The first-ever North American chapter of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society was established in August 1963 in Montréal, Canada, by unifying the choir, dance ensemble, and theater group that had existed in the community since 1955. Today, ‘Sanahin’ as the Montreal chapter was named later, is home to the ‘Ani’ Dance Ensemble, ‘Bedros Atamian’ Theater Troupe, ‘Knar’ Choir, as well as literary, art, library, and book promotion committees. With over 12,000 volumes, ‘Sanahin’ maintains the largest collection of Armenian books in Canada. As well, the chapter showcases a unique collection of Armenian royal costumes.

Executive committee, 2016-2017

Tamar Chahinian Chairperson, Movie club, ”Coffee, Tea and Ideas” club and special projects representative.
Rosemarie Sahagian Secretary, Fine arts committee representative
Roupen Sarkissian Treasurer, Bedros Atamian theatre group representative.
Dzovig Goudian Accountant
Rita Chamlian Adviser, Library, Bookstore and Knar and Nanor choirs representative.
Hratch Seraydarian
Adviser,  Ani Dance Ensemble and Ani Folkdance Ensemble representative.
Anahid Balian Adviser, Llitrature and Kids Story Telling committees representative.
Kevork Tachjian Regional executive committee liaison.


The ‘Ani’ Dance Ensemble, under the leadership of Eva Hayrapetian, excels in the traditional dances of our Armenian heritage, but also brings a contemporary twist that audiences have come to appreciate. The Ensemble performs several times a year, including at multicultural venues and festivals, where the beauty of Armenian dance is introduced to the Canadian community at large. In addition to the Ani Dance Ensemble, Hamazkayin ‘Sanahin’ Chapter also provides dance training to children and adolescents, helping them master the traditional dances of Armenia. Practices are held on Fridays at 8 p.m. in the ‘Aharonian’ Hall of the Armenian Community Center. There is a moderate registration fee.


The ‘Knar’ choir was originally founded in Cairo, Egypt, by Maestro Yervand Alexanian, who later immigrated to Canada and continued his musical endeavor. At present, under the leadership of Maestro Varoujan Margarian, ‘Knar’ performs numerous times during the year and consists of singers from 18 years of age and up. Practice sessions are held every Wednesday, from 8-10 p.m. in Room 3 of the Armenian Community Center, 3401 Olivar-Asselin



The Hamazkayin Library features a vast collection of books that satisfy the unique taste and interest of any reader. The collection is up to date with the most recent publications. The library also has an extensive video and audio collection, available on loan. Library hours are: 1-5 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday, and 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sundays. A library card may be obtained during open hours, upon presentation of a valid ID. Annual membership is $12 for adults, $7 for children. The library is located at the Armenian Community Center, next to the ARS Nursery.


Over the years, Hamazkayin ‘Sanahin’ Chapter has showcased the works of talented and world renowned artists, hailing from either the province of Quebec or from abroad. Exhibits attract both non-Armenian and Armenian audiences, throughout the year.


A vast selection of books, souvenirs, greeting cards, video and audio clips, as well as other Armenian memorabilia are available for sale at the Hamazkayin ‘Sanahin’ Chapter bookstore in Montréal. The bookstore is open every Sunday, between 1-5 p.m. and is located at the entrance of the ‘Aharonian’ Hall of the Armenian Community Center.

Organized by our Literary Committee, book presentations, debates, films based on literary works, as well as interviews, are regular occurrences, which feature authors, both Armenian and non-Armenian, and address issues that are close to our hearts. Story hours organized monthly for children aged 4-8 captivate our young ones as they listen to their favorite stories in live story telling sessions, in Room 3 of the Armenian Community Center.


The theatrical troupe of the Hamazkayin Montreal Sanahin chapter presented its first production in 1958. The troupe first called itself Shirvanzadé (1962-1966). In 1976, the troupe was named Bedros Atamian, to honour the memory of the classical actor.

In the past six decades, 16 directors and hundreds of performers joined the troupe and presented to the public 68 plays and 80 other productions.

Today, the troupe continues to add to this impressive record new productions, which inspire young devotees of theatre arts to join its ranks and realize their dreams.