94th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

On Sunday, April 26th, 2009, more than 800 members of the Canadian-Armenian community of Toronto, joined by a number of prominent federal, provincial and municipal politicians, commemorated the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 organized by the Armenian National Committee of Toronto (ANCT) in collaboration with all the organizations that operate within the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto (ACC).

On Sunday, April 26th, 2009, more than 800 members of the Canadian-Armenian community of Toronto, joined by a number of prominent federal, provincial and municipal politicians, commemorated the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 organized by the Armenian National Committee of Toronto (ANCT) in collaboration with all the organizations that operate within the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto (ACC).

Government figures present at the ceremony were: Ontario Senator The Hon. Consiglio Di Nino (also delivered the message of The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada); Mr. Paul Calandra, MP, Oak Ridges-Markham (also delivered the message of The Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism); Ms. Yasmin Ratansi, MP, Don Valley East (also delivered the message of Mr. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Official Opposition); The Hon. Jim Karygiannis, MP, Scarborough-Agincourt; Mr. Derek Lee, MP, Scarborough Rouge River; Mr. John Cannis, MP, Scarborough Centre; Mr. Borys Wrzesnewsky, MP, Etobicoke Centre; Ms. Ruby Dhalla, MP, Brampton-Springdale; The Hon. David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP, Don Valley East; The Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and MPP, Scarborough Centre (also delivered the message of The Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario); Mr. Peter Sherman, MPP, Thornhill (also delivered the message of Robert Runciman, Leader of the Official Opposition); Mr. Michael Prue, MPP, Beaches-East York (also delivered the message of Ms. Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario); Ms. Shelley Carroll, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 33, Don Valley East (also delivered the message of His Worship David Miller, Mayor of Toronto); Mr. Mike Del Grande, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt; Mr. Jack Heath, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Markham (also delivered the message of His Worship Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the Town of Markham).

Prior to the public ceremony there was a reception for invited guests in the Hamazkayin Library at which Ms. Ani Chemilian spoke. Ms. Chemilian explained to guests the importance of the day’s ceremony to the Armenian community and thanked the guests for making the time to be present on this occasion.

Following the reception, the guests were led into the main hall of the ACC by the Homenetmen Scouts. Mr. Harout Manougian, the Master of Ceremonies for the commemoration called upon the audience to stand to welcome the guests and to remain standing for the Canadian and Armenian National Anthems and a moment of silence for the 1.5 million Armenians martyred during the genocide. Mr. Manougian delivered his remarks in English and Armenian. Mr. Manougian’s speech mentioned the recent passing away of Mr. Diran Terzian, one of the last genocide survivors in Toronto, and how with the last eyewitnesses to this crime passing away it was even more important to counter the Turkish government’s denialist propaganda. Following Mr. Manougian’s remarks a video presentation prepared by the ARF Youth Organization of Canada "Simon Zavarian" Chapter titled "Commemorating a Crime 94 Years in Progress" on the topic of how genocide denial has affected the Toronto Armenian community.

Once the video presentation was complete, Mr. Manougian called upon Mr. Arman Akopian, Minister-Counsellor, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada to deliver a message on behalf of the Armenian Embassy in Canada. At the conclusion of Mr. Agopian’s message, Mr. Manougian read a short announcement from the ARF regarding the recent announced agreement between the governments of Turkey and Armenia, stating "that good-neighbourly relations between the two countries can only be established after the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide and the restoration of the rights of the Armenian people. The lifting of the blockade and the establishment of diplomatic relations, without preconditions, can only serve as first steps on this path. It is absolutely unacceptable for us that relations with Turkey be normalized at the expense of Armenia’s sovereignty, the viability of its existence, or the national and state rights of future Armenian generations".

While delivering the message of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Jack Heath expressed his sadness at the news that Mr. Diran Terzian had passed away. Mr. Heath recalled the reception held in October 2007 on the occasion of the Town of Markham unanimously passing a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, where he had the chance to meet Mr. Terzian and where Mayor Scarpitti presented him with a gift on behalf of the Town.

Mr. Manougian delivered his closing remarks and asked the audience to proceed out of the hall to the Revival monument to the Armenian Genocide. At the monument a requiem service was held by Very Rev. Father Meghrig Parikian, Pastor St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church and Father Yeghia Kirijian, Pastor St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church. Following the service, wreaths were placed in front of the monument by distinguished dignitaries, and flowers were placed by all those present.

 

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