Brampton park renamed in honour of abolition of slavery
A park in Brampton officially has a brand new name.
The city has gone through with renaming 407 Sports Park to Emancipation Park, a name change meant to honor the abolition of slavery.
The motion to rename the park, located south of Highway 407, was brought forward by City Councillor Charmaine Williams and unanimously passed by city council on Wednesday, July 8.
“Around the world, we are witnessing a historic moment in time. People of all backgrounds are coming together to collectively confront systemic anti-Black racism,” said Mayor Patrick Brown.
Additionally, the city has declared August 1 to be Emancipation Day, and August as a whole as Emancipation Month.
“Here in Brampton, honouring Emancipation Month and naming a City park Emancipation Park is a powerful way for us to acknowledge the past and reiterate that we stand with Brampton's Black community,” Brown added.
Mayor Brown and councillors are expected to unveil the new park name sign sometime this month.
"As the first Black woman elected to city council in the history of Brampton, I was proud to move the motion to create a recognition of Emancipation in October of 2019,” said Williams. “The recent events that have elevated our understanding of anti-Black racism could not have been foreseen when I brought this initiative forward. However, I am so proud to say that Brampton is home to Emancipation Park.”
Back in October, Brampton City Council approved a motion by 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.
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