The Toronto chapter of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society (‘Hamazkayin’) was established in 1969. The founding committee members are Apkar Mirakian, Shoushig Boyadjian, Jirair Hovhannesian, Vahe Mardirosian and the late Nerses Gedikian. Since its inception, the Toronto Chapter of Hamazkayin has grown to become a vibrant presence in the community, with over 200 volunteers participating in all aspects of our cultural initiatives. ‘Klatsor’, as the chapter was named in the late 80’s, is home to the Hamazkayin ‘H. Manougian’ library, Hamazkayin Dance Institute and ‘Erepuni ’ Dance Ensemble, ‘Georges Sarkisian’ Theatre, ‘Arshile Gorky’ Art Studio, Hamazkayin ‘Kousan’ and ‘Hye Asdgher’ (Armenian Stars) choirs, ‘Pomegranate Film Festival and the Literary Youth Group.

Executive Committee

Tamar Donabedian Chaiperson, Dance committee representative
Ara Hasserjian Vice-chairperson, Two Masks theatre committee representative
Arsho Zakarian Secretary, Library committee representative
Lorig Katrjian Treasurer, Choir committee representative
Daron Derderian Accountant, Art committee representative
Talin Kelebozian Advisor, Pomegranate Film Festival committee representative
Varak Babian Advisor, Literary committee representative
Maral Hasserjian Canada Regional executive committee liaison

 

Erepouni Dance Ensemble

Aims and Objectives

To Preserve and keep alive the rich tradition of Armenian folk dance, by creating opportunities for young Armenians to be exposed to and appreciate this traditional form of artistic expression.

  • To maintain a Folk dance group that can represent the Armenian culture effectively at multicultural festivals.
  • Provide a healthy atmosphere for the young for social interaction.
  • Providing training in organised workshops supervised by professional choreographers and teachers.

Background

The Traditional Dance Enable was created in the early sixties in Toronto to advance the objectives stated above.  During the past 45 years many young Armenians have learned, performed and had a lot of fun dancing the way their ancestors did hundreds of years earlier. (Over 100 performances)

The dance ensemble has three levels

  • Children's group (ages 8 -13) 40 members
  • Teens (ages 14- 18) 30 members
  • Adults (19- 30) 25 members

The dance group is by far the most popular group in the community with a large number of parents involved in the group’s activities. Which includes organising rehearsals, performances, visiting other cities for exchange performances, preparation of costumes etc.

Additionally for the past 5 seasons a weekly Dance workshop is offered to 30 parents at a nominal fee.

            During the past several years the dance group flourished under the professional guidance of Miss. Lori  Najarian,

Miss Lori Najarian has now relocated to  Armenia  to further her specialization in Dance. To replace her a professional guest choreographer is  invited from Armenia to continue Miss Najarians work and further increase the skill level of the performers.

 

“George Sarkissian” Theatre Group

Aims and Objectives

  • To enhance the social development of youth through exposure to and appreciation of theatre as an art form.
  • To contribute to the preservation of the Armenian heritage through staging of plays by Armenian artists and major plays translated into Armenian.
  • To sponsor and support young talented actors and directors by assisting them to develop their skills in staging community plays.

Background

  • The famous Armenian director George Sarkissian from Lebanon launched the youth theatre Society in 1975. A group of talented young actors continued the tradition formed a theatre club and named it after Mr. Sarkisian and delighted the community with many performances.
  • In 1984 another group was founded and concentrated on experimental theatre ( Adamov group)
  • The theatre society of Toronto was formed in 1985 to sponsor, support and organize the performances of the two theatrical groups.  It has a membership over 50 actors and many more community members who support and participate in the events sponsored by the two groups

            The groups hold weekly rehearsals preparing for their many performances. During the last year the two groups staged three plays (total of five performances) three in Toronto one in Cambridge Ontario and one in Montreal.

 

 

“Kousan” Choir Group

Aims and Objectives

  • To preserve and keep alive the rich heritage of Armenian traditional religious hymns, folk music and song.
  • Contribute to the preservation of the Canadian Armenian Heritage.

