OUR DIOCESE

Diocese

The formation of the Armenian community of Canada began between the years 1880 and 1890. It is unknown, however, whether the original immigrants arrived as permanent residents. The fact is that they were individuals who were willing to work, mostly in factories, in order to take their earnings back to their country. A certain Garabed Nergararian was the first Armenian to settle in the province of Ontario in 1887. Others followed him. Persecution in Ottoman Turkey-such as the massacres under Sultan Hamid in 1896, and the Genocide of 1915-drove many Armenians to seek refuge in Canada. As the twentieth century began, Canada witnessed an influx of Armenians from Van, Moush and mostly from the Balu and Keghi regions of Armenia. These immigrants established themselves in Brantford, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Guelph, Galt, Preston and Toronto.

In the 1920s, through the efforts of the Armenian Relief Association of Canada, one hundred Armenian orphans, ranging in age from eight to eighteen, were admitted to the country by the Canadian government, and educated in agriculture. The first group of fifty boys arrived in Quebec in 1923 from an orphanage of Corfu, Greece. They settled in a farmhouse in Georgetown, Ontario. A second group from the same orphanage followed soon after. The allotment of one hundred orphans was later filled out with some boys and girls from an orphanage in Beirut, Lebanon. Most of these young settlers grew up to be respectable Canadian citizens. Today, the total Armenian population of Canada is estimated at about 80,000. The majority of these reside in Toronto or Montreal-about 30,000 in each city. Smaller communities exist in Hamilton, Ottawa, St. Catharines and Vancouver, with the remainder scattered throughout Mississauga, Calgary, Windsor, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Kingston and the Maritime provinces

Current Primate is BISHOP ABGAR HOVAKIMIAN

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