A small-town Ontario restaurant owner says he was "blown away" when a person in Ku Klux Klan robes leading a man in blackface by a rope was awarded first prize at a Royal Canadian Legion Halloween party.
"When I saw it and put down my beer and left and was walking out - I never felt as alone as I have in my life," Mark Andrade said of the troubling spectacle he witnessed at a Campbellford, Ont., Legion on Saturday night.
Mr. Andrade, who is black, said he arrived at the Legion for a beer with friends at about 11:30 p.m.
"I had a swig, turned around and they were doing the parade of the costumes to pick the best," he said.
One person was dressed as a Klansman, complete with hood, a Confederate flag on their back and a rope in their hand.
"At the other end of that rope was a guy in blackface... with the noose around his neck," Mr. Andrade said.
The person dressed as a Klansman and the man in blackface won first prize, said Mr. Andrade, who added he left in disgust.
"I was blown away."
Mr. Andrade said it was his understanding the people in the offensive costumes were not legion members.
Legion officials in the eastern Ontario town, who could not be immediately reached for comment, reportedly issued an apology Tuesday.
Mr. Andrade said he called the legion on Monday to complain and the president "told me I was about the 400th call she'd received since Saturday night."
"To say people weren't disgusted would be incorrect," Mr. Andrade said. "But at that time there was about 200 people were there revelling, partying, drinking."
However, the incident hasn't soured Mr. Andrade on Campbellford, which he calls a "great community, great people."
"I've never experienced anything like this, even in the realm of racism since I've been here," said Mr. Andrade, who moved to Campbellford a dozen years ago.
The local Ontario Provincial Police detachment said it has not received any complaints.