Background

Formed in 1981 in Toronto under the leadership of Director Composer Maestro Edig Hovsepian this Choir consists of over 100 adult amateur (unpaid) but dedicated singers and  has an enviable list of achievements. Over the past 35 years the choir has given over 100 performances all over North America.

The current Choir master is Mrs. Hripsime Tovmasian

Summary of Activities

The choir holds by weekly training and rehearsal sessions in preparation for its popular annual performance in Toronto that is often repeated in other major cities.

The choir also participates in other functions organized by other organizations (Five during the past year)

The choir annual performance was in October 2016 with the next performance scheduled in Sept 2017, Visits to other cities is scheduled but are dependent on availability of funds.

In addition to the “kousan” choir group, there is also “ Haye Asdgher” choir group with approx. ???? young singers.

The Choir has had many distinguished choirmasters. Over the past years more than 400 individuals have learned traditional classic and modern Armenian songs and staged over 100 performances.

Membership is open to all individuals interested in the choir’s purposes and activities.

In addition to our traditional annual performances our group is regularly invited to perform in other Armenian communities of Ontario.

ARCHILE GORKI  Arts Committee

Aims and Objectives

  • To enhance the artistic development of youth through exposure to and appreciation of the arts, paintings and sculpture.
  • To encourage young and upcoming Canadian Armenian artists by exhibiting their works and promoting their development.
  • Providing training to develop the talents of young artists in organized workshops supervised by professional Artists and teachers.

Background

Armenian artists in Toronto to advance the objectives stated above created the contemporary arts council in 1979. During the past 19 years the council has held approximately 100 art exhibitions, exhibiting the works of prominent Armenian artists and new young artists. Additionally for the past 10 seasons a weekly art workshop is offered to 30 art students at a nominal fee.

            The weekly workshops for adults  is under the supervision of the prominent artist mr. Sirak Melkonian

            A similar weekly workshop for young students is supervised by also a wellknown artist Mrs. Natalie Seraydarian

           The art work shops continue to flourish with a waiting list of students interested to develop their artistic skills 

Manougian Library

Aims and Objectives

  • To serve as full resource center for topics covering a broad range of Armenian subjects, art, history, religion, literature, music etc.   and make it available for free to all community members.
  • To provide a channel for distributing and selling new publications covering Armenian topics and literary works to the community members and at the same time promote new publication and writers.

Background

The library was established in 1968 through the generous donation of the personal collection of books by the Manoogian family. Over the past 48 years the library has expanded continuously adding an audio and video section also an English section.

To day this library is the largest resource centre in Ontario on Armenian literature, history, music, art, and many other topics related to Armenia and Armenians. It is extensively used by the students, community members and the general public.

The library is located within the Armenian Community Centre, it occupies 1800 sq. ft. consists of over 4000 books and periodicals in English and Armenian, over 500 audio tapes, records, CD's and hundreds of Video.

It is operated by a staff of about 8 volunteers and open to the public at no charge five days a week.

In addition to providing a service to the general public the library also has membership (mailing List) of approx. 300 individuals who receive regular updates on new books and publications

  • The library club organizes book fares on a quarterly basis to promote and sell new publications and educational materials, videos, tapes, CD’s etc.         
  • A major effort is underway to computerize the library inventory and make the resource available on the Internet.

          The library serves a real need within the community for the following reasons;

  1. It is the largest resource centre of it’s kind in all of Ontario (Topics related to and of interest to Armenians and non-Armenians conducting research on Armenian culture, literature, history etc.)
  2. It houses the most extensive collection of books (literary, fiction,) in both English and Armenian languages plus a very extensive collection of audio-visual materials, art books, children's books, periodicals from around the world etc.
  3. For students of all ages, community members and the general public, it is the only resource centre available five days a week and at no charge.

The need is real and growing, putting higher demands on the volunteer’s time and efforts.

To meet this growing demand and making it easier on the volunteers to service this need we continually expand the resources by acquiring more books, publications, and audio-visual materials.

 

Since its inception in 2006, the Pomegranate Film Festival has been a hit with Torontonians and visitors alike. Organized by young Armenian professionals, the festival draws over 1000 visitors each fall. For more information, visit www.pomegranatefilmfestival.com