It Is a Fact that the Private Investigation Industry in Canada Started from a Former Sailor – John Wilson Murray

In Canada during the 17th and 18th centuries, there were people employed as watchmen and citizen patrol, which used vigilantism and community based “policing” mainly to uphold law and order in Ontario and Quebec. But officially the industry of private investigations started in 19th century.

John Wilson Murray was a sailor who became known as the Great Canadian Detective. He is considered a pioneer of scientific and forensic criminology in Canada and beyond.

1st Provincial Detective for the Government of Ontario

Murray spent some time supervising prison camps for the US Navy during the Civil War. After leaving US Navy with honourable discharge he became a detective for the Canadian Southern Railway. In 1875, he was appointed as the first Detective for the Government of Ontario by the Attorney General(first full-time criminal detective in Ontario). Although Murray did not hold the position of a private investigator, his methodologies and influence in security, law enforcement, and criminal investigation were unrivaled, and they laid the foundation for the modern detective industry.


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