Calgary pride crosswalk vandalized again, police hate crime unit investigating

Downtown Calgary's pride flag crosswalk lasted just four days after repainting, before it was vandalized for the second time in one week.

The LGBTQ+ pride flag, which is painted on Stephen Avenue, was scrawled with the hateful, and misspelled phrase "shoot a f-----t" on Sunday morning.

The graffiti had been removed by Sunday afternoon.

On Wednesday, both the rainbow and trans pride crosswalks were repainted after the words "lust" and "lost" were scrawled across the flags. 

Police say both incidents are being investigated as hate-motivated crimes.

The permanent crosswalks have only been up since July 21. They were donated to the city by private company Zoom Painting, who has committed to maintaining the crosswalks for up to 10 years. 

Helen Pike/CBC

Nolan Hill, who spotted the latest incident of vandalism, said he was glad the message was quickly removed.

"It's frustrating and it's hard to see when it's especially so violent," Hill said. "It's hard to see and it's hard not to reconsider how safe we might feel in the community."

In the last three years, pride crosswalks in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer have all been vandalized — and in Taber, the town's pride flag was first shredded, then burned.

Later on Sunday afternoon, new messages were scrawled on Calgary's crosswalk in chalk — but this time, they were messages of love, reading "spread love" and "you matter."

Hill said it's great to see the community come together when hateful messages come forward, and he's glad police are taking the situation seriously.

"I'm hopeful that the way it's being handled and how quickly it's being painted over … will show to people that might want to vandalize that it's not going to be accepted," he said. 

Nolan Hill

In Bridgeland on Sunday, another pride crosswalk was being painted — filling an intersection with the colours of the rainbow.

"I think communities are really asking to do these kinds of things. It's great to see the city supporting innovation, beautification, welcoming messaging. We have a lot of neighbours here this means a lot to," Ali McMillan with the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association said.

Anyone with information about either incident of vandalism can contact the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

Calgary's pride parade takes place Sept. 1.