The latest round of construction at the 97-hectare property, located about a half-hour southwest of the city, is part of a total of $13 million that was approved in the provincial government’s 2014 capital plan.
Even though the funding for the front-of-house revamp is totally separate from the $25 million gifted to the University of Alberta by the Aga Khan in April to build North America’s largest Islamic-inspired garden, the renovations are in a large part needed to accommodate the expected ground swell of interest to the gardens.
The Mughal garden, which will cover almost 12 acres of the site, is expected to double the amount of visitors to 160,000 people from 80,000 per year.
Foote added that all the exterior work is expected to be complete by the time the garden opens in time for the Aga Khan’s diamond jubilee celebrations in July 2018.
The Aga Khan is the hereditary Imam or spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.