Brampton unveils sculpture of Philippines national hero Dr. José Rizal

Published March 14, 2023 at 10:59 am

The City is paying tribute to a hero of Brampton’s Filipino community who was put to death for fighting for what he believed in.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Coun. Rowena Santos joined members of Brampton’s Filipino community and the Knights of Rizal last week to unveil a bust of Dr. José Rizal – renowned as a national hero in the Philippines’ fight for independence from Spanish rule.

The bust of Rizal will be added to Brampton’s Dr. José P. Rizal Park at Mayfield Rd. and Dixie Rd., which was renamed in honour of Rizal in 2021.

“José Rizal is a national hero in the Philippines and the Knights of Rizal do incredible charity work in Canada,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said in a statement following the unveiling.

The fight for Philippine independence was a centuries-long battle with external forces grappling for control of the island nation in a conflict that stretches back 500 years.

A doctor and a writer, Rizal was part of a growing Philippine independence movement during the late 1800s.

His works Noli Me Tángere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891) were sharply critical of Spanish colonialism and his writings are credited with healing spur a sense of Philippine nationalism.

Rizal was arrested on rebellion charges and executed by a firing squad in 1896 in Bagumbayan, an area now known as Rizal Park or Luneta Park. It would take another 50 years before the Phillipes would gain independence following their freedom from the Japanese at the end of World War II.

The motion to rename the park was brought forward in 2019 by Brampton’s Filipino community and the Knights of Rizal, a group created to honour and uphold Rizal’s ideals. Dr. José P. Rizal Park is also one of eight parks that could be getting portable washrooms under a City pilot program as Councillors are looking to make parks more accessible and improve sanitation.

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