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Police declare death a murder

The Jun 11 death of a gay man resulting from an injury in his east side apartment has been declared a homicide by Toronto police.

On Jun 2, police were called to an apartment on Strathmore Blvd where they found Lawrence Callahan, 64, unconscious. He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died on Jun 11 at St Michael’s Hospital.

A press release issued this month says police have determined the cause of death to be blunt-impact head trauma.
Investigators, who have not yet laid charges, are now trying to establish Callahan’s whereabouts and activities on the day he was assaulted.

Callahan’s sister Victoria Elson says her brother, who had been on disability and not working the last few years because of arthritis, had had a rough life.

“He hasn?t had an easy time of it in Toronto. He’s been assaulted many times, always taking in transients.

“He had a lot of friends — he could walk down the street 20 times a day greeting people — but he was a lonely person because of his alcohol problem,” says Elson. “He was everybody’s little brother. Very loving and loyal, a genuine true friend. He used to be well-known. They called him Little Larry.”

Until recently Callahan worked walking dogs for a downtown dog groomer and volunteered at the 519 Community Centre and for the Calgary Baptist Food Kitchen.

Growing up in Botwood, Newfoundland, near Grand Falls, Callahan was a middle child in a family of 12 kids. After coming out as gay, Callahan was shunned by much of his family, though later in life he was accepted by more of his sisters.

“He was discarded by the boys of the family, but the girls loved him,” says Elson. He moved to Toronto at age 21 and worked at places like McDonald’s and as a sous chef at the Royal York. He had been talking about moving closer to Elson, who lives near Barrie.

“For a while he lived in a little trailer in a trailer park beside me. Larry’s hideaway. That’s when he was happiest.

“He also loved the country in Newfoundland. Loved doing cookups with fresh scallops on an open fire. I remember at my sister’s cottage Larry building a bridge across the pond for her to walk over.”

Anyone with information that might help in the murder investigation is asked to contact police at (416) 808-7400, at Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477) or on-line at 222tips.com.