OTTAWA -- Ottawa police are searching for a man they say carved hateful graffiti at the National War Memorial last week.

Police say the man used a 'sharp object' to engrave the graffiti on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the memorial at Wellington and Elgin streets.

It happened around 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, police said. Police originally said it happened last Friday.

The man arrived and left on a bike.

"This is something that calls out to each of us. It's a memorial that is Canada's, so it's normal for people to feel hurt or offended by this," Ottawa Police Const. Amy Gagnon said.

Police describe him as a white man who was wearing a light-coloured sweater, dark pants, a dark toque and carrying a black back pack. He was riding a 'mountain-style bike,' police said.

"We want everyone to see if they can participate in the resolution of this," Gagnon said.

The graffiti has since been removed.

"It isunthinkable that anyone would deface this sacred place," Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Thomas Irvine said in a statement. "The Legion was instrumental in establishing this special monument and we strongly condemn this criminal act."

Politicians rushed to condemn the graffiti. Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay called it a "disgusting act."

“This was not the vandalization of public property—it was the desecration of a site that stands as a permanent reminder of the memories and sacrifices of every single person who has fought and died in services of Canada,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Jim Watson called it an “insult and disgrace to our war dead and veterans.

“IF anyone recognizes this low life please contact police,” Watson said in a tweet.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was created in 2000 to honour the more than 116,000 Canadians who have died in service of their country.

The remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in the First World War were repatriated from France and buried in the tomb.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ottawa Police Det. Ali Toghrol of the hate crime unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5453.