SUDBURY -- Staff at the Ukrainian Seniors Centre in Sudbury are devastated after a vandal spray painted graffiti on granite monuments honouring the people of Ukraine who came to Canada.

Some of graffiti, which has been cleaned up by a contractor hired by the city, included profanity. Staff at the centre said the vandalism happened late Friday or early Saturday.

"It was so hard to look at because it's ugly, you know?" said Anna Johnston, executive director of the Ukrainian Seniors Centre. "To mar something that is special and just meant for the community to enjoy. So we were very disappointed."

The sculpture, which has deep meaning for local Ukrainians, was erected in 1991 to celebrate the centennial of their immigration to Canada.

"The Ukrainian community of Sudbury in 1991, we got together and we fundraised to build this tree of life," said Linda Russell, the centre's event co-ordinator. "The tree of life is representative of new beginnings, immigrants coming to Canada, starting over, branching out."

Ugly sight

Not far from the graffiti, we found drug paraphernalia and garbage littering Hnatyshyn Park.

"Monday morning it was so bad, the garbage, the masks, now they've included masks, needles, all kinds of garbage," Johnston said. "So it is quite an ugly sight when you walk through this great, beautiful park."

Tuesday morning, the city sent a contractor to clean up the graffiti. Environmental 360 Solutions, is a Lively based company that gets 4-5 calls a week to get rid of graffiti on city owned and private property.

"Basically it's a simple process," said Steve Duval an employee with Environmental 360 Solutions. "Apply chemical and wash it off with a pressure washer and hot water. Just like that."

Greater Sudbury Police said they are investigating the vandalism. Officers are canvassing the area for any video and are in the process of reviewing Lions Eye in the Sky surveillance footage.