Hate Watch
1 min

Swastika painted on rainbow crosswalk in Toronto’s gay village

The graffiti was quickly removed by neighbourhood association

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

A swastika was found scrawled on a rainbow crosswalk in Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village on Aug 2.

The crudely-drawn graffiti also included the letters “SF.” While it’s unclear what the letters are exactly referring to, it could be a reference to “Stormfront,” one of the most popular white supremacist sites on the internet.

Nicki Ward, a director of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, says she first saw the graffiti when it was posted online by a passerby.

The graffiti was quickly removed by members of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association with the help of some passing city employees who helped to block traffic.

“The good news is that it was dealt with very, very quickly,” Ward says.

The graffiti was quickly removed by members of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association. Credit: Eric Wright/Xtra

She believes the swastika was clearly intended to be hate speech. Ward reported it to a Toronto police officer on Aug 3, who promised to follow up on it. As of publication, a formal police report has yet to be filed.

In 2017, there were 186 hate crimes reported to the Toronto police, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year.

There have been a number of instances of Nazi graffiti, usually accompanied by anti-Semitic messages, throughout Toronto over the last year. In February, a lifeguard station in the Beaches was tagged with a swastika and “Heil Hitler.” Last November, a swastika was painted on the sidewalk outside of a Jewish school in Thornhill.