Ismaili Centre, Toronto

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Coordinates: 43°43′27″N 79°20′01″W / 43.724112°N 79.333538°W / 43.724112; -79.333538

The Ismaili Centre, Toronto
The glass roof of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto's distinctive prayer hall.
The glass roof of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto's distinctive prayer hall.
Basic information
Affiliation Ismaili Muslim
Leadership His Highness the Aga Khan
Architectural description
Architect(s) Charles Correa Associates
Architectural type Jamatkhana
Groundbreaking May 28, 2010
Completed 2014
The curved main entrance to the Ismaili Centre
The prayer hall illuminated at night, reflected in one of the ponds of the formal garden

The Ismaili Centre, Toronto is the sixth such Ismaili Centre in the world. Situated in a park that it shares with the Aga Khan Museum adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, the Centre represents the permanent presence of the Ismaili Muslim community in Toronto and Canada. The building was opened by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and His Highness the Aga Khan on September 12, 2014.[1]

Construction and development[edit]

The Ismaili Centre, Toronto is situated along Wynford Drive in Toronto’s Don Mills neighbourhood.[2] It is visible from the adjacent Don Valley Parkway,[3] and shares a 6.8 hectare site with the Aga Khan Museum.[2] Both buildings will be surrounded by a landscaped park.[3]

Formally announced in 2002,[4] the Ismaili Centre had its foundation ceremony on May 28, 2010. The ceremony was performed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and His Highness the Aga Khan, together with the foundation of the Aga Khan Museum and their shared park.[5] Construction of the $300 million development finished in 2014, and represents a significant addition and shift in the landscape of Toronto’s cultural institutions.[5]


The Ismaili Centre, Toronto was designed by Indian architectural firm Charles Correa Associates in collaboration with Toronto-based Moriyama & Teshima Architects.[6] Correa sought to create a building that responds to the traditions of Islamic architecture in a contemporary way using modern materials.

A distinguishing feature of the building is the glass roof of the prayer hall, which recalls the corbelling in many of the traditional domes in the Muslim world.[6] The glass dome, which represented a difficult technical challenge, is made of two layers of high-performance glass, and fritted to deflect the heat of the sun.[7] A clear sliver of glass facing east toward Mecca will run down the translucent roof.[7]

The Park[edit]

The Ismaili Centre is set in a landscaped park, composed of both formal and informal gardens. Designed by Lebanese landscape-architect Vladimir Djurovic, the park connects the Centre with the adjacent Aga Khan Museum.[6] Djurovic described his vision for the park as one that “captures the essence of the Islamic garden and translates it into an expression that reflects its context and contemporary age.”[6]

The park incorporates a char bagh formal garden that will feature mirror-like reflecting pools.[6] Designed to suit the climate of Toronto, the gardens capture the beauty of the four seasons.[2] The park also provides space for educational programming, outdoor gatherings, as well as offering areas for tranquillity and relaxation.[6]


External links[edit]