Calgary

Bowness mobilizes to remove racist vandalism on mural

People in the northwest Calgary community of Bowness discovered racist graffiti on a mural Thursday but it didn't take long for it to get cleaned up.

Misspelled phrase 'Whiite onlyy' scrawled over artwork and darker faces covered with white paint

Volunteers work to remove hateful messages scrawled on a mural in Bowness Thursday. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

People in the northwest Calgary community of Bowness discovered racist graffiti on a mural Thursday but it didn't take long for it to get cleaned up.

The graffiti appeared on the side of a convenience store just off Bowness Road at 77th Street N.W.

Along with the phrase "whiite (sic) onlyy (sic)," faces with darker complexions on the mural were spray-painted white.

The incident shocked many people in the neighbourhood.

The culprit or culprits scrubbed out the faces of some of the darker-skinned figures on the mural. "Whiltes only" was also painted on the mural. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

"I was upset. I was very upset when I heard this," said Jacqui Esler, head of the Mainstreet Bowness Business Improvement Area.

"I don't think this community is like that."

Esler helped make arrangements to get the graffiti cleaned up.

"Bowness, I know, it has a reputation for being a rough and tough place. This is really something we never see. In fact, we see the opposite," she said.

Local MLA Deborah Drever, who took part in the cleanup, said the community mobilized quickly.

"It was within a matter of hours. And that just shows the strength of the community, and shows that our community is not afraid to combat this hateful speech," she said.

Drever said Calgary police have been notified about the graffiti.