The rainbow crosswalk on Davie Street after it was vandalized on July 1. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Vancouver police are investigating after the rainbow crosswalk on Davie Street was defaced by white paint Thursday afternoon at the start of Pride season.
The paint, which covers a large part of the crosswalk, was deliberately spilled by a man who was being filmed in the act, according to a witness.
Chantelle Lee says she was in the area when she saw two young men approach the crosswalk, one holding a video camera and the other holding a paint can.
“He proceeded to go across the crosswalk when the lights went red and pretended to fall and then threw the paint all over and started rolling in it,” Lee told CBC News.
Lee says one man then tried to cover up as much of the crosswalk as possible with a paint roller while the other one filmed. She says they both ran off shortly after.
In a statement, the Vancouver Police Department said they responded to the incident quickly and are investigating.
The crosswalk was cleaned with a pressure-washer on Friday morning.
Lee says the situation shocked her and made her fearful.
“If they can do this in the day, what could happen at night? That’s what scares me,” she said.
The Davie Street crosswalk is known as Canada’s first rainbow crosswalk. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
The incident happened as Vancouver began its annual Pride celebrations that run throughout July and August, featuring events that celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community.
Lee says she is disappointed to see something like this happen after the amount of progress the community has made in recent years.
“We fought for this,” Lee said. “This sort of behaviour needs to stop. It’s 2021. It really needs to stop.”
The Davie Street crosswalk, which is known as Canada’s first permanent rainbow crosswalk, was installed 2013.
In recent years, several rainbow crosswalks have been vandalized around B.C.
Last July, a Pride crosswalk in West Vancouver was defaced only days after it was first unveiled to the public.
“For whatever reason, this person has chosen to leave a gesture of hate on a crosswalk that stands for the exact opposite.”
Const. Kevin Goodmurphy said in response to the West Vancouver defacing.
Anyone with any information regarding the Davie Street incident is asked to contact the VPD.
With files from Maryse Zeidler