Stratford, Ontario police are investigating after a newly completed Pride crosswalk was damaged.
Police say that around 1:30 am on Friday, officials were notified of “hate-motivated graffiti” on the crosswalk, which is located at Wellington Street and Downie Street in downtown Stratford.
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“What appeared to be domestic paint had been poured into various areas of the crosswalk, while a dark colored spray paint had also been applied to the crosswalk,” police said in a statement.
Authorities believe the damage was done recently because the paint was still wet when police arrived.
A pressure washer and street sweepers were used to clean the crosswalk.
Police say they searched the area but found no clues as to who may have caused the vandalism.
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For restaurant owner Kelly Ballantyne, the vandalism felt like a “punch to the stomach.”
“The Pride crosswalk means family to me,” he said. “My wife, my son and I went to take our photos there. That it was ruined in one day was just a big punch to the stomach. “
Ballantyne said he had seen the Pride crosswalk in other communities and thought his hometown of Stratford should have one too.
She posted her idea on Facebook and received positive feedback, prompting her to make it happen.
The Pride crosswalk was completed Wednesday night.
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Police are requesting anyone with a business or home in the area that has video surveillance to check their cameras and report any suspicious activity.
Officials are also asking the community to search their property, including all trash and recycling bins, for any evidence that may be related to this incident.
As for Ballantyne, he said he wants to see other crosswalks in the city painted in different solid colors that are meaningful for reasons unique to different people.
“You’re never going to win,” he said, sending a message to the people responsible for the vandalism. “There is no place for hatred. Love always wins. “
Anyone with information should contact Stratford Police at 519-271-4141, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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