Brampton councillor proposing park name change to honour abolitionists


This week, Brampton City Council will be voting on a proposal to rename Dixie 407 Sports Park to Emancipation Park.

The proposal was made by Councillor Charmaine Williams to honour abolitionists.

Back in October, Brampton City Council approved a motion by Councillor Charmaine Williams to honour the legacy of William Wilberforce as well as the slavery abolitionist movement during Black history month in the U.K.

British MP William Wilberforce, MP for Hull from 1780, took up the cause of abolition after meeting John Newton, a former slave trader.

Wilberforce went on to become the Parliamentary spokesperson for the campaign to end slavery in the British colonies including Canada.

William Wilberforce tried on multiple attempts to introduce and pass legislation to abolish slavery, His efforts were eventually manifest in the an Act of Parliament which received Royal Assent on August 28, 1833,” said Williams at the time of the debate.

An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies received Royal Assent on August 28, 1833, and took effect the following year on August 1, 1834.

This made Canada a haven and destination for former, and escaped slaves, from the United States travelling the underground railroad.  Descendants of William Wilberforce live in the Greater Toronto Area and nothing could be more fitting than to declare this new park in August of 2020,” said Williams.

Previously, Brampton City Council has declared August to be emancipation month.

Council will be voting on Williams’ proposal at the upcoming City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

My motion was brought forward in October of 2019. While it was not a reaction to the recent events happening in Canada and the United States it is an attempt to demonstrate the interconnected reality of our histories,” said Williams.

Harriet Tubman ran the underground railroad, William Wilberforce created the legislation that made Canada the final stop. William Wilberforce freed the slaves in Canada and across the entire British empire by advocating for the Abolition of Slavery Act throughout the British Colonies close to 800,000 people were freed because of his efforts.”

It's time we honour him and other abolitionists,” concluded Williams.

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