Any list of world-renowned parks and gardens is likely to feature the great gardens of the western world.
London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park stand as two iconic examples. Yet the Middle East and Asia would also be well-represented. The gardens of the Al-hambra in Spain, Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, and the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, are all magnificent reminders of the Muslim contribution to the world’s horticultural heritage.
Thanks to His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims, the University of Alberta Botanic Garden is home to a world-class garden and architectural jewel. And while Edmonton may seem an unlikely addition to this list, it is a project which is underwritten by distinctly Canadian features.
Drawing from the rich heritage of the Mughal tradition, the Aga Khan Garden is situated in a firmly Canadian context. The 4.8-hectare Mughal-inspired garden, was made possible by a generous gift from the Aga Khan to the U of A. The garden features secluded forest paths, granite paved pathways, limestone terraces, rippled waterfalls, streams and still pools that reflect the Alberta sky. Fruit orchards extend around the large Calla Pond, and the garden contains more than 35,000 trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and wetland plants.
The Honourable A. Anne McLellan, is the chancellor of Dalhousie University and is a former deputy prime minister of Canada.
Ralph Young, served as the 20th chancellor of the University of Alberta and is the former president and CEO of Melcor Developments Ltd.
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