Kent B. Lawrence

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Kent Lawrence grew up in Vermont and Connecticut. In 1967 he was drafted and sent to New Jersey for training by the US Army. He deserted a few days later and was living underground in New York when he met his wife, Karen. He was captured and sent to the Army prison at Fort Reily in Kansas. He completed a program for deserters, was released from the stockade and reassigned in the Army. Once again he escaped and returned to New York where he lived with his wife. In 1970, with the help of the TADP, he and Karen immigrated to Canada.

Kent worked as a driver for a dealer on Spadina Avenue who specialized in military surplus items. Kent quickly learned how the business worked and decided to open a store selling surplus clothing on Baldwin Street. He was unable to find a storefront on Baldwin Street and so opened his store on Avenue Road. A short time later Jimmy Wilson moved the Yellow Ford Truck head shop a few doors down the street and he offered the lease on 27 Baldwin to Kent. Kent and Karen moved the surplus store there. For the first three years they worked other jobs to keep the store going.

Karen and Kent separated in 1975 and Kent became one of the relatively few Americans on Baldwin Street to take advantage of US President Ford’s Clemency program. He moved back to the United States where he continues to live.

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