The architectural ensemble, a US$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) project realised without any state funding, is a gift from Canada’s Ismaili community, which numbers about 100,000, more than half of whom live in the Toronto area.
Ismaili ties to Canada were strengthened in 1972, when the North American country absorbed many families … The Aga Khan has called Canada a global model for diversity.
By David D’Arcy for thenational.ae
Between wooded ravines north-east of downtown Toronto in Canada, a cone jutting upwards from beige limestone shares a seven-hectare site with a massive rectangle in elegant white granite that resembles an open box. Both structures form a bridge between the tradition and culture of the Islamic world and the present and future of Canada.
… In the soft September light, the structures are luminous. In the evening, the buildings are reflected in wide pools, part of gardens designed by the Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.
Booming, sprawling Toronto, where tower blocks under construction jostle for space, lacked a contemplative cultural site. Now it has one in the new garden campus.
It also lacked much in the way of art from Islamic lands. Now it has 1,000 works – from Mughal paintings to ceramics, from rugs to Persian manuscripts, some of which travelled to Dubai for an exhibition in March. An ambitious acquisition effort promises even more to come.
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