Toronto police are investigating racist graffiti found spray painted on the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station on Tuesday as hate speech.
The historic building, located in the city’s Beach neighbourhood, was marred by racist and anti-Semitic words and symbols.
Swastikas and the words ‘Hail Hitler’ were painted on the side of the small building. Human genitalia was also among the graffiti.
Police said they responded to a report of a hate crime around 9:15 a.m. at the lifeguard station located at the eastern beaches.
“It is absolutely vile. It’s despicable. It’s horrific. We will not tolerate it in our city,” Ward 32 Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon told Global News.
“You get a little bit jarred that way, but we have a great community and a great city, and we’re going to rally together. This is not tolerated at all.”
McMahon said the city’s parks department was notified of the graffiti Tuesday morning and it was quickly covered up by white paint by noon.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) in Toronto said they were “disgusted” over the graffiti and that racism and bigotry should not be tolerated.
“While this incident may appear to be an expression of immaturity, we should never tolerate racism and bigotry, regardless of the form they take,” CIJA Vice-President for the Greater Toronto Area Noah Shack said in a statement.
“We appreciate the responsiveness of the Toronto Police Service, and encourage anyone with relevant information to assist them with their investigation.”
The lifeguard station, which was built in the 1920s, is scheduled to undergo a $200,000 procedure that will raise the structure above ground to prevent it from the rising lake waters.
The project is expected to begin in the spring.
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