Gift from the Aga Khan | Toronto Sun

Gift from the Aga Khan - Toronto SunBy JENNY YUEN, Toronto Sun – May 24, 2010 – The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims, will put a shovel in the ground Friday, marking the start of construction of a $300-million development in the Don Mills Rd.-Eglinton Ave. area.

Plans call for the building of a museum named after the Aga Khan, an Ismaili Centre and the creation of a park. The massive project is slated for completion by 2013.

“These projects represent a major investment by His Highness in this country’s cultural fabric and are a reflection of the Aga Khan’s commitment to Canada, which serves as a beacon to the rest of the world for its commitment to pluralism and its support for the multicultural richness and diversity of its peoples,” said Farid Damji, of the Ismaili Council for Canada.

The Aga Khan Museum — announced in 2002 — will be built on a 7-hectare site on Wynford Dr. and is the first of its kind in the English speaking world. The 10,000-square-metre structure will house collections of Islamic art, including ceramics, metal work and paintings covering a 1,000-year period of Islamic history. The design was done by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki.

The second part of the project is the Ismaili Centre — a community centre that includes a place of prayer, library, youth lounge and public spaces for cultural activities. It will be located on the same spot as the museum and is designed by Indian architect Charles Correa.

The park on Wynford Dr. has been designed by award-winning Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic. It will surround the museum and project a sense of a traditional Islamic garden.

“I’m excited this is happening because (the Aga Khan) is one of the few Muslim leaders who have reconciled with modernity,” said Tarek Fatah, author and founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “He offers a very clear alternative to the Islamism that is being spread by Jihadis. (People in the GTA) will get a view of Muslims and Islam without looking through the prism of Saudi or Iranian-tainted politics.”

The Ismaili Centre Toronto is the second in Canada — the other was built in 1985 in Burnaby, B.C. and opened by prime minister Brian Mulroney in the presence of the Aga Khan. Other Ismaili Centres have been built in London, Lisbon, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Dushanbe.

Toronto was picked as the site of the museum because of the city’s cultural diversity.

Nearly 100,000 Ismailis are settled throughout Canada — more than 30,000 of them live in Toronto.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

2 thoughts

  1. With the advent of the Pluralism Centre in Ottawa, the Islamic Museum and the Park in Toronto, the Burnaby Centre in Vancouver, a Islamic Park at the University of Alberta (under construction), this is to name a few in Canada besides his superb not for profit (NGO) Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) organization around the globe promoting health care, education, architecture, micro financing for the marginalized women to enter and conduct small business and help maintain their families, protecting the environment, transfer of knowledge and know-how to the third world countries to maintain and sustain their own well being etc. etc. is just a glimpse of the vision of the Aga Khan to open a window to the West of the true Islamic ethical values of frontier-less brotherhood, compassion, sharing, generosity, kindness, humility, integrity, protecting the sanctity of life, helping the weak and the poor, regardless of race, colour, sex or religion. The Aga Khan will demonstrate further with his ‘walk’ and not just the ‘talk’ that Islam is a religion of PEACE and a strong proponent of improving the overall quality of life of mankind and its environment on a continuous basis.

    We are ‘one world’ – we are human beings first and all the rest is second. In my opinion, the Aga Khan has been playing a pivotal role since 1957, to improve the overall quality of life of all human beings and his meticulous caring for the environment we live in.


  2. Its an amazing project , showing the diversity and tolerance in Muslim culture, and this generous contribution by the Prince Agha Khan will be remembered in the coming years.


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