Toronto police say they are investigating after a number of racist words and symbols were spray painted on the walls of Leuty Lifeguard Station in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood.

A swastika, the words “hail Hitler,” the n-word and other symbols were scrawled on the side of the structure, which was built in the 1920s.

Const. David Hopkinson said they have been made aware of the vandalism.

“It was reported to us as a hate crime due to the words used,” he said.

Officers later confirmed to CP24 the incident will be treated as a hate crime and specialized hate crime investigators have been called to assist.

Ward councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said she was working to have the “despicable, vile, unacceptable and horrific language” covered up or removed.

“It’s probably the most photographed lifeguard station around and our lifegaurds use it in the summer – it’s their hub and their office and it’s vital to the community,” she said.

Residents in the area called the incident “really disgusting.”

“I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe that would happen in our neighbourhood.”