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Aga Khan Park to open on May 25, 2015 in Toronto - 2015-05-25

Monday, 2015, May 25

Aga Khan Park to open on May 25, 2015

Premier Kathleen Wynne will inaugurate the Aga Khan Park in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, and spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, in Toronto on Monday, 25 May 2015.

The 6.8-hectare park, Toronto’s newest cultural hub, encompasses the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre, both of which were inaugurated last September. All three projects are examples of distinctive, world-class architecture and design, offering a major cultural and architectural contribution to Toronto and Canada.

In the Aga Khan Park, award-winning Lebanon-based landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic aimed to re-create the sensory experience — sounds, aromas, and colours — that he experienced while visiting traditional Islamic gardens in the Alhambra, Spain and Humayun’s Tomb in India, among other historic sites. The result, he hopes, is both "ephemeral and eternal," a space that may change with the passing light or season, yet becomes a permanent legacy for the city of Toronto.

Based on a traditional chahar-bagh (four-part garden), the formal garden within the Park is given a natural geometry through ordered plantings of serviceberry trees. The reflecting pools mirror the sky and capture architectural details of the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre.

A private park that is open to the public, the Aga Khan Park will make a significant contribution to Toronto, providing a venue for individuals and families to gather and enjoy a large number of social and cultural activities and programmes. Community art exhibitions, performing arts events, film screenings, and cultural festivals will be hosted in the Park, beginning with a celebration when the Pan Am lantern comes to the Park on 5 July 2015.

The Aga Khan Park is the ninth park project undertaken around the world by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Often built in rapidly urbanising cities like Cairo and Bamako, the parks can, like the Aga Khan Park, be entirely new developments or, like Babur’s Garden in Kabul, Afghanistan, may involve the restoration of existing sites. Regardless of their location, all embody the same belief — that parks, when properly maintained, can contribute to improving the quality of life in urban areas. In many cases, parks can also be economic generators that can indirectly or directly bring about positive social change.

In Canada, the Aga Khan Park will be joined in the future by a park in Burnaby as well as an Islamic Garden planned for the Devonian Botanic Garden in Edmonton.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of registered charities, agencies and institutions that support social, economic, and cultural development projects.


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