Police investigating anti-Semitic graffiti found on chairs in Toronto park

Investigation launched after MP posts photos of Downsview Park chairs defaced with swastikas to social media.

Dan Verbin ,

Graffiti
Graffiti
iStock

Toronto police have launched an investigation into anti-Semitic graffiti found on chairs in a popular park.

On Thursday, Toronto Liberal MP Ya’ara Saks tweeted photos of deck chairs in Downsview Park spray painted with swastikas.

The park is in her riding of York Centre.

“I’m extremely disheartened & angry to see these symbols of hate and anti-Semitism in my own neighbourhood, right in the centre of our community. Hate has no place here, or anywhere else in Canada. I’ve reached out to @downsviewpark management for more information. This must stop,” she tweeted.

Saks, who is Jewish, represents a riding with a large Jewish population.

The MP's post was brought to the attention of Toronto Police, reported Toronto.com

On Friday, Constable Caroline de Kloet said that an officer visited the park to investigate.

"We became aware of offensive symbols spray painted on chairs. Our Hate Crime Unit has been made aware and is supporting the investigation,” de Kloet told the news outlet.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday shared the tweet by Saks, addressing the Jewish community.

“I am appalled and disgusted by this anti-Semitic vandalism. To the Jewish community in York Centre and across Canada, know that we will continue to stand with you against this hate. We will not tolerate it, and we will work with you to end it,” he tweeted.

During his Friday speech he mentioned the vandalism alongside an incident where graffiti was painted on an Edmonton mosque.

“Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have no place in our communities, and hatred and discrimination of any kind have no place in our country,” Trudeau said.

The anti-Semitic graffiti at Downsview Park is the latest in a sharp uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in Toronto and in Canada in the last few months.

In early May, a Jewish owned store in the city's Kensington Market was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, while later in the month an anti-Israel event turned into a mob that attacked Jewish counter-demonstrators.

In the wake of Toronto Jewish organizations demanding strong action, a new Shomrim volunteer civilian patrol was launched recently in Jewish areas of Toronto and several suburbs.



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