cenotaph toronto

Man arrested for vandalizing cenotaph in Toronto a big supporter of Don Cherry

In an unexpected turn of events, the 33 year-old man now facing charges for vandalizing the cenotaph outside of Old City Hall the day after Remembrance Day claims to have done so in defence of Don Cherry. 

Thomas Zaugg admitted to defacing the monument in an extremely lengthy Facebook post Wednesday. 

"Mayors Tory and Crombie, you are gutless cowards without conviction who will say anything you believe the public wants to hear," he wrote.

"You could have just have easily stood up for Veterans and the forces by standing up for Don Cherry and clarifying what he was trying to say, instead of capitulating to a Twitter mob."

Early Tuesday morning, passersby discovered dark blue spray-painted letters sprawled across the cenotaph. It read, "Ye Broke Faith" in capital letters, while the north side of the monument read "with us."

The vandalized phrase comes from a line in the memorialized poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian John McCrae.

Many saw the vandalization as an act of disrespect toward veterans, including Toronto Mayor John Tory, but Zaugg says he intended for the opposite.

He says since people are free to refuse to wear poppies, Don Cherry should be free to scold people for not buying them. 

"Nowadays graffiti is fairly easily removed. It does not disrespect a war memorial to momentarily affix a line from a poem written by a man whose grave is honoured, along with many others as a part of that stone," he wrote in his post. 

"In the first world war, soldiers would write lines of poetry before going over the top. It honours their memory to make the comment. It brings the monument to life, with the words of the fallen, as if written on the walls of a trench."

"They did not die for us to become this type of mentally straight jacketed society, unable to speak freely or share ones view. You people, the perpetually offended hyper-sensitive adult children, are ruining our society. And that’s why I spray painted the cenotaph," he continued.

In a video posted to his Facebook profile, Zaugg also said he admitted to the act in statements given to both Crombie and Tory’s offices.

Zaugg was arrested by Toronto Police Friday morning and charged with one count of mischief under $5,000 and one count of mischief — interfere with property.

He appeared in court Friday morning, where he appeared to argue with the duty counsel representing him, according to CP24.

He was released on bail after a judge ordered that he must attend counselling, undergo a mental health assessment, not be near the area of the Old City Hall cenotaph and not possess paint.

Meanwhile, Toronto residents, are taking to social media to express their thoughts on the situation, as they often do. 

Some have a few words about the new information other than that it's pretty crazy.

And others are wondering if those who defended Don Cherry's right to free speech will do the same for Zaugg. 

Some are also pointing out the fact that while many blamed rowdy kids for the vandalization, it was in fact a 33 year-old man.

Zaugg is due to appear in court once again on December 20 at 11 a.m.

Lead photo by

Gene Valaitis

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