For the past two years, the Armenian National Committee of Toronto (ANCT) has been working to have the Georgetown Armenian Boys Farmhouse, presently known as the Cedarvale Community Centre, designated as a protected historic and cultural site. Between 1923 and 1927, 109 Armenian boys and 29 Armenian girls who were orphaned during the Ottoman Empire’s systematic genocide against the Armenians, were brought to Canada by the Armenian Relief Association and raised in what is currently known as the Cedarvale Community Centre.
After researching the designation process, ANCT approached the Heritage Halton Hills Committee and submitted their request to support an application for designation in 2009. In cooperation with the Heritage Halton Hills, the ANCT prepared a designation report, which was presented to the committee at their monthly meeting in December 2009. The son of a Georgetown Boy and Georgetown Girl, George Shirinian; the grandson of a Georgetown Boy, Peter Adourian; and Prof. Isabel Kaprielian also participated with their respective presentations. The committee approved the designation report in January 2010 and submitted it to the town council for approval, together with two support letters from Canadian author Marsha Skrypuch and local director Sam Hancock. The Halton Hills Town Council reviewed the report at the monthly meeting on March 22, 2010. ANCT members were present at the meeting and Shirinian made a presentation on behalf of the Armenian community.
In accordance with the city’s regulations, the town council published the “Notice of Intention to Designate” in the Independent Free Press, a local newspaper, on April 20, which appeared for 30 days and thus expired on May 20, without any reported objections. The town council officially passed the by-law to designate Cedarvale Park on May 25.
The unveiling of the official municipal plaque will take place at Cedarvale Park (on 181-185 Main St. S., Halton Hills, Ontario) on June 26 at 2 p.m., in the presence of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos. The town of Halton Hills and the ANCT invite members of the Armenian community at large to attend this historic occasion and witness the unveiling of the designation plaque. Buses have been arranged by the Armenian Community Centre, which will depart at 12:30 p.m. The memory of the Georgetown Boys will be preserved through this designation, as the site will serve as a permanent memorial site commemorating the Armenian Genocide and Canada’s role in saving Armenian lives.
The Armenian National Committee of Toronto is a chapter of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, a grassroots organization that was founded in 1965 to address the concerns of the Canadian Armenian community on a broad range of issues.