Reference Materials

Sympathy and Exclusion: The Migration of Child and Women Survivors of the Armenian Genocide from the Eastern Mediterranean to Canada, 1923–1930 ​

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Author: Daniel Ohanian

This academic journal article by Daniel Ohanian concerns the migration of the Georgetown Boys and Girls—children and women who had survived the Armenian Genocide—to Canada.

In 1918, some 500,000 Ottoman Armenians found themselves displaced from their homes or living in Muslim households in the Eastern Mediterranean and the South Caucasus. For most, life did not return to normal after WWI. Rather, new wars, war scares, political maneuverings, economic policies, famines, and epidemics during 1918–1930 resulted in a long-term refugee crisis that was responded to by a large number of Armenian and non-Armenian organizations. This article looks at one such response: the humanitarian relocation to Canada of 110 boys and 39 girls and women all genocide refugees and most of them orphans. It traces how this relocation campaign was realized despite Canadian immigration authorities’ long-standing efforts to keep Asians, the impoverished, and the stateless from entering the country. Breaking with the often simplistic and celebratory tone of the literature on humanitarian aid to Ottoman Armenians, this article discusses how the Canadian fundraising campaigns of 1880–1922 were a liability for this subsequent relocation project, and it pays special attention to the people and ideas that opposed it.

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Canada and the Armenian Genocide

Prepared by Daniel Ohanian, Raffi Sarkissian, Aram Adjemian, Isabel Kaprielian-Churchil
Published by the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education

This booklet covers topics on the Armenian Genocide and its consequences, Canadian assistance before, during and after the genocide and issues related to collective commemoration. 

The Corning Centre has also developed a teacher’s resource that complements this booklet which you can download here.

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Historical Thinking Concepts: The Georgetown Armenian Boys

Readings by:  Asya Darbinyan, Aram Adjemian, Isabel Kaprielian-Churchil

Published by the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education

Historical Thinking Concepts: The Georgetown Armenian Boys provides teachers with three concise readings about international and Canadian aid for the victims to the Armenian Genocide and about the Georgetown Armenian Boys. These readings are followed by several primary and secondary sources which provide students with insight into what Canadians were reading at the time and into the lives of the Georgetown Boys through sample articles from their monthly newsletter “Ararat Monthly”. 

The Corning Centre has also developed a teacher’s resource that complements this booklet which you can download here.

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The Armenian Boys’ Farm Home, Georgetown

Author: Ontario Heritage Trust

This is the Ontario Heritage Trust’s write-up on the Armenian Boys’ Home at Georgetown. It provides the text on the English-and-French, bilingual plaque placed there by this agency in 2011 and a short overview of the site’s history.

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Canada’s Moral Mandate for Armenia: Sparking Humanitarian and Political Interest, 1880–1923

Author: Aram Adjemian

This graduate thesis, written by Aram Adjemian, explores the efforts undertaken by Canadians in support of the Armenian people from 1880 to the 1920s. During that time, Canadian Protestant missionaries stationed in the Ottoman Empire wrote home about atrocities they witnessed, and some of their reports and pleas for assistance were published in the Canadian media. Money for Armenian relief was collected and sent abroad on several occasions. Imperialist-minded Canadian intellectuals and politicians – influenced by their Christian heritage and their work for social reform – were especially involved in the Armenian relief efforts.

In early 1920, some Protestant groups lobbied government to oppose the return of the Armenian provinces to Turkish rule. The Canadian government echoed those pleas and subsequently demanded that Britain share with it timely and appropriate information about the negotiations of the Turkish peace treaty. Several prominent British and Canadian individuals suggested that Canada take on a daunting League of Nations mandate for Armenia, should the United States fail to do so. However, the vigorous reaction was short lived, as interested parties became increasingly preoccupied with domestic concerns.

The failure to prepare the public for more sustained protest activities and to initiate a discussion on a more meaningful Canadian role offers a practical perspective for considering the reaction to more recent humanitarian crises. It illustrates how preparing the public to sacrifice personal and public funds is vital if international humanitarian interventions are to prove truly effective. Most of the primary manuscript material cited in this thesis was consulted at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, Ontario.

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The Benefits and Challenges of Genocide Education

Author: Raffi Sarkissian

This research project explores the benefits of genocide education and the challenges teachers face while advocating for its implementation. An exploration of the history and development of genocide curricula is also conducted, followed by an examination of the Toronto District School Board’s efforts to develop and implement the very first Canadian senior level course dedicated to genocide education. The research concludes with suggestions and an analysis of the benefits and challenges of genocide education.