The Aga Khan Gar­den at the Univer­sity of Al­berta opens spring 2018

A spec­tac­u­lar new gar­den will open this spring at the Univer­sity of Al­berta Botanic Gar­den, lo­cated 15 min­utes south­west of Ed­mon­ton.

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Local Dirt -

Acon­tri­bu­tion in ex­cess of $25 mil­lion was made by His High­ness the Aga Khan, Chair­man of the Aga Khan Devel­op­ment Net­work (AKDN) and spir­i­tual leader of the Is­maili Mus­lim com­mu­nity.

The gift arises from an hon­orary doc­tor­ate given to His High­ness in 2009.

Thomas Woltz, of Nel­son Byrd Woltz Land­scape Ar­chi­tects, has cre­ated a 4.8-hectare mar­vel of se­cluded for­est paths, and wide, stepped ter­races that change with the sea­sons. Geo­met­ric wa­ter fea­tures stream into wet­lands and lo­cal plants. It will be cre­ated around the ex­ist­ing Calla Pond at the heart of the Univer­sity of Al­berta Botanic Gar­den.

His High­ness has re­stored and built mag­nif­i­cent parks and gar­dens around the globe as part of the broader devel­op­ment pro­grams of the AKDN, in­clud­ing parks in Cairo, Kabul and Delhi. (Aga Khan Univer­sity is also part of the AKDN.) He be­lieves that parks can be tools for so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fit.

The Aga Khan Gar­den is the first gar­den in Western Canada, the sec­ond in North Amer­ica

“On the 150th an­niver­sary of Canada, it is ap­pro­pri­ate that we are cre­at­ing to­gether a Mughal-style gar­den which echoes the great con­tri­bu­tions that Mus­lims have made to world her­itage,” said the Aga Khan. “The Mughals built the Taj Ma­hal and Hu­mayun's Tomb and the gar­dens around them, so the univer­sity's em­brace of this project is an in­her­ently plu­ral­is­tic act. The cre­ation of this gar­den there­fore both deep­ens an ex­ist­ing part­ner­ship and il­lus­trates

The ad­di­tion of the new Aga Khan Gar­den is ex­pected to at­tract 75,000 to 160,000 new vis­i­tors to the Botanic Gar­den. An in­ter­pre­tive pro­gram will help vis­i­tors un­der­stand the fea­tured plants and the art and de­sign of the gar­den.

The Aga Khan Gar­den cel­e­brates both the 150th an­niver­sary of Canada and the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee that marks 60 years since the Aga Khan be­came the 49th Hered­i­tary Imam of the Shia Imami Is­maili Mus­lims.

Geom­e­try is an im­por­tant el­e­ment com­mon in Is­lamic land­scapes. The geo­met­ric struc­ture of this gar­den acts as a frame­work for the lo­cal wet­lands and hon­ours the ridges of sand dunes that were once an an­cient glacial lake.

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