Hate Crime Unit to Investigate Paint Splash Across Ottawa Rainbow Crosswalk

Written on 09/04/2021
Contributing Columnist

OTTAWA, ON — The police in Ottawa told CTV News that its Hate Crime Unit is investigating an incident where white paint was splashed across a downtown rainbow crosswalk.

Photos circulated online that display white paint-splattered and smeared onto the Bank and Somerset streets crossing.

The incident took place during Ottawa's pride week (Aug. 22-29). Police were unable to share any other information about the investigation with CTV News.

Shortly after the incident, the paint was removed from the rainbow crossing but was still visible on each side.

Pride crosswalks all over Canada have been the targets of vandalism. In early August, police charged a 21-year-old man caught on video spinning his tires over a rainbow crosswalk in a town just outside of Kingston, Ontario.

Similar incidents took place in British Columbia, too. Earlier in the summer, two crosswalks in Nanaimo and a mural in Vancouver were defaced with paint — the incidents took place over three days.

Capital Pride called the incident disturbing in a statement: "While the incident continues to be investigated, it follows a disturbing trend of vandalism of pride symbols – and particularly of rainbow crosswalks – across the country, including in Wasaga Beach, Gananoque, Vancouver, Lethbridge, Nanaimo, Prescott, and Barrie."

"As we reflect on the many important discussions taking place this week, it remains important to recognize that members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community have long been victims of violence, as have Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, immigrants, religious groups and many others. This act reminds us of the need to continue to challenge and resist all forms of oppression, including homophobia and transphobia, wherever they may arise," the statement added.

Ottawa's 2021 Pride celebration theme is "We Still Demand." Capital Pride believes this is a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to achieve full equality for LGBT2S+ Canadians. "...And a call-to-action for community members and allies alike to take a stand when they witness these types of hate-motivated incidents," the statement said.

(Image Credit: Matt Elliott)