THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM TORONTO

Nearly 20 acres in suburban Toronto ( 77 Wynford Drive) have been  transformed to create a showplace for Islamic art and culture that is unlike anything in the Western Hemisphere. The exquisitely landscaped grounds reveal a stunning contemporary design featuring white stone and an elaborate glass dome, with plenty of outdoor space for walking and contemplation.  This is a singular jewel in the crown of Toronto’s architectural offerings, a valuable contribution to the preservation and presentation of Islam’s rich artistic heritage.

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The Aga Khan Museum opened on September 18th this year and is dedicated to the acquisition preservation and display of artifacts from Islamic communities worldwide. Presently the museum display 200 pieces of its more than 1000 item collection on the first floor; these permanent gallery items have been donated by the institution’s namesake, the family of philanthropist and Ismaili spiritual leader, the Aga Khan. The second floor houses temporary exhibitions and presently has 6 Pakistani artists on display.

Designed by Pritzker Prize winner Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, the 10,000 square-metre structure is set within formal gardens and surrounded by a large park.  The museum is connected via extensive landscaping with the Ismaili Centre designed by Charles Correa Assocates and Moriyama & Teshima.

Beside the museum there is a theatre, classrooms, a full-service restaurant, a private club serving Islamic cuisine and a gift shop.

A music program is planned which will expand the knowledge of the traditional music of Asia and the Islamic world.

The museum will become a storehouse of historical materials related to the Ismaili community and will also provide space for exchanges between the Islamic and Western world on important cultural and educational and socioeconomic issues.

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I found this museum experience educational and inspiring, the building is stunning, the surrounding park beautiful. If I lived in Toronto or its environs, I would indeed become a member. I look forward to going to this museum to see what is on next spring when I return to Toronto.

Here are some photos I took of the Museum:

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