Skip to content

OPP investigating swastikas at downtown construction site

'It's offensive. We don't need that kind of image in our neighbourhoods or in our town,' says OPP officer, who stressed detachment is taking probe 'very seriously'

Hate symbols have been crudely painted on some equipment at a downtown construction site.

The appearance of a swastika, prominently spray-painted on the side of a large blue construction container situated on the road between Veterans’ Memorial Park and the Legion, was brought to officials’ attention by a resident Sunday. 

The OPP say numerous surfaces in the construction area were spray painted including two swastikas.

The symbols have since been removed, according to the Orillia OPP, which is actively investigating the incident.

“It’s offensive,” said Orillia OPP Const. Brett Boniface. “We don’t need that kind of image in our neighbourhoods or in our town.”

Coun. Jay Fallis, who was among those contacted by the resident who discovered the swastika, said the incident is worrisome.

“I want to unequivocally stress that I would not tolerate such symbols and believe that they have no place in the city,” said Fallis. “It is absolutely shameful that antisemitism has been on the rise and it is unacceptable.”

While the swastika is “one of the most common symbols of hatred in the world,” the incident is being investigated as a case of mischief, Boniface explained.

“There is no such thing as a 'hate crime’ in the Criminal Code,” he explained, noting that designation can only be used by the judiciary.

But that doesn’t minimize the impact, he stressed, noting the OPP is taking this “very seriously.”

The Orillia OPP is appealing to the public for any information related to the incidents. If you have any information, or video footage of those involved, contact the Orillia OPP at 705-326-3536 or at 1-888-310-1122.