Happy Canada Day and an Academic Year-End Message!

June 29, 2014

July 1, 2014, marks Canada‚Äôs 147th birthday and the 91st anniversary of the arrival of the first 46 Armenian genocide orphans at Georgetown, Ontario. A group of 50 were collected from the London, UK-based Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor’s) Fund Orphanage in Corfu, Greece, and traveled via Marseilles to Cherbourg, France. Four were held back for several weeks, with the rest continuing on to Quebec City. Taking a train through Quebec and Ontario, they finally arrived at Georgetown on what was then called Dominion Day. The project was a milestone in the history of a country that has prided itself for its humanitarian record.

As summer school classes begin on July 2, we encourage teachers to take some time to discuss this history with their students. Topics such as immigration, humanitarianism, human rights, and genocide are relevant to many courses and are curricular expectations in many Canadian, World Studies, and Humanities courses. Questions educators may wish to explore can include, How do we accept new immigrants in our classroom? What are our attitudes towards those in need? How might these boys have felt as they arrived in a country they knew nothing about?

Please take a moment to visit our page dedicated to the 90th anniversary of these boys’ arrival. You can also access two documentaries in our Media Resources section and a new text resource in our Reference section. The latter was published by the Ontario Heritage Trust on the occasion of the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Cedarvale Community Centre, the name by which the Armenian Boys’ Farm Home is known today. This document provides an informative overview of the history and is perfect to use as a class reading. 

The Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education has visited over 800 students through its guest lecture services throughout the 2013-2014 academic year. By inviting the Corning Centre to their classrooms, teachers in various school boards have created a unique opportunity for their students to receive information on topics such as the legacy of genocide, genocide denial, eyewitness testimony and Canada and the Armenian Genocide. The visits have been highly interactive and allowed students the opportunity to ask questions as they navigate the complexities surrounding genocide, human rights and world politics. 

The Corning Centre is dedicated to promoting human rights, anti-racism and genocide education in Canada. Our presentations inspire students to become active voices in promoting diversity and respect for all. We encourage teachers to contact us and book a classroom visit for the 2014-2015 academic year, or even for their summer school classes, and to stay tuned for upcoming events and classroom resources! Happy Canada Day!