Aside from routine maintenance work such as leaf-blowing and trimming greenery, Bruce McArthur was popular for his colourful plant arrangements featuring annuals and tropical plants.
Aside from routine maintenance work such as leaf-blowing and trimming greenery, Bruce McArthur was popular for his colourful plant arrangements featuring annuals and tropical plants.

Before starting work in landscaping, Bruce McArthur spent many years as a salesperson in Ontario, including time in Toronto in the 1970s.

“He was kind of a Caspar Milquetoast guy,” said John Foot, a retired vice-principal who knew McArthur, referring to the classic comic strip character from the early 20th century who was known for being timid and unremarkable.

Quiet, polite, and “floppy,” is how McArthur carried himself during his days as a buyer and assistant for Eaton’s department stores in Toronto between at least 1973 and 1978, Foot said.

McArthur, 66, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi and Dean Lisowick.

Toronto police have expanded their investigation to more than 30 properties tied to McArthur’s landscaping business, revealing last week that they had uncovered human remains buried in outdoor planters at a Leaside home.

Police are also seeking assistance from other policy agencies including the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains and the OPP’s serial predator crime investigations unit.

Years before he went into landscaping, McArthur worked in retail offices and as a salesman.

Foot does not know when McArthur left his position at the Eaton’s merchandise office, but said McArthur eventually went to work at McGregor Hosiery as a travelling salesman.

They remained in touch briefly after parting ways when Foot left the company in 1978 and moved to London, England. Foot hosted McArthur and his wife, Janice, for two to three…