Former MP ‘honoured and humbled’ to have Winnipeg park named after him

Dozens of people gathered at a park in Winnipeg’s St. Vital neighbourhood on Saturday to see it officially renamed after the first Filipino elected to Parliament.

Dr. Rey Pagtakhan told the crowd he was moved to receive the recognition.

“Certainly, I feel really honoured and humbled,” he said.

“There is a message that the Filipino-Canadian community has come of age and that it has made contributions to our common city and our common country.”

Pagtakhan was invested into the Order of Manitoba in 2017, when he was recognized for his contributions to medicine and public and community service.

He was elected as the member of Parliament for Winnipeg North-St. Paul in 1988 and served in that position until 2004, including as a Liberal federal regional minister for Manitoba, the province said of him at the time.

A man speaks at a podium in front of a playground.
Dr. Rey Pagtakhan says he was honoured by the recognition he received on Saturday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

At the ceremony on Beliveau Road on Saturday, Winnipeg Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) said he was glad to finally get the opportunity to recognize Pagtakhan, after the event was delayed for three years by poor weather and COVID-19 restrictions.

“He’s been a great figure for St. Vital, for the whole city of Winnipeg, for the Filipino community,” Mayes said. “He’s been a medical figure. He’s been a political figure. He’s been a mentor to a lot of people.”

Pagtakhan’s nephew and former city councillor Mike Pagtakhan said while his uncle served in another end of town, the park in St. Vital was chosen because it means a lot to their family.

“Dr. Rey’s a big part of St. Vital. He served as a school trustee in St. Vital and he just lived close to St. Vital Park, so this park has got a lot of personal significance,” Mike Pagtakhan said.

A man with glasses answers a question.
Former Winnipeg city councillor Mike Pagtakhan says the location of the park named after his uncle means a lot to their family. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont, who’s also the MLA for St. Boniface, said he wanted to be there on Saturday to pay his respects to such a significant local figure.

“He truly is a historic figure,” he said, adding that it became clear on Saturday “when you hear the number of people whose lives he’s touched and the recognition that’s being given.”

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