By Stanford Blade, dean of the faculty of agricultural, life and environmental Sciences (ALES) at the University of Alberta.
As is characteristic of many of His Highness the Aga Khan’s initiatives, there is more to the newly opened Aga Khan Garden, Alberta than meets the eye.
The Aga Khan Garden, a hidden gem located at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, is a very special cultural asset that will benefit Edmontonians and all Canadians for generations to come. We owe a world of gratitude to His Highness the Aga Khan, the Imam (spiritual leader) of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims.
The Aga Khan Garden reimagines the rich garden landscapes of past Muslim civilizations in a contemporary Canadian context. In its layout, for example, the garden takes inspiration from the Persian Bustan or orchard, as well as the Chahar-Bagh or “four-garden” design, seen to be a manifestation of the gardens of Paradise in their earthly form.
The garden also links the Edmonton region to a network of idyllic sculpted landscapes around the globe. The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta joins a series of world-renowned gardens across the globe such as Sunder Nursery in Delhi, Bagh-e Babur gardens in Kabul, and Khorog City Park in Khorog, Tajikistan, all of which are sites of global repute in the world of cultural restoration, landscape design and architecture.