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March 23, 1998

 

To: North York Community Council

 

From: Joe Halstead

Interim Functional Lead

Parks and Recreation

 

SUBJECT: Filipino Commemorative Monument - Earl Bales Park (Ward 9)

 

 

 

Purpose:

 

The purpose of this report is to seek Council=s approval to accept, as an official gift from the Philippine Government to the City of Toronto, a bust of Dr. Jose P. Rizal to be erected in Earl Bales Park to commemorate the Filipino patriot.

 

Source of Funds:

 

There is no cost associated with this monument as the responsibility for the production and installation of the bronze bust, including any landscape work, would be assumed by the Filipino community. The maintenance of the site will be the responsibility of the City.

Recommendations:

 

It is recommended:

 

(1) that the City of Toronto accept as a gift a monument to Dr. Jose P. Rizal and erect it in Earl Bales Park in the location designated on the attached map (Appendix I);

 

(2) that a moratorium be placed on any further installation of monuments and memorial trees in Earl Bales Park until a consolidated public art policy is completed and a specific plan developed for Earl Bales Park, and approved by a future meeting of Council ; and

(3) that the appropriate City Officials take the necessary action to give effect thereto.

 

 

 

 

Background:

 

The Consul General for the Philippines, Francisco F. Santos, has been in contact with Parks and Recreation for the purpose of making a gift of a bust of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and asking for permission to erect the bust as a monument in Earl Bales Park. With a centennial celebration planned for June 6, 1998, he has requested approval in time for that event. It is also proposed that the unveiling ceremony take place during the Philippines= Independence Day program and picnic at Earl Bales Park scheduled for June 6, 1998.

 

The bust of Dr. Rizal measuring 2.6ft x 2 ft x 1 ft, is made of cold cast bronze material mounted on a 6.6 feet granite pedestal and would be erected at the Earl Bales Park upon approval by the Toronto City Council. The recommended site for the bust is identified on the attached map. (Appendix I- site #2) The artist=s concept for the site is shown on Appendix II. Earl Bales Park has been chosen for a number of reasons: it is a favourite site of the Toronto Filipino community; it is centrally located; it is easily accessed; and it has hosted many Filipino community events in recent times.

 

.

Historical Justification:

 

On June 12, 1998, the Republic of the Philippines will commemorate the 100th year of Philippine Independence. The centennial celebration aims to call on Filipinos abroad to manifest a deep sense of national pride, to appreciate the legacy of patriots and to share their history with the Toronto community. Therefore, this historical event provides a rare opportunity for members of the Filipino-Canadian community in Toronto to work jointly with the Philippine Consulate General in honouring the martyrdom of the Philippine's foremost national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

 

Jose Rizal is honoured as a hero of the Philippine Republic for the work that he did in the late 19th century to awaken a sense of nationalism and ethnic pride among Filipinos. Dr. Rizal is said to have been the first Filipino to set foot on Canadian soil, on May 12, 1888. As a philosopher and doctor and a man noted for his talents in poetry, languages, music, and art, Rizal=s actions embodied adoration for his people, combined with great respect and concern for their health and prosperity. His writings were particularly controversial having had influence on the nationalist movement.

 

Rizal was arrested after returning to the Philippines from Hong Kong in 1892, but this did not stop others from disseminating his message and carrying on his work. An organization called the Katipunan, formed by Andres Bonifacio, was created with the aim of shaking off Spanish domination and gaining Filipino independence. On August 26, 1896, an insurrection broke out in the province of Cavite. Spain sent military reinforcements to increase its army to 30,000 men. Rizal, held to be responsible for the rebellion, was condemned to death on December 30, 1896. He is viewed as a national figure responsible for leading the independence movement against Spain.

 

 

 

Comment

 

Earl Bales Park is a very popular site within the city and during summer weekends, thousands of visitors make use of the park and its facilities. Due to this popularity, the park has been chosen by a number of groups as a logical site for the placement of various monuments and also by individuals as a suitable location for individual memorials such as commemorative trees and benches. At present, there are three major monuments, the Holocaust Memorial, the Raul Wallenberg Monument, a monument to lost children, and over ninety memorial trees. North York Council also approved the installation of a Jewish War Memorial in the park to be undertaken some time in the near future. All of these are extremely worthwhile projects but the park is in danger of becoming a memorial park rather than an active recreational facility as originally intended. After the installation of the Filipino monument, a moratorium would allow for a review of the present situation and a more planned and considered approach to future installations.

 

 

Conclusions

 

The Division recommends that this generous gift of a monument to Jose P. Rizal be accepted from the Philippine government and erected in Earl Bales Park at the site designated on the accompanying map.

 

 

Contact Name:

 

Gary W. Stoner

Deputy Commissioner

Parks and Recreation

Telephone: 395-6190 Fax: 395-0105

E-mail: gwstoner@north-york.on.ca

 

 

________________________

Joe Halstead

Interim Functional Lead

Parks and Recreation

 

   
Please note that council and committee documents are provided electronically for information only and do not retain the exact structure of the original versions. For example, charts, images and tables may be difficult to read. As such, readers should verify information before acting on it. All council documents are available from the City Clerk's office. Please e-mail clerk@city.toronto.on.ca.

 

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