Every now and then, an escaped felon or two will make headlines when they manage to scale the walls of one of Canada’s most secure prisons and make a run for it.
Move over Shawshank. Here are six of Canada’s craziest prison escapes, like something straight out of a movie.
Literally—some of them actually turned into one.
The Boyd Gang
Nicknamed ‘the Boyd Gang’ by the media, these Canadian bank robbers managed to escape twice from Toronto’s Don Jail, once in 1951 and the second time in 1952.
Edwin Alonzo Boyd, arrested for six bank robberies, was imprisoned at the Don Jail in 1951. There he befriended two other bank robbers: Steve Suchan and Lennie Jackson.
The three used a hacksaw that one of the men had managed to hide inside his wooden leg to cut through their cell bars. They tied bedsheets together, climbed the wall and got away.
After their escape, the gang went on a robbing spree, including the largest bank heist in Canadian history, before being tracked down and captured.
They returned to Don Jail, only to escape for a second time almost a year later.
Once again, they were tracked and imprisoned.
Fun fact: The 2011 film Citizen Gangster depicts the life of Edwin Boyd and the gang.
A flashy robber and drug-smuggler, Lucien Rivard escaped from Montreal’s Bordeaux jail in March 1965 with another inmate.
The two had offered to water the prison ice rink, however they used the hose to climb over the wall and escape.
While on the run that month, Rivard mailed a letter to Prime Minister Lester Pearson, saying, “Life is short, you know. I don’t intend to be in jail for the rest of my life.”
Rivard was captured four months later and extradited to the U.S.
Fun fact: The Canadian Press voted Rivard the Canadian Newsmaker of the Year for 1965—the first time a convicted criminal had been given the title.
Allan Legere, also known as the ‘Monster of the Miramichi,’ was a Canadian rapist, arsonist and serial killer.
In 1989, Legere was serving a life sentence for murder at the Atlantic Institution in Renous-Quarryville, New Brunswick, when he came down with an ear infection. He was transferred to a hospital in Moncton.
Legere told officers he needed to go to the bathroom. Once inside, he used a strip of metal to pick his handcuffs and shackles that he had hidden in his rectum. Yes, you read that right.
After sending the guards to look for toilet paper, Legere bolted, kidnapped a woman and stole her car.
He managed to evade the largest RCMP manhunt in history and murdered four people before his capture seven months later.
Fun fact: Legere is currently imprisoned at the Edmonton Institution in Alberta.
READ MORE: 6 Of Canada’s Most Notorious Mafia Families
Notorious bank robber, Tyrone William Conn had escaped from three other prisons before his transfer to the maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary in 1998.
In 1999, Conn scaled a fence with a ladder and grappling hook he had built in prison shop class. The dummy he also created by stuffing clothes with paper, which he had left in his bunk, allowed him to leave undetected until the following day.
Two weeks later, Conn was tracked down to an apartment in Toronto. Surrounded by police, he shot himself while on the phone with a CBC producer.
Fun fact: Conn used cayenne pepper to prevent dogs from following his scent while on the run.
In 2007, for the first time in B.C.’s history, a prisoner escaped from a facility with the help of a correctional officer.
The kingpin of an Iranian-Canadian organized crime family, from 1999 to 2002, Omid Tahvili ran a fraudulent telemarketing business, allegedly stealing $3 million from elderly American citizens.
In 2005, Tahvili was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a man related to $300,000 of missing drug money.
In 2007, prison guard Edwin Ticne helped Tahvili escape in exchange for $50,000. Video cameras caught Ticne leading Tahvili through a series of locked doors within the prison while Tahvili was dressed in a janitor’s uniform.
Tahvili is still free and currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Fun fact: In 2008, Ticne was sentenced to three years in prison for aiding in Tahvili’s escape.
Hudon-Barbeau and Danny Provencal
Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, a former Hells Angels associate, was serving a sentence for gun possession at a Saint-Jérôme detention centre.
In March 2013, on a seemingly normal day in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, Hudon-Barbeau and another inmate, Danny Provencal, made a daring daytime escape.
Two accomplices had hijacked a helicopter and forced its pilot to fly to the jail, allowing Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal to climb up a rope to the helicopter and getaway.
They were found just a few hours later by police in a cottage.
Fun fact: Following their example, three more prisoners escaped from another prison in Quebec using a helicopter just a year later.