Winnipeggers are pushing for more education for youth after a troubling hate-fulled disturbance.
Early Wednesday morning, business owners in a Pembina Highway strip mall found swasticas and anti-immigration messages sprayed in red.
Paul Clerkin, co-owner of Stone Angel Brewery, says he was warned before he got to work that morning, but was shocked by the scale of graffiti in their quiet area.
"Whoever did this grew up in a multicultural environment, one would assume they are Canadian and haven't just driven across the border from North Dakota, so they can't claim ignorance of a multicultural environment as their defence. These kids knew what they were doing and went out of their way to upset people," Clerkin says.
Three of the nine businesses in the unit were hit. Tehran Cafe, an Iranian restaurant, and Gong Cha, a bubble tea restaurant were also sprayed with the symbol often used to represent racial hatred and spread antisemitism. Many other ethnic businesses were also sprayed. None of the businesses are Jewish.
Clerkin believes it was a group of teenagers "without a brain cell between them" who sprayed the graffiti.
Belle Jarniewski, Executive Director of Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada says she was disappointed to learn what happened. The images appeared the same day she participated in the national antisemitism summit. Jarniewski says schools need to teach curriculums on racism.
"We need to particularly focus on the youth so that going forward they will understand that antisemitism, Islamaphobia, anti-Black racism, that all forms of hate are completely unacceptable. And as the Prime Minister said yesterday, 'not Canadian," Jarniewski says
Clerkin grew up in what he says is a "very different Ireland" where almost everyone what white. When he came to Canada more than a decade ago, he saw the melting pot of cultures Winnipeg is proud of. What happened on Wednesday was not what Clerkin expected.
"It really sends out a very negative message to all of our newly-arrived Canadians. And that is what all these business owners are, they are all Canadians," Clerkin says.
He says while cleaning the paint he had choice words for the people who did it.
Jarniewski says there has been growing antisemitism, including creating harmful conspiracy theories about Jews, across Canada in all political spectrums. This was part of Wednesday's summit conversations.
"There are many Jews, we heard, that no longer feel safe to identify, for instance, by wearing a Star of David, by having a mezuzah on their door, religious male Jews wearing a kippah in public. I think this is much less so in Winnipeg, I am happy to say than some cities in Canada with much larger Jewish populations and if anything, I respond to these kinds of things by being very clear on my identity."
She says she hopes the day where she does not feel safe identifying as Jewish never comes.
"I think we do need tremendous support at this time," Jarniewski says, noting that people voicing their support for Jewish people goes a long way.
There are approximately twelve thousand Jews living in Winnipeg.
Canada has a history of antisemitism, including immigration bans. Education, such as what the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada offers, is how Jarniewski recommends people about antisemitic language and messages.