A statue of Canadian educator Egerton Ryerson, located at Ryerson University in Toronto, was toppled this weekend and beheaded by extremists who threw the monument in Toronto harbour.
The toppling of the statue came amid protests in the city over what are believed to be 215 unmarked children’s graves found on the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nations reserve in Kamloops, British Columbia. The discovery has been claimed as a mass grave in some media reports, such as the BBC, despite a press conference last week clarifying they are believed to be a series of individual graves.
The statue was pulled down in the late afternoon on Sunday after years of controversy over Ryerson’s role in the implementation of the residential school system in Canada.
According to a report from CTV, in 2010 Ryerson university stated that Ryerson himself had not personally implemented or overseen any residential schools, but years later the university acknowledged Ryerson had influenced the residential school system.
The reported graves in Kamloops were located by a major residential school that had opened several years after Ryerson’s death.
The statue of Ryerson, which was also attacked last July during Black Lives Matter protests, was vandalised with paint earlier in the week before it was torn down by protesters and subsequently beheaded and thrown into Toronto harbour.