'We clean it up and carry on': Historic Edmonton building vandalized with hateful messages
A historic building in Old Strathcona used by Freemasons was vandalized overnight with hateful comments and threats.
Members of the 93-year-old Acacia Lodge spent Saturday morning cleaning off the graffiti, which included messages like, "Kill all Free Masons," and, "Die."
"We were coming in for a breakfast meeting this morning and it was a bit of a shocker," said Fred Bowker, Acacia Building Association secretary-treasurer.
"We've had graffiti on the side of the building a number of times, but it was not the type of words that were there today."
Bowker has been a member of the Freemasons for almost 30 years, an organization that he says is non-political and non-religious.
"(It is) an organization that takes good men and makes them better," he said. "The words on this building are nothing to do with Freemasonry in Alberta.
"It's obviously from people that don't know the attributes of Freemasons."
The incident was reported to Edmonton police.
Irfan Chaudhry, a member of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee, told CTV News that it's the type of incident he believes will get the attention of the police hate crimes unit.
"Some of the graffiti that's there is very, very openly against the group that's connected to the hall," Chaudhry said. "You also see some anti-Semitic sentiment there.
"At the end of the day, I don't think this would be looked as graffiti on a wall," he added. "There's definitely ideological underpinnings to the targeted building and the phrasing of the terms that are on the graffiti."
Lodge members managed to clear the hateful messages from the front of the building on Saturday. As for the side of the building, Bowker said the lodge hopes to get help from the city's graffiti removal program.
"We clean it up and carry on," he said.
In Alberta, around 6,000 people are members of Freemason lodges.