Park honouring Filipino hero breaks ground in Calgary

There was a groundbreaking ceremony for Jose Rizal Park in Calgary on Sunday, June 27, 2021. Global News

As Filipino Heritage Month comes to a close, the Filipino community in Calgary celebrated the groundbreaking of Jose Rizal Park on Sunday.

A monument of the revered Filipino hero will be constructed in Prairie Winds Park in the city’s northeast.

“Filipino Calgarians finally have a spot dedicated in Calgary to focus their cultural identity,” Fiesta Filipino said in a news release.

Rizal, a doctor, author and leader of the Propaganda Movement, called for peaceful reform of Spain’s colonial rule in the Philippines.

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His ideas included integrating the Philippines as a province of Spain, representation in Spanish parliament, replacing Spanish friars with Filipino priests, freedom of assembly and expression, and equality of Filipinos and Spaniards before the law, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

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Rizal (1861-1896) founded a nonviolent reform society and was deported, exiled, arrested for sedition, found guilty and executed by firing squad even though he had no part in the 1896 revolution against Spain, the encyclopedia said.

“Jose Rizal Park celebrates a national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal, whose work was key to establishing a Filipino national identity,” Fiesta Filipino said.

“This park will establish a monument to Philippine heritage and honour the growing population of Filipinos who have come to call Calgary home.”

The project is set to be finished by next June.

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