Martin C. Barry
The 2016 Laval Armenian Festival, which took place at the former Cavalia site just off Autoroute 15 from June 24 – 26, attracted thousands of people from all over Laval and the Montreal region for one of Quebec’s biggest annual celebrations of Armenian culture.
Faithful to the culture
The many families who attended enjoyed traditional Armenian foods, midway games, dancing and live music, all to remind them of their Armenian roots. As many as 9,000 Laval residents are of Armenian descent.
The festival is organized as a fundraiser by members of Laval’s Sourp Kevork Armenian Apostolic Church. In Laval there are several Armenian churches and Sourp Kevork Armenian Apostolic Church has about 600 members.
The weather cooperated
The Laval Armenian Festival is one of the largest Armenians stage in the province. “The weather is cooperating this year, so we have been expecting many more people than last year,” said Vicken Khozozian, president of the organizing committee for the event.
On the opening evening on June 24, comedy was on the menu: a trio of Armenian comedians flew in from various cities across the world and performed for 1,500 people under the big top. On Saturday night, one of the world’s most famous Armenian pop singers, Harout Pamboukjian, flew in from his home in Los Angeles to perform for Laval’s Armenians.
Legendary Armenian singer
“He’s a living legend who’s been around for more than 40 years,” said Khozozian, noting that a crowd of at least 3,500 was expected for the performance. Sunday was set aside as a special Family Fun day featuring a children’s show in the morning, followed by an Armenian folk dancing show in the afternoon and an Armenian vocalist that evening.
“The City of Laval is very involved with the Armenian community and we are very proud to be one of their partners,” said Laval executive-committee vice-president David De Cotis. The Armenian Festival site was furnished over the three days by the city. “The Armenian community in Laval is one of the largest,” said Laval-Les Îles Liberal MP Fayçal El-Khoury who was one of the many dignitaries who turned up on Saturday to pay their respects.
Many dignitaries present
“We’re here to enjoy all the festivities,” said Chomedey city councillor Aglaia Revelakis. “This festival is very close to my heart because my wife is of Armenian descent so it’s very important for us to be close to the Armenian community,” said Abord-à-Plouffe city councillor Vasilios Karidogiannis. “It’s nice for a community like the Armenians to be able to share their values and their traditions like this,” said Vimy Liberal MP Eva Nassif.
“Coming to the Armenian Festival is like coming home,” added Chomedey Liberal MNA Guy Ouellette who was attending the event for the tenth consecutive year. In contrast, it was the first time for Fabre Liberal MNA Monique Sauvé since she was elected only six months ago in a by-election. “The Armenian community is very important in my riding,” she said.