Georgetown Armenian Boy’s Farm a Historic Site

ANCT, Press Release, 30 May 2010

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.

ANCT, Press Release, 30 May 2010

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 Heritage Halton Hills, the ANCT prepared a designation report, which was presented to the committee at their monthly meeting in December of 2009. The son of a Georgetown Boy and Georgetown Girl, Mr. George Shirinian, the grandson of a Georgetown Boy, Mr. 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 Town Council for approval, together with two support letters from Canadian author Marsha Skrypuch and local director Sam Hancock. Halton Hills Town Council reviewed the report at the monthly meeting on March 22, 2010. ANCT members were present at the meeting and Mr. George 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, 2010, which appeared for 30 days and thus expired on May 20, 2010 without any reported objections. Halton Hills Town Council officially passed the by-law to designate Cedarvale Park on May 25, 2010.

The unveiling of the official municipal plaque will take place at Cedarvale Park (181-185 Main St. S., Halton Hills, Ontario L7G 3E9)on June 26, 2010 at 2:00pm, 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 12:30pm. 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.

For More Information Contact Raffi Sarkissian
Phone: 416-491-2900
 
5 comments
  1. Georgetown Armenian Boy’s Farm

    What a great job, Bravo to Canadian Armenians. You are great inspiration to diaspora Armenians everywhere. It is a worthy memorial to the orphans that escaped the Genocide.

    My question is why "Boy’s" farm only, what happened to the 29 girls. Are they not counted, forgotten, dismissed. They were orphans in the farm also, escaped the killings, without their parents. Why do we forget them? Mr. Shirinian’s mother was one of those girls. I can’t believe that as Armenians you will forget the girls, and not honor their memory also.

    So happy for what you accomplished, but meantime so sad and ashamed that the girls were left out.

    1. Georgetown Boys

      Dear Lydia,

      Point well made, but the "Georgetown Boys" designation was made back in the early days. It was made by Canadians who sponsored the project. Armenians merely followed what the Canadians had named or perhaps because of the status of women then, perhaps because the majority were boys and they arrived before the girls.
  2. A “Bravo” to Lydia Tutunjian as Well

    I read the press release, before it appeared in Keghart, about the landmark designation perpetuating the memory of the orphaned Armenians brought to Canada of whom I had heard and read decades earlier as the famed Georgetown Boys.

    However, I was surprised to read in the press release that there were actually 29 girls also. I checked Armeniapedia where the following is noted, “The few girls that were brought over as part of the initiative were adopted into various households as domestics”. I do not think that 29 girls qualify as being few in comparison to the 109 boys. I also am not sure why is the clarification made about the orphaned Armenian girls being adopted into various households as domestics when some of the Armenian boys may have been adopted by local farmers as farm hands.

    I commend Lydia Tutunjian to have brought this matter to the attention of the readers. She is absolutely right to question the naming of the site. I now believe that it will be historically inaccurate to designate the site for Georgetown Boys only when Armenian orphaned girls were equally beneficiaries of that historical humanitarian gesture of goodwill.

  3. Georgetown “Boys”

    I too have been misled all these years to believe that the G Boys were only boys. This is an eye opener for me as well and I don’t know who to blame besides myself.
  4. The girls were not “left out”

    The girls were not "left out". "forgotton" or "dimissed". If they were, then there would be no mention of them in the press release at all.  As a result of this press release people have started to learn about the female orphans as well, as Vahe and Mike have for instance.

    The name "Georgetown Armenian Boy’s Farm" is used in the press release beause this is its historic name. There is no intention to ignore the 29 girls who also shared the facilities. In fact, the official documentation and the content of the plaque incorporate all those who used the building including the young single mothers who occupied it after the Armenian orphans left.

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