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article imageAga Khan Park - Toronto's newest cultural hub opens to the public Special

By Khalid Magram     May 26, 2015 in Lifestyle
Toronto - Three unique projects in the heart of Toronto came to its completion Monday afternoon with opening of The Aga Khan Park by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and His Highness The Aga Khan.
A picturesque 6.8 hectare Chahar Bagh, a Persian style garden is city's newest green space, which physically connects Toronto's other two cultural institutions: The Aga Khan Museum and The Ismaili Centre that were inaugurated in September.
The reflecting pool of the Aga Khan Park  mirroring the roof of the Ismaili Centre  Toronto at dusk....
The reflecting pool of the Aga Khan Park, mirroring the roof of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto at dusk. (Janet Kimber)
By Janet Kimber
Park in the night
Park in the night
By Gary Otte
The projects, which took almost five years to the date is embedded in Aga Khan's lifelong effort and vision of building the bridge between cultures and promote tolerance and diversity. The Aga Khan hopes the park will not only act as link between empty space connecting the two other structures but bring people together.
“Together, these three projects will symbolise the harmonious integration of the spiritual, the artistic and the natural worlds — in keeping with the holistic ideal which is an intimate part of Islamic tradition. At the same time they will also express a profound commitment to inter-cultural engagement, and international cooperation.” Says The Aga Khan, who is the chairman of Aga Khan Development Network and Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims.
The triad projects on Wynford Drive already dubbed Toronto's latest cultural hub, blends Islamic architecture, art and design in a 21st century setting. It offers visitors a remarkable opportunity to experience the work of three internationally-renowned architects on a single site.
In the Aga Khan Park, Lebanese-base landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic aspire to create the sensory experience in the Park from sounds, aromas and colors that he experience in other Chahr Bagh. Torontonian and surrounding communities will experience the ambiance of visiting romantic gardens at the Alhambra, Spain and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, India.
Based on a traditional Chahar Bagh (Four-part garden) the formal garden within the park presents natural geometry with planting of serviceberry trees. The reflecting pools mirror the sky and captures the architectural details of the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre.
The Ismaili Centre, which includes a Jamatkhana, Ismaili prayer place, conference hall for cultural events and exhibitions and Aga Khan Museum is collaboration of two world renown architects Japanese Fumihiko Maki and India's Charles Correa.
Wynne on her part echo the words of His Highness with emphasis on importance of cultural institutions and its contribution to Toronto, Ontario and Canada.
"I am very very honoured to call the Aga Khan a friend our province, I share and know we all share his vision of society where everyone has the chance to succeed, as premier I look forward to many opportunity to visit this beautiful park with members of the community." Says Wynne. You're building a beautiful place here she says.
The opening ceremony for the Aga Khan Park, a private but open to the public began with the recitation of the supplication from the Holy Quran that invokes the responsibilities of humanity to preserve green spaces and care for our environment.
The projects began five years ago at the former Bata location on Wynford Dr. The Aga Khan Park was slated to be opened in spring in order to capture the natural Canadian spring scenery.
Aga Khan Park Tours begin June 2, running seasonally at 4 pm Tuesday to Friday and 10:30 am and 4 pm on weekends. Approximately 60 minutes in length, these tours introduce visitors to the plantings of the Aga Khan Park as well as the inspiration for its design.
• On July 5 at 8 pm, the Pan Am Games Lantern visits the Aga Khan Park. Before the lantern’s arrival, the Park hosts a community celebration with family-friendly programming.
• Shamez Mohamed (Imara) shares stories about how the Aga Khan Park was developed and what inspired its design in the free public lecture From the Ground Up: Creating the Aga Khan Park (July 8).
• Informal musical performances and film screenings animate the Park throughout the Summer season, and the Park can be enjoyed from the patio of Diwan at Aga Khan Museum. A variety of additional public programming will be announced.
• The Park is open to the public daily from dawn to 10 pm.
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