont-Rouge. Approximately two weeks later on May 5, 1963, Dion — who was dubbed the “Monster of Pont-Rouge” by the press — killed Alain Carrier, 8, and Michel Morel, 10, strangling the older child with a garrote before smothering the younger boy to death. Three weeks later, this Canadian serial killer strangled 13-year-old Pierre Marquis to death on May 26, 1963, after convincing the child to pose for nude photographs.
Shortly after killing his final victim, Dion — who was born on February 25, 1920, in Quebec, Canada — was arrested when a survivor told police about his ordeal at the hands of the Monster of Pont-Rouge. After a month behind bars, the serial killer confessed to his crimes, leading officers to his victims’ remains; on April 10, 1964, he was convicted of one count of murder. While he was given the death penalty, Dion’s sentence was commuted to life in prison, and he was stabbed to death at the age of 52 on November 17, 1972, by a fellow inmate.
Michael Wayne McGray
Michael Wayne McGray committed his first known murder on May 1, 1985, when he killed Elizabeth Tucker, a 17-year-old hitchhiker, when he was only 19 years old. Two years later, McGray murdered Mark Gibbons, a man who allegedly helped him try to rob a tax driver in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1987. In 1991, McGray stabbed Gaetan Ethier and Robert Assaly to death after meeting the two men at a gay bar in Montreal, and seven years later on February 28, 1998, he murdered Joan Hicks and her 11-year-old daughter Nena after breaking into their basement apartment in Moncton, New Brunswick. The day after he killed the mother and daughter, McGray was arrested for their murders, and while in police custody, he confessed to killing several other people.
On March 20, 2000, he pleaded guilty to slashing Joan’s throat — but denied harming Nena — and he was given life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Based on his confessions, he was convicted of several additional murders, and while serving his sentences in a medium-security prison in British Columbia, McGray strangled his cellmate Jeremy Phillips to death. In November 2011, this Canadian serial killer — who was born in Collingwood, Ontario, on July 11, 1965 — was given another life sentence for killing Phillips, and McGray was transferred to a high-security correctional facility in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.
John Martin Crawford
After killing 35-year-old Mary Serloin in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, on December 23, 1981, John Martin Crawford was convicted of manslaughter and spent seven years in prison for killing the aboriginal woman. Following his release from prison on 1989, Crawford — who was born in Steinbach, Manitoba, on March 29, 1962 — was in and out of trouble with the law and frequently hired sex workers while on probation in the city of Saskatoon. Over the course of 1992, Crawford killed three women, raping Shelley Napope, 16, before stabbing and beating her to death, and then strangling Eve Taysup and Calinda Waterhen in September.
Two years after he murdered the three aboriginal women, their remains were found in a wooded area south of Saskatoon. In 1995, a sex worker approached police, telling officers she Crawford had taken her to a wooded area and choked her, leading law enforcement to arrest the Canadian serial killer for the murders of Napope, Taysup, and Waterhen in January 1995. In May 1996, Crawford was convicted of killing all three women, and he was given consecutive life sentences for his crimes. Family members of Crawford’s victims have complained about the way the press, the justice system, and the police treated the women’s killings, claiming their cases were handled differently because of stereotypes associated with aboriginal people.
Gerald Thomas Archer
From January 1969 to January 1971, Gerald Thomas Archer — who was born in London, Ontario, in 1932 — murdered three women, all of them chambermaids who worked at hotels in his hometown. Archer beat and stabbed 62-year-old Jane Wooley to death on January 31, 1969, and the following year on September 4, 1970, he sexually assaulted Edith Authier, 57, before ending the chambermaid’s life. On January 23, 1971, Archer beat 57-year-old Belva Russell to death in the street outside of her home, encountering the woman’s common-in-law husband as he was fleeing the scene. Less than a month later on February 12, 1971, Archer was arrested for Russell’s murder, and her common-in-law husband identified the serial killer as the man who beat the 57-year-old women to death.
In June 1971, Archer — who was dubbed the “London Chambermaid Slayer” — was convicted of one count of murder, and he was given a life sentence for the killing. However, he was paroled in 1985 and died of a heart attack a decade later in 1995. Following Archer’s death, his estranged wife and daughter told law enforcement he had admitted to killing Edith Authier, and the authorities eventually linked him to Jane Wooley’s murder after DNA evidence found near the woman’s dead body matched the convicted killer.
Test Your Knowledge About Canadian Serial Killers!
Which Canadian serial killer strangled his cellmate to death while behind bars?
Michael Wayne McGray strangled his cellmate Jeremy Phillips to death while serving a life sentence for killing Joan Hicks.
John Martin Crawford preyed on which group of people?
John Martin Crawford murdered aboriginal women.
How did Gilbert Paul Jordan allegedly kill his victims?
Gilbert Paul Jordan allegedly killed his victims by pouring alcohol down their throats after they lost consciousness.
How did Léopold Dion lure his victims?
Léopold Dion pretended to be a photographer in order to convince young boys to accompany him to isolated areas where he murdered them.
How did Elizabeth Wettlaufer kill her victims?
Elizabeth Wettlaufer killed multiple elderly men and women by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin.
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