Village gateway marker vandalized

Trans March organizers help remove black paint on June 17

Trans March organizers are cleaning up after someone took it upon themselves to promote the event by defacing the Church and Wellesley gateway marker near Cawthra Square Park.

March organizer Nicki Ward was saddened to learn that “Trans March June 28” had been scrawled in black paint on the marker over the weekend.

“We don’t know who did it,” she says. “We can’t figure it out. Obviously we don’t approve, but you can see the frustration from the person who did it. It makes me feel very sad. It’s a sign of desperation.”

A similar tag was also posted on the window of the shuttered Church Street Coffee Time store, a Village bulletin board and on an Xtra box at Alexander and Church streets. Ward and trans activist Melissa Hudson cleaned the paint off the gateway marker June 17 with the help of members of the Church Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area.

Ward says the paint wiped off with a household cleaner.

Architect Claudio Santon, who designed the markers, told Xtra in April that the markers are “vandal-proof.”

BIA co-chair Liz Devine declined to comment to Xtra. She asked that Xtra forward questions to the 519 Church Street Community Centre, which she says has taken over all BIA communications. However, The 519 communications department did not respond to Xtra‘s request to comment by press time.

Meanwhile, Ward says she doesn’t approve of the action, but she understands the motivation behind it.

“It was absolutely not the organizers,” she says. “And yes, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

Ward says Trans March organizers have been pushing for Pride Toronto to do more to promote their march and to help get word out that the route has changed.

Local trans activists – who have been fighting for three years to hold the annual march on Yonge Street – won a victory against the city this year. In response to pressure from activists, police granted a permit so they could march on Yonge. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the route activists wanted.

The permit allows marchers to travel south on Yonge from Charles Street to Wood Street following a rally at George Hislop Parkette. Activists have decided they will not turn off Yonge at Wood and will continue to march south to Carlton Street, then head east to Allan Gardens.


Trans activists took out their anger on Pride Toronto after it was confirmed that the Pride Guide will reflect the route allowed by the permit, not the route chosen by activists.

Ward suspects a community member frustrated by this decision may be responsible for the graffiti.

“We don’t have a budget for communication,” she says. “So every time Pride Toronto puts out a piece of misinformation, or inaccurate information, it puts us back again.”

For more informaton on the Trans March, go to the Facebook page here.

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