Hate Watch
1 min

Police still investigating swastika painted on rainbow crosswalk in Toronto’s gay village

Toronto police are looking at multiple suspects

A swastika was found scrawled on the rainbow crosswalk at Church and Alexander streets in the Church-Wellesley Village. Credit: Eric Wright/Xtra

Police are still looking for the person responsible for scrawling a swastika on a rainbow crosswalk in Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village.

In a phone interview with Xtra on Aug 14, Toronto police spokesperson Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, says the investigation is still ongoing and the police are looking at multiple suspects but haven’t charged anyone yet.

“There’s been no arrest made and the investigation is still open,” Sidhu says.

The graffiti, which also included the letters “SF,” was found in the city’s gay village on Aug 2. It was quickly removed by members of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association with the aid of some passing city employees who helped block traffic.

Nicki Ward, a director of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, reported the incident to a Toronto police officer on Aug 3. In an interview with Xtra that day, she said she believes the swastika was clearly intended to be hate speech.

The Toronto police say there are more things to be determined before they can classify the incident as hate crime.

Last year, Toronto police has seen an approximately 28 percent increase on hate crimes reported — from 145 in 2016 to 186 in 2017.

In BC, multiple rainbow crosswalks have also been targets of defacement. Crosswalks in Burnaby, White Rock, Courtenay, Salmon Arm and Langley have been vandalized with symbols, words and tire marks.

Comox Valley RCMP were reported to have issued a ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle used to leave tire marks on the Courtney crosswalk a day after it was painted. In Salmon Arm, CBC reported that RCMP are now treating the incident as hate crime.