Aga Khan Garden, Alberta
The 4.8-hectare Mughal-inspired Aga Khan Garden in Alberta, in Parkland County outside Edmonton, was made possible by a CAD 25-million gift from His Highness the Aga Khan. It is a modern interpretation of historic Islamic landscape architecture, designed for the region’s climate and topography. The Aga Khan Garden is the northernmost Islamic garden in the world.
The Garden 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 survive Alberta’s harsh climate. The Garden is meant to be a space where cultural understanding can flourish.
The addition of the Aga Khan Garden has more than doubled the number of annual visitors to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, benefiting the economy of the entire region. To ensure a positive experience for the additional visitors, other major upgrades have been made to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, including parking improvements, a new entry plaza and infrastructure improvements.
Aga Khan Park, Toronto
Lebanon-based landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic designed the formal gardens of the Aga Khan Park. Based on a traditional Persian and Mughal chahar bagh (four-part garden), the gardens are given a natural geometry through ordered plantings of serviceberry trees. They provide a tranquil place for contemplation as well as flexible areas for public programming or private events.
Beyond a perimeter of cedar hedges, the gardens flow into a park whose trees – including Star Magnolia, River Birch, Trembling Aspen and Weeping Cherry – were chosen for their varied colours and shapes as well as their ability to withstand the Canadian climate.
Shrubs and plants best suited to attract birds and butterflies are also planted throughout the Park, and include Rose Glow Barberry, Chinese Wisteria and Forsythia bushes.
Djurovic drew inspiration from traditional Islamic gardens from around the world, such as the Tomb of Humayun in New Delhi and the Alhambra’s courtyard gardens in Granada. He ultimately decided not to duplicate these historical exemplars but to communicate what they inspire in feeling, scent, and sound.
The Aga Khan Museum is situated within the Aga Khan Park.