As the anti-racism movement sweeps across the country, statues of famous Vancouverites are getting splattered with paint. Recently, Gastown's statue of 'Gassy Jack' was vandalized with red paint. Just days earlier, a statue of Captain George Vancouver outside of city hall got drenched in blue and white.
On Tuesday, June 16, residents of Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood woke to find the historic statue of Jack Deighton, AKA Gassy Jack, one of the first settlers in Vancouver, defaced with red paint.
Twitter user @jack9simpson told Narcity he saw and snapped a photo of the statue around 7:30 a.m. that morning. "The paint seemed (relatively) fresh," he wrote in a direct message.
By 9 a.m., the city was already cleaning the statue, said Twitter user @JustinneRamirez to Narcity. "By the time I got there, the graffiti removal folks were already in action," she wrote.
The Vancouver Police Department told Narcity they're looking into what happened and their investigation is still in its early stages.
Gassy Jack's new paint job follows the filing of a petition on Thursday, June 11, calling for the statue's removal. As of Tuesday, June 16, over 920 have signed.
The petition criticized the monument for "upholding and honouring violence towards and oppression of Indigenous People."
Clean up so quick but @CityofVancouver and @gastown remain complicit by keeping this up and not telling the truth.… https://t.co/WQ6aFrG8Yi— Justinne KatarungAnn Ramirez (she/her) (@Justinne KatarungAnn Ramirez (she/her))1592322897.0
Other statues like that of Capt. George Vancouver, a British explorer was also vandalized. The statue that stands outside city hall was splashed with white and blue paint on Wednesday, June 10, according to Global News.
B.C. law professor says Canada needs to review colonial legacy of public monuments Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond made th… https://t.co/fxpTJWYEvr— Dugas Law Litigation Lawyers (@Dugas Law Litigation Lawyers)1591974015.0
Although Jack Deighton is celebrated for starting one of Vancouver's first saloons in the late 1860s and being a founding member of the city, other aspects of his history are a hot topic of conversation.
After his first wife, a young Squamish woman, became sick and died, Deighton remarried — this time to her 12-year-old niece, named Quahail-ya or Wha-halia.
"Deighton took a 12 year old Squamish girl to be his wife at the age of 40, impregnating her with his child at her young age," read the petition.
Why these statue protests are important: I had no idea why anyone would want to vandalize the “Gassy Jack" statue i… https://t.co/vNQxGn1tup— Matt K Ward (@Matt K Ward)1592329265.0
According to CBC, "the 12-year-old Indigenous girl eventually ran away from her much-older husband at the age of 15."
"A pedophile’s likeness should not be prominently displayed in the center of Gastown for fun tourist photo ops," read the petition.