Neighbours of a Toronto man who discovered homophobic graffiti spray- painted on his home's garage door Thursday morning said they were shocked and disgusted to find out about the hateful comments.
"I think it's pretty gross," Vanessa Le Page told CBC Toronto on Friday. "It's not what Toronto stands for."
Daniel Malen called police after finding the graffiti in the area of College and Dufferin streets Thursday morning. He's the co-founder of the Toronto company Mark it Proud, which aims to expand the selection of LGBT-inclusive greeting cards.
"I was completely freaked out," Malen said. "I've never experienced any kind of hate crime, bigotry, or prejudice. I live in this wonderful bubble."
The graffiti reads, "Toronto hates queers cuz your a biggot."
After discovering it, Malen immediately sent a message to his husband, who told Malen to call police.
Officers arrived right away, Malen said.
"They took it very seriously, which I appreciated."
Toronto police confirmed they were at the scene Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET and filed a report. While investigating, they discovered other locations with graffiti in the area.
"When I first saw it, it shocked me quite a bit," said Frank Vitale, who lives next door to Malen. "You see graffiti everywhere, but not like this."
Vitale said the graffiti should be treated as a hate crime.
At first, Malen believed the incident was a personal attack. But officers informed him of several other garages marked with hateful comments — including some targeting the transgender community.
Malen said he posted the photo to social media to remind people that Canada is not immune to such incidents.
"People are shocked, But it's also a reminder — and it's such a cliché — but love does trump hate. The outpouring of affection has been really nice, it's really heartwarming," he said.
"Even though these things do happen, there's more good in the city than bad."