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Sep 22, 2015
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Aga Khan drops $25 million gift on University of Alberta Botanic Garden
North America’s largest — and possibly the world’s coldest — Islamic-inspired garden is to be built in Alberta, a $25 million gift from the Aga Khan that is expected to attract up to 160,000 visitors a year.

Spanning almost 12 acres, the Mughal garden will become the centrepiece of the sprawling 240-acre University of Alberta Botanic Garden, located about 15 minutes southwest of the city.

Design work on the project began about six years ago after the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, visited the garden and suggested the idea.

Early stages of construction began in the summer of 2016 and the new garden is scheduled to open in time for the Aga Khan’s diamond jubilee celebrations in July 2018.

The University of Alberta is predicting that the Aga Khan Garden could increase attendance from between 60,000 to 70,000 annually to about 160,000.


An overview of the Aga Khan Garden.


The view looking back up to the top of the Aga Khan garden from the bustan.

That's right @Daveography -- I had three gardens in mind -- Chinese, Italian, and Formal English -- don't know why I put Japanese (mind vacation in the middle of the writing):oops:. Maybe a formal French Parterre as well -- I know they have the room.
Construction of $25 million Aga Khan garden reaches halfway point
Construction of the multimillion dollar Islamic garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden has reached the halfway point.

Announced in late April, funding for the 12 acre Mughal Garden came courtesy of a $25-million donation from the Aga Khan, the hereditary Imam or spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

Early stages of construction began in the summer of 2016 and the new garden is scheduled to open in time for the Aga Khan’s diamond jubilee celebrations in July 2018.

Aga Khan Garden set to open southwest of Edmonton
After nearly a decade of planning, the much-anticipated Aga Khan Garden is set to open at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden in Devon on Friday.

Construction on the 4.8-hectare garden began at the beginning of 2017. The garden features secluded forest paths, fruit orchards and more than 25,000 trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and wetland plants.

“We’re so thrilled to finally be able to share with the public this time of transformation at the garden,” garden director Lee Foote said.

^^It's looking great!

While not related to the Aga Khan Garden — since it doesn't seem we have a general Botanic Gardens thread — in other news, there's been rumblings that the University has conducted a feasibility study on the ground's old Arthur Erickson-designed Dyde Residence and is likely to move forward with restoring it. From what I understand, apparently the Alberta Association of Architects has exerted quite a bit of effort to save it.

For anyone unaware, the home is one of the Edmonton-area's most important pieces of Modernist architecture and was built for the original owners of the land, who subsequently donated it for the Gardens. It sits just south of the main gardens, somewhat off the beaten path, though its lawn is assessable to the public. Paula Simons wrote a good article on it a few years back, while local planning historian Erik Backstrom talked about it more recently:

That house is something worth looking at when you visit the gardens. It is a superb example of '60s architecture. Last time I was there I enquired about the house and the original owners of the property did own that house. The university is planning on restoring the house to be used for events such as weddings.