Old City Hall cenotaph vandalized with Flanders Fields reference

Cenotaph spray painted

Less than 24 hours after a Remembrance Day ceremony that saw hundreds attend despite the early winter storm, the Old City Hall cenotaph was spray-painted with words from Flanders Fields. 

'Ye Broke Faith' was tagged in blue paint on the front of the monument, while 'With Us' was put on the back, a line from the famous wartime poem read on Remembrance Day, In Flanders Fields. 

Mayor John Tory called the act disgraceful. 

"You have to ask yourself what kind of person would do this sort of thing," he said. "Especially on the day after Remembrance Day." 

"The good news side of this, which is fortunately, whatever idiot did this used a bad kind of paint." 

The paint was removed roughly five hours after Toronto Police received their first report about the graffiti at 7 a.m. 

Ben Rodgers placed a poppy in front of it, choking up as he explained it's to honour his grandfather and great uncles for their service. 

"It's a very emotional thing for me," he said. "Intimate family history attached to it and it seems as time wears on, the emotions get stronger, not weaker." 

Which makes defacing the cenotaph with such a quote more perplexing. 

"I don't know what the message means there, it's too cryptic to really react to," he said. 

Another passerby, Jenny Fournier, couldn't come to grips with the message sent either. 

"Maybe it's somebody who's not happy with how things are going, I don't know, but it doesn't matter where the lines come from, why there?" she said. 

Toronto Police Cst. Alex Li said after police posted about the incident, the response was immediate. 

"There is a lot of upset, angry people," he said. "This definitely is something that we're taking very seriously." 

Along with searching for security footage in the area, Li said anyone who may have dashcam or other sorts of security footage are encouraged to come forward. 

Toronto City Manager Chris Murray was actually shown the images for the first time by NEWSTALK1010 after some morning meetings. 

"It's just profoundly sad and just so profoundly disrespectful," he said, adding at the time he probably had a slew of emails about the incident. 

"It's such an important monument in the city's history and one that we just gave respect just yesterday at, so obviously we'll want to deal with this as quick as we can." 


NEWSTALK 1010/Lucas Meyer