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Bad Seeds: The True Story of Toronto's Galloway Boys Street Gang [Paperback]

Betsy Powell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 16 2010
This book tells the story of the Galloway Boys, who as young teens banded together in an urban-blighted area of Toronto's east end to sell drugs and run guns. They were led by Tyshan Riley, born into one of the toughest neighborhoods in Canada and raised by an often absent and erratic mother. He learned his lessons on the streets-how to sell drugs, how to steal--and used violence to get the money, sex and respect that he lived for.

The area known as Galloway is home to 186 hectares of public housing. Crossing bridges is the only route into the area. It created a sense of isolation and for those who lived there a sense of mistrust of anyone from the outside. The area was a fertile ground for the growth of gangs--and as well for the drug dealers, prostitutes and crackheads who survived along a major east-west thoroughfare leading in and out of Toronto's downtown core. And while the Galloway Boys lay claim to their turf, farther to the north the Malvern Crew was laying claim to theirs. The war was inevitable and it would claim ten casualties, including the innocent.

For three Galloway Boys - Tyshan Riley, Philip Atkins and Jason Wisdom - their days in the street were numbered. With the cold-blooded murder of Brenton Charlton and the near fatal shooting of his friend Leonard Bell at a busy Toronto intersection on March 3, 2004, the police investigation would lead to the arrest of Riley, Atkins and Wisdom, and with the testimony of a former Galloway Boys gang member, Roland Ellis, the three would be convicted of the first-degree murder of a man who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Through the testimony of Ellis and that of other witnesses, the wiretap evidence, Crown attorney and defense arguments, a portrait of a gang emerges, one that lives on our streets yet is hidden to our eyes. Bad Seeds compels us to take our blinders off and face a reality of modern urban life that no one professes to care about very much. There is peril in willing blindness.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
People who want to know a bit more about the "Malvern" situation in Toronto will find this book useful.

The book does a pretty good job of putting events into context with respect to the political climate in Toronto as events were taking place, although the chronology was sometimes difficult to follow as I read the book. There is a good amount of background information interjected between events associated with the main thrust of the book.

The author points out the Riley's mother was a follower of evocation magic, and later mentions the fact that, during a police search, a list of involved officials' names were found wrapped around a tinfoiled cucumber in the freezer, but doesn't make a connection between the two -- that the "cucumber in the freezer" is actually a form of evocation magic to bring harm to those listed with the cucumber.

This book will be a good read for anyone interested in the general development of violent urban street gangs in Toronto, which is still a relatively new feature in the city.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, shocking and well written Sept. 6 2010
Enjoyed this book! Well written, unbiased and straightforward detailing of the Toronto gang problem, highly recommend this book Bad Seeds: The True Story of Torontos Galloway Boys Street Gang
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book; nice balanced conclusion Dec 24 2012
By S. chant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
i really enjoyed this book. read it easily in one day.


a little surprised the three boys were convicted based on the lack of evidence, although i suppose there would have been a monstrous uproar if two of them were acquitted (the 3rd boy it seems had a much greater chance of having had nothing to do with the murder in question)

i would also note that the author's concluding chapter (it might be two chapters) is very balanced and constructive as to why these problems exist. seems like all of the police, the politicians, the media, the general public and the communities (and similar communities) involved in this sad story need to improve.
4.0 out of 5 stars Hometown Pride Oct. 6 2012
By Keisha-Marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was a must buy for me. It details the crimes that took place in the very neighborhood I grew up in with details about the people I grew up with and their choices. Kingston Road and Galloway stand up!
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