The Last to Die


Short-listed for the 2008 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction

Although they committed separate crimes, Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin met their deaths on the same scaffold at Toronto’s Don Jail on December 11, 1962. They were the last two people executed in Canada, but surprisingly little was known about them until now. This is the first book to uncover the lives and deaths of Turpin, a Canadian criminal, and Lucas, a Detroit gangster. The result of more than five years of research, The Last to Die is based on original interviews, hidden documents, trial transcripts, and newspaper accounts.

Featuring crime scene photos and never-before-published documents, this riveting book also reveals the heroic efforts of lawyer Ross MacKay, who defended both men, and Chaplain Cyril Everitt, who remained with them to the end. What actually happened the night of the hangings is shrouded by myth and rumour. This book finally confirms the truth and reveals the gruesome mistake that cost Arthur Lucas not only his life but also his head.


Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction


"This is a courageous and shocking book."

British Journal of Canadian Studies (January, 2007)

"...Robert Hoshowsky's absorbing account of the last two men executed for murder in Canada is also a first-rate social history, evocative of a Toronto long gone in its acceptance of capital punishment but startlingly contemporary in its fear of gun violence."

"This essential bit of Canadiana briefly relates the life, crimes, trials and execution of Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas — the two men who at Toronto's Don Jail on Dec.11, 1962 were the last to die by judicial hanging in Canada."

About the Authors

Robert J. Hoshowsky

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Robert J. Hoshowsky

Robert J. Hoshowsky is an investigative journalist who has explored first-hand the world of cults, bikers, cops, killers, and thieves. A former researcher-reporter at Maclean's, Hoshowsky has had work appear in more than one hundred magazines and newspapers worldwide. His highly acclaimed book, The Last to Die, was shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur Ellis Award. He lives in Toronto.