“The garden has for many centuries served as a central element in Muslim culture …
The holy Koran itself portrays the garden as a central symbol of a spiritual ideal — a place where human creativity and divine majesty are fused, where the ingenuity of humanity and the beauty of nature are productively connected.
Gardens are a place where the ephemeral meets the eternal, and where the eternal meets the hand of man.”
– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, Forty-Ninth Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims – Spiritual Leader of the Ismaili community
The green link of the Aga Khan cultural complex officially opens
Serving as the linking element between the Aga Khan Museum and Ismali Centre buildings opened in September 2014 (and nominated as one of the year’s heroes by Torontoist), the Aga Khan Park is the ninth green space the religious leader’s cultural trust has built, joining parks in cities such as Cairo and Kabul.
During his speech at the opening ceremony, the Aga Khan touched upon the importance of green space in urban environments. “Too often in recent years,” he observed, “urban architecture—under pressure from urbanizing rural populations, greater human longevity, and shrinking budgets—has neglected the importance of open spaces in a healthy city landscape. We keep crowding more buildings into dense concentrations, while short-changing the enormous impact that well-designed open spaces—green spaces—can have on the quality of urban life.” His speech also touched on the importance of making cultural connections in a diverse city, and was laced with humour about the immigrant experience for Ismalis who settled in Canada.
Also present was Premier Kathleen Wynne, who unveiled a ceremonial plaque with the Aga Khan. “The park brings its own unique style and its own atmosphere to this beautiful corner of the city,” she noted. “This is a true 21st-century space, one that’s steeped in history but that speaks to our modern vision of a global, inclusive, and peaceful society.”
By Jamie Bradburn for Torontoist. Published Monday, May 26, 2015 at 10:30 am