Toronto

Another noose found hanging from Toronto construction site, police investigating as a hate crime

Police are investigating after another noose was found hanging from a Toronto construction site on Thursday — just weeks after construction workers discovered two nooses on a site in East York.   

Incident comes weeks after 2 nooses found at East York construction site

This picture of a noose was taken at a construction site located at 81 Bay St., across from Scotiabank Arena. (Supplied to CBC)

Toronto police are investigating after another noose was found hanging from a construction site on Thursday — just weeks after two nooses were found by Black construction workers on a site in East York. 

Police say they are now trying to figure out whether or not the two incidents are connected. Both are being investigated as hate crimes, police confirmed to CBC Toronto Friday. 

EllisDon, one of the construction companies responsible for the site, told CBC Toronto Friday that the noose was discovered inside a partially-built tower at 81 Bay St., across from Scotiabank Arena. 

"Yesterday, a piece of hate paraphernalia (a noose) was discovered at a portion of the project being managed by EllisDon and Govan Brown in joint venture," said Dustin Luchka, a spokesperson for the company. 

Toronto police Supt. Michael Barsky confirmed that police were made aware of the incident on Thursday. An investigator was assigned to the case on Friday. 

Barsky said the noose was found on a high floor in the building, where workers were installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Police have seized the rope as evidence. 

No video evidence

Barsky said there is no video surveillance evidence and that it's unlikely officers will find out immediately who left the noose at the site. 

"I'm not sure who in the world thinks this is tasteful or the right thing to do but hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it," he told CBC Toronto Friday. 

Meanwhile, EllisDon apologized to the workers who made the discovery and "immediately started undertaking emergency stand downs and tool box talks to condemn the actions, offer support, and ask the individual or individuals to own up to their actions," Luchka said in a statement issued Friday. 

Luchka said EllisDon and Govan Brown have launched their own internal investigation alongside police. 

EllisDon also said it is offering employee assistance program services to "anyone who needs support at this time," including sub-trade workers. 

Canada's Building Trades Unions (CBTU) also condemned the act. 

"There is no room for acts of hate in the construction industry — or elsewhere in our country," CBTU said in an email to CBC Toronto. 

Nigel Barriffe, of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, said he felt "sadness" when he heard about the incident and said it is painful. 

"To have someone who is going to put a noose with a clear message of, 'You do not belong,' it's just disheartening and hurtful," he said in an interview with CBC Toronto. 

"Everybody should be able to wake up and go to their place of work and not feel as if they don't belong ... because of the colour of their skin." 

'This is disgraceful' 

Geoff Smith, president of EllisDon, said the company will do everything possible to "identify, prosecute and evict anyone involved from our industry.

"This is a disgraceful act by someone weak and cowardly," he said in a statement. 

"The perpetrator has acted in a way to try and achieve notoriety and even influence by sowing division and hatred. We will never allow that to happen."

Joseph Kirk, the president of Govan Brown, agrees. 

"We are appalled by this act and strongly condemn any behaviour that marginalizes or discriminates against any person," he said.  

"I cannot stress enough that we will do everything possible to ensure the person(s) responsible are held accountable."

Nooses found at another construction site on June 10 

The incident comes just weeks after nooses were found at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site, which is also run by EllisDon.

Employees called police after two Black construction workers found a couple of nooses at the site on Coxwell Avenue, north of Danforth Avenue, on June 10. 

They told police that the nooses were not there when they left work the previous afternoon. 

The construction site, which will be a new patient-care centre at Michael Garron, is secured by an entry code and is monitored by 24-hour surveillance video.

A couple of nooses were found at a construction site on Coxwell Avenue, north of Danforth Avenue, on June 10.  (Martin Trainor/ CBC News)

In a statement issued Friday, police said they have been "actively investigating this incident" and that investigators from the Toronto police hate crime unit are involved.

Both the construction company and owners of the site have been assisting with the investigation, police added. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators from 55 Division at 416-808-5500 or or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.  

With files from Derick Deonarain, Angelina King

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