His Highness the Aga Khan officially opened the Aga Khan Garden this month in Edmonton. The Aga Khan Garden, located at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, features an idyllic expanse designed for education, reflection and the promotion of intercultural understanding and harmony. The garden was opened to the public for the first time on June 29, 2018, following 18 months of construction.
Designed by world-renowned landscape architectural firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta features secluded forest paths, granite and limestone terraces, still pools that reflect the prairie sky and a waterfall that tumbles over textured stone. Fruit orchards extend around the large Calla Pond, and the garden contains more than 25,000 trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and wetland plants, selected for fragrance, beauty and the ability to thrive in Alberta’s northern climate.
The 4.8-hectare Aga Khan Garden is a stunning contemporary interpretation of Islamic landscape architecture. A gift from the Aga Khan to the University of Alberta and all Canadians, it joins a network of 11 gardens around the world built or restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture — and is the northernmost in the world.
“Our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth extends to cultural heritage, whether in the form of parks or monuments. I believe this stewardship is even more critical today than ever before,” said His Highness the Aga Khan.
The gift of the Aga Khan Garden is a symbol of the continued intellectual, educational and cultural collaboration between the University of Alberta and the Aga Khan Development Network. In 2017, the University of Alberta and the Aga Khan University renewed a memorandum of understanding, originally signed in 2006, to move forward their respective goals of increasing global engagement and promoting equitable human development for citizens around the world.
During the inauguration ceremony, the future site of a pavilion, named the Diwan, at the Aga Khan Garden was also dedicated. The Diwan will provide a much-needed indoor space at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. The signature building will complement the beauty and function of the botanic garden and maximize opportunities for programs and events that will benefit the entire community.
A public celebration of the Aga Khan Garden will take place in 2019.