The history of organized crime in Canada revolves around a few major markets and families; for Listed this week, in conjunction with our Boardwalk Empire Blu-ray giveaway, we present a beginner’s guide to the made men (and one woman) of the Canadian mafia.
7. Johnny “Pops” Papalia
By the time Hamilton native Johnny Papalia was old enough to talk his way out of serious jail time for petty drug offenses, the Buffalo-based Magaddino Family had built their empire on bootlegging, taking full advantage of their proximity to the border. After prohibition Papalia’s product of choice, heroin, became a lucrative item and his connections in Ontario granted a rise through the Magaddino’s ranks. By the 1960s Papalia was a “capo,” or “made man,” having earned his rep from the infamous “French Connection” smuggling operation that supplied over 80 per cent of America’s heroin market.
By most accounts Papalia was not one for making friends, and grew increasingly weary of outsiders as he aged. Lacking the literal and symbolic support of a successor, in May of 1997 he was fatally shot at his home in a hit ordered by the rival Mustinano family.