Burnaby's newest rainbow crosswalk hasn't been vandalized. It's some sort of miracle

Chris Campbell

People were cheering the residents of Gibsons, B.C. yesterday when they pledged to fix the town’s three rainbow crosswalks after they were defaced with white paint.

The three crosswalks had recently been added by the town.

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It’s a common occurrence to see rainbow crosswalks vandalized soon after they are painted.

Such incidents have happened around B.C., including in New Westminster. It also happened last year in Burnaby after the city painted its first rainbow crosswalk behind Metrotown on Jubilee Avenue between Nelson Avenue and Imperial Street ahead of the city’s first-ever Pride Street Party there. Another one was defaced last November at Moscrop Secondary. Four teens who spray-painted a homophobic slur across the rainbow crosswalk were caught and sent through the RCMP’s restorative justice program.

So, this brings us to the recent painting of a new rainbow crosswalk on Willingdon Avenue near the McGill Library.

I drove by there today (Sunday) to see if anyone had vandalized it yet. Based on what’s gone on around B.C. with all of the vandalism, I assumed the same would happen here. It’s like some sort of awful, twisted tradition for bigots.

Instead, I was pleasantly shocked to see it all colourful and perfect. It filled my heart that perhaps this would be the exception to the rule - it's amazing it's lasted this long. I can’t say what the future holds. I know people will say this blog is tempting fate. There are still a lot of terrible, ugly people out there who can’t stand the Pride message.

But this is why I’m writing about it – because people don’t understand the need for Pride flags and Pride festivals and rainbow crosswalks. Each one  of these sends a message that our society must rise up and fight intolerance because that intolerance is still so pervasive in our society.

So good on the City of Burnaby, including Coun. Dan Johnston. I’ve criticized him before for some of his behaviour, but I give credit where it’s due. In May, Johnston suggested the city paint four new rainbow crosswalks – one in each of the city’s town centres – in more prominent intersections. 

rainbow crosswalk vandalism
A homophobic slur was spraypainted on the rainbow crosswalk at Moscrop school in Burnaby. The NOW has chosen to blur out the offensive word due to it hateful nature. Photo contributed

“I just think that this is 2019 and that we don't need to hide the issue,” Johnston said at the time. “LGBT people should be part of our community, and it's time that we encourage them to be part of our community.”

Good words to hear from someone on council. There are a lot of civic politicians in Canada who refuse to support this.

City staff identified the four spots: Edmonds Street at Humphries Avenue, near Edmonds Community Centre; Cameron Street at Erickson Drive, near Cameron Community Centre; Willingdon Avenue at Albert Street, near Confederation Centre, near McGill Library and Eileen Dailly Pool; and Kingsborough Street at McKay Avenue close to the Bob Prittie Library.

The Burnaby Pride Street Party is back for a second year, and organizers need your help to make it a success. A second day of events has been added.

The street party needs volunteers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10. The actual event is from noon to 4 p.m., but people are needed to also help set up and tear down.

New this year is the Rainbow Garden Party happening on Friday, Aug. 9, with volunteers needed from 1-10 p.m. Volunteers must be 18 years-plus.

If you want to volunteer, click here.



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