An assailant, in two attempts within 10 minutes, cut Khawlah Noman's hijab using scissors while she was walking to school with her brother, a Toronto police spokesperson said.
She said: 'It's just not Canada.
Toronto police commended Khawlah for the way she had handled the incident.
"This girl was fearless enough to confront the man, look at the man and make a noise, which is very good for her to realize this is wrong". "And we'll be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can", Ryan Bird, a school board spokesman, told CNN partner CBC.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called the attack "despicable", telling reporters in Mississauga, Ont., that it "has no place in Canadian society".
"I saw my sister and she was frightened and I was more frightened because I didn't know if she was injured or if he was going to hurt her", Mohammad Zakariya said.
In the meantime, police are looking for information about a suspect who is described as a black-haired Asian male in his 20s who was sporting a moustache.
"We don't know what motivated the attack", Toronto police Constable David Hopkinson said initially but authorities later said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. "I didn't feel comfortable about what was going on". "This is not who we are".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack after speaking at a cabinet retreat in London Ont
"The girl was courageous enough to confront the man, make some noise and then proceed to walk with a bunch of other kids realizing there's safety in numbers", she said.
Her brother told reporters that he was frightened, and anxious his sister would be hurt. He was said to be about 20, almost six feet tall and with a medium build. He wore black trousers, a black hoodie and gloves, and sported a moustache.
Toronto Mayor John Tory says he is "shocked and appalled" to hear about the assault.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed a similar sentiment, stressing that this "is not who Canadians are".
Condemning the attack, Trudeau tweeted: " My heart goes out to Khawlah Noman following this morning's cowardly attack on her in Toronto.
This is a cowardly act of hatred, and it has no place in Ontario.
She said that she felt someone tug her hood from her winter coat down and hack at her light blue scarf with a pair of scissors.
"I certainly hope that the Toronto Police Services are able to track down the person who committed this violent act and my thoughts and prayers are with the family", Scheer said.More news: Fire at Nottingham Train Station