Skip to main content

Rainbow crosswalk vandalized, Pride flag set on fire in Hope, B.C.

The small community of Hope, B.C., saw two acts of vandalism targeting Pride displays Thursday morning, incidents police say they are treating as potential hate crimes.

In one incident, the window of the building that houses Hope Community Services was smashed and the Pride flag hanging behind the glass was lit on fire.

Robin Wells, the acting executive director of the non-profit, told CTV News they are now stuck with thousands of dollars worth of damage which has forced them not only to board up their windows but to relocate their meal program.

“The Pride flag was barely damaged that they tried to burn but our office is toast,” said Wells.

“It not only affects us but the community that we feed.”

Just hours before, Hope Pride gathered on the corner of 4th Avenue and Park Street to paint the community’s first rainbow crosswalk.

During the early morning hours on Thursday, Hope Pride say the sidewalk was defaced with anti-LGBTQ2+ messages and slurs.

“One said gays equal scum and the other used a derogatory term that I will not say that starts with the letter 'F,'” said Megan te Boekhorst, the organization's chair, adding that seeing the pictures brought her to tears but also strengthened her resolve to continue to celebrate Pride month.

Shortly after word got around that the crosswalk had been defaced, te Boekhorst says a group of high school students rushed to the intersection and began repainting the rainbow.

Vandalizing and defacing Pride crosswalks, flags and other symbols is not unique to Hope

West Vancouver, White Rock, Port Alberni are just three communities to have their rainbow crosswalks defaced in recent years. Pride flags and banners in Delta continue to be vandalized.

Kelli Paddon, the province's parliamentary secretary for gender equity, believes the attacks targeting the LGBTQ2+ community are growing.

“We need to educate. We need to educate ourselves. We need to stop pretending like human rights are a debate,” she said, while also noting she has seen communities rally together in the wake of these types of incidents.  

The building housing Hope Community Services Services is expected to be repaired and reopened to the public in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the meal program has been moved to the building next door.

As of Friday afternoon, no suspects have been identified.

“They are targeting the Pride flag, the Pride community, we’re also investigating it as a hate crime,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Mike Sargent when asked about the status of the investigation. 

Mounties are asking the public to come forward with any information about the two incidents by calling 604-869-7750. Top Stories

Stay Connected