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As reported in the Edmonton Journal, construction of a multimillion-dollar, Islamic-inspired garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden has officially reached the halfway point. Reporter Juris Graney toured the site Wednesday to get a feel for the project that’s being funded by a $25-million donation from the Aga Khan, the hereditary imam or spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.
Initial design work on the Aga Khan Garden began six years ago, followed by early stages of construction starting on the grounds of the former Devonian Botanic Gardens in the summer of 2016.
When the 5.2-hectare project is open for the Aga Khan’s diamond jubilee celebrations in July 2018, it will become the new centrepiece of the 97-hectare gardens located about 30 minutes from the heart of the city.
One of the key features of the garden — which will be the largest in North America — will be the stonework built by up to 30 stonemasons from Edmonton’s Scorpio Masonry, who are working in three separate crews to bring the site to life.
The particular stones used in the construction — Algonquin limestone from Ontario and granite from Quebec and the Rocky Mountain region in the U.S. — were chosen to create a distinctive geometric mineral border for the garden, while the plants will add a flourish of paint strokes of seasonal colours, said Nathan Foley, project manager for U.S.-based landscape design firm Nelson Byrd Wolz.
Forming the foundation is some 23,000 cubic metres of locally sourced sand from a nearby site.
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