December 30, 2023 – In a poignant ceremony at Rizal Park, Brampton commemorated the 127th Anniversary of Dr. José Rizal’s martyrdom, a pivotal figure in the Philippines’ quest for independence from Spanish rule.

Rizal Park, formerly known as Luneta Park, underwent a significant transformation in June 2021 when it was renamed to pay tribute to Dr. José Rizal, a national hero in the fight for Philippine freedom.

Driven by Brampton’s Filipino community and the Knights of Rizal, the renaming motion was initiated in 2019, and these groups have played a central role in organizing and fundraising for the commemorations ever since.

March of this year witnessed the unveiling of a bust honoring Dr. José Rizal.

The ceremonial installation of the bust in Rizal Park took place with a large ceremony in June 2023, symbolizing the enduring legacy of a man who inspired a nation.

In addition to Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, many dignitaries attended such as Filipino MP Rechie Valdez, and first Filipino Brampton Councillor Rowena Santos.

Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez (left) and Brampton Councillor Rowena Santos (right).

Dr. José Rizal, a multifaceted individual, served as both a doctor and a writer. His notable works, Noli Me Tángere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891), stood as powerful critiques against Spanish colonialism. His writings were instrumental in fostering a sense of Philippine nationalism.

During the late 1800s, Rizal actively participated in the growing Philippine independence movement. However, his commitment to freedom led to his arrest on rebellion charges. Tragically, he faced a firing squad in 1896 in Bagumbayan, the present-day Rizal Park or Luneta Park.

The struggle for Philippine independence spanned centuries, with Rizal’s vision and sacrifice serving as a cornerstone. His ideals and literary contributions inspired a nation that finally gained independence 50 years after World War II.

As Brampton pays homage to Dr. José Rizal’s enduring spirit, the renamed Rizal Park stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving history and fostering cultural unity.