I was fortunate enough to view the collection before the museum was open to the public and I must say I walked away impressed.
One of the first things I notice is how “open” the space of the halls are. It seem the design of the building carries the idea of sacred space and uniformity in its construction. For example in the middle of the main corridor stands a wonderful roofless hall with marble tiling enclosed with glass walls. One could just imagine the type of gathering you could have such as reading groups or sharing dialogue and discourse with others. On the other side on the west wing stood the private collection of the Aga khan. I was told that this was a pure replica of his actual room with carpeted flooring surrounded by beautiful shelfs of what seems to be handcrafted wood. There was also the concert Hall however It was unfortunately closed so I missed out on how it looked and sounded.
On to the actual collection. Without spoiling the treasures within I will say that if you’re a fan of persian miniatures and manuscripts you will absolutely fall in love with what they had on display. In total the entire collection consists of 1000 pieces of which 200 are shown at a time, the rest rotated every 3 months.The timeline spans almost 900 years from the Persians to the Ottoman empire. I was impressed, my favorites were the many different scripts displayed from pages of old Qurans. I was also taken back by a traditional islamic fountain perfectly intact. a must see. the second floor consisted of a showcase of artists from Pakistan, which I found to be a little underwhelming compared to what I seen prior. But thats just me.
On to the Garden, Before opening one of the most talked about features of the museum was the construction of an authentic islamic garden, It was beautiful a mix of past and present, However I was a little let down, I found it to lean more on the post modern then let’s say Andalusian side. Overall, it is a site to behold. It mixes quite well with the surrounding of the Don Valley Parkway.
So my conclusion go see it now, you wont be dissapointed.
77 Wynford Drive