In the Making: The Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park

A Photo Essay

May 28, 2010: The Aga Khan and Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, view the model of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park at the unveiling of the foundation plaque. Photo Credit: The Prime Minister's Web site,

Introduced by Abdulmalik Merchant
Editor and Publisher,

Jim Bowie is a photographer hobbyst, who has made it his mission to capture the development of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park by taking a photograph every day. This has provided Simerg with a splendid opportunity to monitor its progress in reaching its ‘developmental milestones’ over the coming months.

Motor racing enthusiast and hobbyst photographer, Jim Bowie, in a self portrait

Bowie and Simerg have collaborated to produce a spectacular photo essay of the work in progress. When completed, the buildings and the Park will become architectural gems and cultural icons in Canada. The 40+ colour slides included in this presentation, begin in March 2010 as Bowie moves into a condominium across the project site, when the ground had not even been broken. How did the site look then, and how has it evolved since?

By providing this treasure trove of photographs, we hope that your heart and mind will beam to as much a degree as Jim’s does; for him, change is an inevitable process and he does not take it for granted. He is engrossed daily in what he is observing. Just as each one of us is dedicated and committed to our own personal endeavours in life, the engineers, the architects and the site personnel are committed to seeing this project beautifully completed. The viewer, hopefully, will appreciate a sense of what happens at a dedicated construction site.

One of the slides in the PDF/PPT presentations. Please click image to enlarge.

Included in the presentation are excerpts from speeches made by His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Foundation ceremony, as well as excerpts from the Ismaili Imam’s LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture. These thoughts, as you will see, are directly connected with the project. 

Please note that this presentation and other material published on is copyright, and we ask that you kindly respect the terms of copyright. You may, by all means, download the presentation for your personal use.

Please share the link among your friends and contacts around the world via Facebook, Twitter and email. To receive regular updates to the Web site use the subscription option at top right of this page.

Enjoy the photo essay, links below, and watch it for regular updates in the coming weeks and months.

Copyright: Simerg and Jim Bowie.

Date article posted on Simerg: December 2, 2010
Last updated: August 17, 2011 (links to winning essays)



PHOTO ESSAY: PDF presentation
PHOTO ESSAY: Powerpoint Presentation
PHOTO ESSAY: Regular Web Pages (Sharper images)


2011 Simerg Essay Writing Contest – $1000.00 in Cash Prizes

“Why I am Excited About the Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park” by Emmanuel Iduma

 “Why I am Excited About the Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park” by Zohra Nizamdin


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12 thoughts on “In the Making: The Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park

  1. The photo essay on the growth of the Centre is superb. Very well done, and I always appreciate an artist with a bit of a sense of humor. The more I read about His Highness, the greater my respect. When someone can literally do whatever it is he wants, or can literally have anything his heart desires, whatever that is says a lot about the person. It is a consistent source of hope to see to what ends the Aga Khan uses the resources at his disposal. I am grateful for a world leader of such stature, with a heart such as his.

  2. On the subject of this project, one wonders if Wynford Drive or some other prominent road in Toronto could be named Aga Khan Blvd? A petition could be started to Toronto City Hall to honour His Highness for his great philanthropic activities world wide and his love for Canada.

    The new name would reflect his enormous contributtion to this project and to the local community in Toronto.

  3. Thank you for making available these photos on this Web site. I hope to see regular updates of our beloved Hazar Imam’s work around the world

  4. This is going to be a spectacular project – a Taj Mahal in Canada. Jim has done a superb photography and I look forward to viewing ongoing photos of this project. Thank you Jim and Simerg for bring this to us.

  5. Jim Bowie has given us a gift. And so has Simerg. I am engrossed watching its unfolding..thankyou! The photo of the halo reminds me, at a bit of stretch, of Sura Nur – “the lamp in a glass…” and all that the Lamp represents. Though there must be a scientific reason of light’s many abilites, this has created, in my eyes, a beautifully contemplative, spiritual photograph. Perhaps we should all aspire to be surrounded by the same…for me, there is work to be done!

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