TORONTO, Canada—In commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, more than 600 members of the Canadian-Armenian community of Toronto, joined by a number of prominent political and community guests, gathered at the Armenian Community Center on Sun., April 21. The event was organized by the United Committee of Toronto for the 98th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
In attendance were Armen Yeganian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada; Iacovos Giragosian, consul-general of the Republic of Cyprus; representatives from all three levels of government; as well as former politicians and representatives of several Armenian and Canadian organizations. Chungsen Leung, parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism and a member of parliament (MP) for Willowdale, conveyed the message of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Armenian community of Toronto. Costas Menegakis, MP for Richmond Hill, relayed the message of Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney.
During the event, Brad Duguid, the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities Labor, and a member of provincial parliament (MPP) for Scarborough Center, relayed the message by the premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, while Frank Klees, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, delivered the message for Tim Hudak, the leader of the official opposition. Jim Karygiannis, MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, also delivered his personal message to the community. Toronto’s city councilor for Ward 33-Don Valley East, Shelley Carroll, as well as the deputy mayor of the City of Markham and regional councilor, Jack Heath, also conveyed their messages to those in attendance.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee for Ward 17-Don Valley East, Harout Manougian, provided details about the passing of a motion at the TDSB on March 6, 2013, which declared April as “Genocide Awareness Month.” During the commemoration, guests were also treated to an exhibit, put on by the newly established Sara Corning Center for Genocide Education. Titled “90 years: The Arrival of the Georgetown Boys,” the exhibit was dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the Georgetown Boys to Canada, and is one of the several initiatives planned for the occasion.
A long-time friend of the Armenian community of Toronto and a former speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, David Warner, recited a poem he had written dedicated to victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The commemoration’s keynote speaker was Ambassador Yeganian who, during his address, made it clear that the denial of the Armenian Genocide is unacceptable in Canada and that Turkey has no right to intimidate the government of Canada to reverse its recognition of the genocide.
After the master of ceremony, Varak Babian, gave heartfelt closing remarks, the members of the clergy led the gathered dignitaries and guests to the Revival Monument, dedicated to the victims of the genocide. There, a prayer was conducted for the souls of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and carnations were laid in their memory.
The Armenian National Committee of Toronto is a chapter of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, a grassroots human rights organization that was founded in 1965 to address the concerns of the Canadian Armenian community on a broad range of issues.