TORONTO -- Police are asking the public for their assistance in a hate-motivated mischief investigation after vandalism targeting the Asian community was discovered in downtown Toronto.

Officers were called to the area of Gerrard and Ontario streets around 5 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving a report of a hate crime.

When police arrived in the area, they discovered vandalism on the side of a building.

The vandalism contained racial slurs directed against the Asian community, police said.

After consultation with the force’s hate crime unit, the mischief is being investigated as a hate crime,” police said in a news release issued Thursday.

“Investigators would like anyone who may have security camera video in the area to contact police.”

The incident comes one day after York Regional Police charged a man following several alleged hate-motivated incidents targeting Asian victims in Markham.

Mayor John Tory called the latest incident unacceptable and said there is no place for anti-East Asian racism in Toronto.

Tory said he held a roundtable Thursday afternoon with councillors Denzil Minnan-Wong, Cynthia Lai, and Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto police Chief James Ramer and Deputy Chief Peter Yuen, and leaders from the East Asian community to discuss how to combat the "disturbing surge" in hate crimes.

The mayor noted that there has been a rise in hate crimes against East Asians in the city in recent months. He added that most of the incidents mostly go unreported.

The spa shootings in Atlanta that killed six Asian women have further highlighted the need to tackle the issue.

"In today's meeting, we not only addressed the racist incidents that have been occurring across our city and online against our residents but also provided community leaders an opportunity to share their experiences and provide their advice and ideas on ways that the city can continue to support the community," Tory said.

"I am discouraged to hear about violent and threatening behaviour against our residents that is fuelled by hate and racism."

Concerns raised during the meeting indicate the need for the city and police to develop a concrete plan to address them, Tory said.

The mayor urged all residents to speak up and stand up against racism.

"This is not what our Toronto is about, and we will take action to eradicate it (hate) based on advice we received today. We will act as we must with a focus on prevention, intervention and sustainability," Tory said.

"The current pandemic is not and never was the fault of our Asian communities here in Toronto and it is time we put that myth to an end and support our fellow residents."