VANCOUVER — Police say they are investigating after a statue commemorating the founder of a Vancouver neighbourhood was pulled down during the annual Women’s Memorial March on Monday. 

Police say several hundred people gathered around the statue of John Deighton, better known as “Gassy Jack,” as the march wound past the landmark.

They say in a statement that demonstrators tied ropes around the statue, pulled it down and then covered it in red paint.

Deighton, who came to Vancouver from England in the mid-1800s is known for establishing Gastown, and his statue was given as a gift to the city on Valentine’s Day in the early 1970s. 

The city said in a statement in June 2020 that it was reaching out to the area’s First Nations about the future of the statue following a previous petition that called for it to be removed.

The memorial march, which has been held since 1992, honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press