Letter to the editor: Thank you for the meaningful tribute

Dear Editor,

I want to share my experience attending the remarkable celebration of the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of the Georgetown Boys to Cedarvale Farm, now known as Cedarvale Park, in Georgetown, Ontario. The event was a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of these brave individuals.

My day began at the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto, where we gathered in anticipation of the bus that would transport us to the commemoration. While waiting in the coffee shop area, I had the pleasure of conversing with Professor Dr. Lorne Shirinian, the son of Mampre and Mariam Shirinian (nee Mazmanian). We exchanged stories about our connection, forged when I embarked on writing my book about the Georgetown Boys. The professor graciously expressed his gratitude.

After a delayed departure, we finally arrived at our destination. As one of the special guests, I was directed to a room where dignitaries had gathered. There, I had the honor of presenting Mr. Bob Inglis, the Deputy Mayor of the Town of Halton Hills, with a copy of my book, The Georgetown Boys: Stories By Their Sons and Daughters.

Subsequently, I made my way to the tent where the public commemoration was about to begin. Among the attendees, I had the pleasure of meeting Susanne Felker-Hatch, her sisters, Vanna and Donna, and Ed Papazian and his wife. Additionally, I had the privilege of encountering Professor Isabel Kaprielian Churchill. However, I regretfully do not know who else among the descendants was in attendance.

It is not mere self-gratification that led me to present the PDF version of my book to the Honourable Councillor of Hamilton, Mr. Tom Jackson, the son of Missak Toumanian Boy #79. I also had the opportunity to offer a copy to Her Excellency Ms. Anahit Harutyunian, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Canada.

The event was expertly emceed by Gabriella Batikian, who did a fantastic job throughout the day. However, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment. I had anticipated that all the sons and daughters present would be invited to stand at the center stage and receive recognition from everyone.

The beautiful event left me with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. I couldn’t shake the realization that this might be the last time I would see some of the individuals gathered there.

In commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Georgetown Boys’ arrival, this event was a poignant testament to their resilience, courage, and enduring spirit. It is essential to honor and remember their contributions to our shared history.

I extend my deepest gratitude to the organizers, the newspaper for its coverage of the centennial, and everyone involved in making this day a meaningful tribute.


Hrad Poladian
June 25, 2023

Editor’s note: You can read our April 2022 interview with Hrad Poladian [in Armenian] about the publication of his book here and watch Poladian’s Feb. 2022 interview [in Armenian] with Montreal’s Hay Horizon television here.