Calgary, Alberta – Calgary Police are investigating after ten churches were vandalized across the city overnight.
Sometime during the night of Wednesday, June 30, or in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 1, 2021, orange and red paint was placed on the exterior of the churches and one had a window smashed so paint could also be thrown inside. Handprints, the number “215” and other markings suggest the vandalism was in response to the graves recently found at former residential schools.
Canada’s residential school system is a very dark part of our history that destroyed the lives of countless Indigenous families, communities and people. The recent discovery of these graves further supports the tragic and heartbreaking stories that Indigenous people have been sharing for many decades.
Given the harm this chapter of our history has caused to Indigenous people in our community, it is understandable that emotions and tensions are running high. We must never forget that residential schools are part of our legacy as a country and we need to continue seeking the truth about what happened.
The Calgary Police Service is committed to doing our part in this reconciliation effort and ensuring that the generational trauma of the residential school system is properly addressed in policing.
However, we also all need to join together as a community to come to terms with our past and find a path forward to reconciliation. Vandalism like this is not just illegal; it serves to create further division, fear and destruction in our city. We need to find the people responsible, both to hold them accountable and to prevent further divisive incidents.
Investigators are currently examining the evidence at the scenes and are looking for any CCTV that could help identify those involved. The Hate Crime and Extremism Unit is also involved in the cases since the locations vandalized are all part of the Christian faith.
The churches involved were:
Saint Bonaventure Catholic Church at 1600 Acadia Dr. S.E.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church at 819 13 Ave. S.W.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 219 18 Ave. S.W.
Sacred Heart Church and Columbarium at 1307 14 St. S.W.
Grace Presbyterian Church at 1009 15 Ave. S.W.
Saint Luke’s Parish at 1566 Northmount Dr. N.W.
Holy Trinity Church at 1525 45 St. S.E.
Saint Anthony’s Catholic Parish at 5340 4 St. S.W.
All Nations Full Gospel Church at 1403 8 Ave. S.E.
Saint Joseph Catholic Church at 640 19 Ave. N.W.
Anyone with information on any of these incidents is asked to call us at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:
APP: “P3 Tips”
If you are struggling to process the emotions around any of the recent events, it is perfectly normal to need some help and support. Here are some agencies who can help:
CPS Victim Assistance Response Team: 403-428-8398
Distress Centre Calgary (24/7): 403-266-HELP (4357)
Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society (Crisis Line): 403-531-1976
211 Alberta: Dial 211
Calgary Police Service
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