A 10-foot tall monument of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal will soon be installed at the Nose Creek Regional Park in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada.
This was learned after Philippine Consul General to Calgary Zaldy Patron, together with Airdrie City Mayor Peter Brown and Filipino Airdrie Association (FAA) President Jun Martin, led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Rizal Monument during the 160th birth anniversary of Rizal on June 19, 2021.
Patron said the three-foot Rizal bust that will form part of the ten-foot monument in Airdrie is now being sculpted in the Philippines by renowned Filipino sculptor and visual artist Toym Imao. The monument is expected for completion in October 2021.
Mayor Brown referred to the Rizal Monument as an amazing way of recognizing the Philippine national hero and the Filipino community in Airdrie, which would also highlight the city’s diversity and inclusivity.
In September 2020, the Philippine Consulate formed a seven-man team and started meeting to discuss the implementation of the Rizal Monument project in partnership with the Airdrie City Council and the FAA.
In his remarks during the monument’s groundbreaking rites, Patron honored Rizal who was born in Calamba, Laguna on June 19, 1861. He recalled that Rizal was an ophthalmologist, novelist, poet, sculptor, painter, and fencer. He noted Dr. Rizal’s extraordinary character including his fluency in 22 languages.
In Rizal’s two novels – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – he exposed the tyranny, injustice, and corruption suffered by the Filipinos under their Spanish colonizers. These novels later inspired the Philippine Revolution that started in August 1896, which, in turn, led to the proclamation of the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898.
“It is just fitting that the Province of Alberta, which hosts 175,000 Filipinos, the second-largest Filipino community in Canada, should have its own Rizal Monument that will be a source of pride for all Filipinos in the province. The Rizal Monument is also the PCG’s humble way of promoting the Philippine heritage in the province and in Canada,” Patron added.
Once installed, the Rizal Monument would be the first in Alberta and Western Canada.
Patron took the opportunity to promote the Philippines to the Airdrie City officials and local media by providing them with Fiesta Filipinas kits and boxes of Filipino bread ensaymada.