Wayne Ford – Teen was convicted for his mom’s 1963 murder

March 18, 1963, was the last day Minnie, then 55, was seen alive, writes Susan Goldenberg


On Oct. 16, 1966, two men strolling the beach of Lake Couchiching, in cottage country 140 kilometres north of Toronto, made a grisly discovery — a decomposed human body had apparently swept ashore. It lay in front of a cottage owned by wealthy North York widow Minnie Ford who had mysteriously vanished three-and-a-half years earlier. An autopsy identified the corpse as Minnie and the cause of death as murder.

Minnie’s late husband Lorne had owned a Willowdale service station. Minnie lived in their bungalow on Kingsdale Avenue near Yonge and Sheppard. In addition to it and the cottage, she owned a vacation home in Florida. March 18, 1963 was the last day Minnie, then 55, was seen alive.

Her estate was worth $70,000 in cash plus the three homes. She hadn’t written a will. She and Lorne had one child — Wayne, 17. Lorne had since had two children by a previous marriage.

Suspicion centred on Wayne. “A character like Wayne Ford wasn’t supposed to exist in sleepy Willowdale,” the Toronto Star’s Paul Hunter wrote May 4, 2013. “He operated a brothel out of the family bungalow, carried a sawed-off shotgun, shot a friend during a raucous house party, imported guns from Buffalo, dealt illegal drugs, robbed banks, agreed to do a contract killing and broke a man’s legs for cash.”

Wayne was charged with battering Minnie to death with a baseball bat in their kitchen, when she refused to let him use her Cadillac, then dumping it in Lake Couchiching expecting it never would be found.

Wayne claimed Minnie was coming at him with an ice pick, and in the past had threatened him with a rolling pin and frying pan. “You’re six feet five, 220 pounds; your mother was five feet five, 140 pounds,” the prosecutor retorted. “You could have grabbed it.”

Convicted for non-premeditated murder, Wayne was sent to the Kingston Penitentiary. He was released eight years later. At some later time, he moved to British Columbia; that’s where the Star’s Paul Hunter found him in 2013, living quietly alone.

Susan Goldenberg is a director and membership chair of the North York Historical Society, which preserves North York’s heritage. For more information, visit nyhs.ca