Toronto commemorates the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

In commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, over six-hundred members of the Canadian-Armenian community of Toronto, joined by a number of prominent political and community guests, gathered at the Armenian Community Centre on Sunday, April 21, 2013. The commemorative event was organized by the United Committee of Toronto for the 98th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

In attendance were, His Excellency Mr. Armen Yeganian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada, Mr. 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 Member of Parliament for Willowdale, conveyed the message of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to the Armenian community of Toronto.  Costas Menegakis, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill, relayed the message of Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, The Honourable Jason Kenney.

During the event, the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Labour, and MPP for Scarborough Centre to relayed the message from the Premier of Ontario, Honourable Kathleen Wynne, while Frank Klees, Member of Provincial Parliament for Newmarket—Aurora, delivered the message of Mr. Tim Hudak, the leader of the official opposition. The Honourable Jim Karygiannis, MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, also delivered his personal message to the community. Toronto City Councillor for Ward 33 – Don Valley East, Shelley Carroll, as well as Deputy Mayor of the City of Markham and Regional Councillor, Jack Heath, also conveyed their messages to those in attendance.

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 Centre 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.

Long-time friend of the Armenian Community of Toronto and Former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, The Honourable David Warner, recited a poem he had written, dedicated to victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The commemoration’s keynote speaker was, His Excellency Mr. Armen Yeganian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada. During his address, Ambassador Yeganian 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 Armenian Genocide.

After the Master of Ceremony, Varak Babian’s heartfelt closing remarks, the members of the clergy lead the dignitaries, guests and all in attendance to the `Revival‘ monument, dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. There, a prayer was conducted for the souls of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and carnations were laid in their memory.

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