British Columbia

Racist graffiti painted across windows of Vancouver Caribbean bistro

Owner Roger Collins says he's experienced racism before, but never as blatantly as this. His restaurant has been opened for more than nine years.

The restaurant's windows were marked with what looked like three Ks with swastikas

Three swastikas and what looks like three Ks were drawn in yellow paint across the windows of the Calabash Bistro. (Roger Collins/Facebook)

Staff at a Caribbean restaurant in downtown Vancouver are shaken up after someone painted racist graffiti on their front windows.

Three swastikas and what looks like three Ks were drawn in yellow paint across the windows of the Calabash Bistro on Carrall Street Wednesday morning.

Owner Roger Collins says his restaurant was clearly targeted.

"It was pretty evident and clear about the message that was being sent," he added, noting his restaurant has always had a strong cultural voice. 

The graffiti was discovered by the restaurant's chef Wednesday morning. But Collins says the markings weren't there when he first came in to prep for the day, adding it was done while the chef was already inside.  

Collins says the restaurant's landlord, Portland Housing Society, was fortunately "very, very quick" to respond to the incident and made sure the graffiti was taken down as quickly as possible.

Familiar with racism 

Being of Caribbean descent, Collins says he's familiar with racism, but in the nine years since opening the restaurant he says he's never experienced anything like Wednesday's racist graffiti.

"Being a person of colour in Vancouver... you feel the energy sometimes, you know you see it, you feel it," he added. "But when it's, you know, tangibly put on a place that you call home then it kind of hits you a bit differently."

He says it's unfortunate that for many, the idea of racism in Canada seems impossible until it happens to them or someone they love. 

Sgt. Aaron Roed, the media relations officer for the VPD, says police visited Calabash Bistro. He says the investigation into the incident is ongoing. 

Corrections

  • In an earlier version of this story, police mistakenly said the investigation into the incident was concluded. In fact, it is still open.
    Sep 26, 2019 1:18 PM PT

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