His Highness the Aga Khan tours UAlberta garden

    The popular new Aga Khan Garden, Alberta has already boosted attendance at the U of A Botanic Garden

    By Amie Filkow on October 17, 2018

    Please note that the Aga Khan Garden is now closed for the season and will reopen May 1, 2019.

    On Oct. 16, 2018, His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims around the world, visited Alberta for the official inauguration of the extraordinary new Aga Khan Garden, Alberta. The garden, located 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton in Parkland County, is a gift to the University of Alberta and all Canadians from His Highness. It welcomed its first visitors in summer 2018.

    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    His Highness the Aga Khan tours the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and landscape architect Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz, the firm that designed the garden. His Highness is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims. The role and responsibility of the Imam is to interpret the faith and to improve the quality of life of the Shia Ismaili community and the wider societies amongst whom they live. Credit: Paul Swanson


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    His Highness the Aga Khan delivers a speech at the inauguration of the Aga Khan Garden. Onstage (L to R): University of Alberta President David Turpin, Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. In 2006, the U of A and the Aga Khan University signed a Memorandum of Understanding, creating a reciprocal partnership focused on education, research and cultural understanding. In 2009, His Highness received an honorary degree from the U of A in recognition of his efforts in humanitarianism, pluralism and social justice. In his convocation speech, His Highness announced the gift of a garden he hoped would be a space of “educational and esthetic value, a setting for learning more about Muslim culture and design, as well as a place for public reflection.” Credit: Ryan Whitefield


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    Spread over 11.8 acres (4.8 hectares), the new garden is expected to attract visitors from all over the world to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, doubling its current attendance and benefiting the economy of the entire region. The Talar, with its orange canopies and limestone pillars, offers a majestic view of the central Chahar Bagh (four-part garden). Credit: Paul Swanson


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    Dramatic lighting provides a beautiful perspective of the Aga Khan Garden at night, creating a unique setting for evening programming and private functions. There will be a public grand opening in 2019. Credit: Paul Swanson


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    Gardens have for many centuries served as symbols of connection in Muslim culture. The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta joins a network of 11 Islamic gardens around the globe that have been built or restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. It is just the second garden in North America inspired by Islamic landscape architecture — and the northernmost in the world. Credit: Ryan Whitefield


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    Did you know the first mosque in Canada was built in Edmonton? The Aga Khan Garden builds on the region's Islamic heritage and links us to the past. Traditionally filled with candles, oil lamps or flowers, the carved granite niches of the Chini Khana are an illuminated backdrop behind a screen of tumbling water. Credit: Paul Swanson


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    His Highness the Aga Khan, a leading patron of architecture, selected the architects for this garden and gave them detailed direction to ensure that it would be a unique addition to Alberta's landscape. The five-petalled wild rose, the province of Alberta's floral emblem, is the inspiration behind the geometric designs of the fountain in the Rose Bagh (rose garden). Credit: Paul Swanson


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    Premier Rachel Notley, His Highness the Aga Khan and architect Thomas Woltz make their way through the Woodland Bagh, a serene pathway leading visitors into the Aga Khan Garden. The garden is part of the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, a site for research and education in biodiversity that addresses challenges like oilsands and wetland reclamation, and that helps us better understand the survival of animals, birds and plants. Credit: Ryan Whitefield


    Aga Khan Garden Inauguration

    President Turpin, Premier Notley, Lt.-Gov. Mitchell and His Highness the Aga Khan unveiled two plaques on Oct. 16: one commemorating the inauguration of the garden and the other dedicating the site of the future Diwan, or pavilion. The Diwan at the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta will be a warm and welcoming gathering place for visitors, and an ideal venue for public lectures, presentations and exhibits. Credit: Paul Swanson