The history of AGBU in Toronto dates back to 1923, when the late Levon Babayan, upon the encouragement of AGBU founder, Boghos Noubar Pasha, established the Toronto AGBU Chapter. In the following few years, membership grew rapidly due mainly to the arrival of young Armenians orphaned by the Genocide of 1915, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. In its early years, the Toronto Chapter, together with its American sister Chapters, engaged in the massive task of extending relief to the displaced Armenian victims of the Genocide throughout the Near East. The task was made all the more difficult by the Great Depression and World War II.
In the 1950′s and 1960′s, new Armenian immigrants began arriving in Canada predominantly from the Middle East, due to political and economic upheavals in that region. Given new needs, the AGBU Toronto Chapter revived its activities and became a more active part of the community. The same year, the AGBU Central organization readjusted its priorities. Until that time it had been a vehicle for helping destitute Armenians; now it would turn its full attention to the social needs of its people.
By 1964, Youth, Scouting and Athletic Committees were formed and developed. In the 1970′s, cultural groups were established and began offering successful performances to the Armenian community.
In 1979, land was purchased in Scarborough in the northeast area of Toronto, thanks to the generosity of Alex Manoogian, the assistance of the AGBU Central organization and the generous donations of community members. In June 1980, construction began on an impressive cultural and sports complex. The Alex Manoogian Cultural Centre was completed and opened its doors on June 5, 1981.
Today, the Centre hosts a variety of cultural, sports, youth and social programs for Toronto’s growing Armenian community. It was also the home of the Zaroukian Armenian Day School from 1985 to 2012. We invite you to learn more about AGBU Toronto’s Chapter programs through this website or by contacting us directly.