The Lake Report
And it’s happened again.
For the second time in as many days, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s rainbow crosswalk has been vandalized – before anyone had a chance to repair the original damage.
Just one day after tire marks were discovered on the crosswalk on Anderson Lane near the community centre, someone else burned rubber on it.
George Webber, a member of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s diversity, equity and inclusivity committee, alerted The Lake Report about the latest vandalism on the four-day-old crosswalk.
“I noticed it this morning,” he said Saturday.
“The lighter tracks are from two nights ago and the darker ones are from last night,” he said, gesturing at the overlapping marks.
Erinn Lockhard of Sweets & Swirls Cafe in the community centre didn’t notice the new markings this morning.
“At first I thought it was like when you get new shoes and the rubber comes off,” she said about the first set of marks.
“But then I was told no, it’s clear circular tracks.”
- Below is Friday’s story about the first incidence of vandalism:
Some say it was just a matter of time and most seem unsurprised it happened so quickly.
Teenager Jack Wiwcharyk was biking home to Virgil after a meeting at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club when he found circular tire marks on the new rainbow crosswalk on Anderson Lane on Thursday night at around 8:45.
- Read The Lake Report’s original story about the installation of the rainbow crosswalk here.
- Read our June 1 editorial on the crosswalk here.
The crosswalk, a project advocated by Pride Niagara, the town’s diversity committee and others, celebrates acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, along with people of colour and Canada’s Indigenous population.
To Wiwcharyk, it’s pretty obvious it was vandalism. And the culprits didn’t wait till after dark – the damage appears to have been done in broad daylight.
The tracks look exactly like burnout marks, Wiwcharyk said, the type of tire stains caused when people do “doughnuts” and burn the rubber from their tires into the tarmac.
“It just hurts,” says Wiwcharyk.
The 16-year-old sailing enthusiast, who identifies as gay, said he recalls that when a similar crosswalk was installed in St. Catharines, it was defaced with tire marks soon after it was installed.
“As a community you like to think that we’re better than that.”
Erinn Lockhard, of the Sweets and Swirls Cafe at the community centre nearby, said she saw nothing as she was leaving work between 5:45 and 6:45 Thursday evening.
Resident Ben Trow, who lives across the street, and whose backyard faces the crosswalk, also heard and saw nothing.
Town spokesperson Marah Minor said the town was informed of the markings early Friday morning.
She said town staff was investigating the marks but could not confirm any other details.
Niki Walker, a member of the town’s diversity equity and inclusion committee and Wiwcharyk’s mom, said her son shared photos of the tire marks with her at about 8 a.m., at which point she contacted the town.
“We were all expecting it on the committee,” Walker said, adding the group had recommended the town budget for vandalism.
“None of us were surprised, unfortunately.”
The fact it happened so soon was also not a shock, Walker said.
“It just makes me sad.”
The town’s first Pride bench in Virgil was also vandalized in October 2022. Four more benches are yet to be installed.
After the town revealed the crosswalk in a Facebook post this week, a commenter almost immediately described it as “sickening.” That comment was quickly deleted by the town.
Walker is disheartened and said the town did a good job on the crosswalk, describing it as “beautiful.”