The first full-size statue of Dr. Jose Rizal was unveiled in Markham, Ontario in time for Philippine Heritage Month. The 6-foot bronze statue, appropriately located in Luneta Gardens, embodies the diversity of this city’s community.
Statues of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, can be seen in different continents around the world, but none have seen the likes of a smiling Rizal until now.
“He will be the only smiling Rizal you will find only because he is in Canada, a multicultural country…and in Markham, a very diverse city. It took us about, say, 18 years, to arrive at where we are. This is just a culmination of that plan of putting Rizal in the map in Canada and this is it,” stated Mogi Mogado.
The monument is the most recent addition to Markham’s Public Art collection and was a gift to the city by the Filipino Canadian Community of Markham to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
All of these were made possible by former Councilor Alex Chiu who raised funds to support the $300,000 monument and Luneta Gardens project.
“I always see Dr. Rizal statue so I say why don’t we do this in Markham. When I decided to step down and retired, I said I have to do something so the Filipino people will remember that I have done something for them,” stated Alex Chiu, Former Councillor of Markham.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti stated, “It’s as much about recognizing a national hero as it is about truly appreciating the contributions of the Filipino community here in Markham, throughout the GTA, across Canada.”
Community leaders hope that Rizal’s monument will inspire the younger Filipino-Canadian generations and serve as a reminder of their Filipino heritage regardless of where they live.