A very good afternoon to you all.
What a beautiful Alberta day. We couldn’t have had this event at a better time and we are so pleased that we could have a day like this to welcome you.
To begin with, I won’t go over how eloquently David expressed about being on Treaty 6 territory, but suffice it to say that I do acknowledge that we are on the Treaty 6 territory of the lands of the First Nation and Metis people.
As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in Alberta, it is my very great pleasure to welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to our province for this very special Inauguration Ceremony. I had the privilege of welcoming you on May 7, so that’s when we first met, with many of your wonderful colleagues.
I would also like to extend a sincere thank you to His Highness for sharing the amazing gift of this beautiful garden with all of Albertans and in fact Canada. I know that people from around the world are going to want to come see this.
This wonderful Aga Khan Garden is an expression of the concepts of peace and cultural understanding. What I love about the garden is that it allows us to experience peace and tolerance in a truly immersive way.
We may come from a wide range of cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds but when we experience the sights, the sounds and the harmony of nature, it reminds us of our common humanity. The fact that this new addition is a unique coming together of a traditional Islamic garden in Alberta’s northern climate is further reminder, as David said, that we can use our differences to create something beautiful and something lasting.
I trust that everyone who visits the Aga Khan Garden will come away with a deeper appreciation and a stronger understanding of all that we can achieve through peace and cooperation.
I know that visitors will be also inspired by this remarkable example that His Highness offers us all. He mentioned what he really wanted was for this to be a place of communication, and I think that’s a wonderful goal. The architect also expressed that the Aga Khan wanted it to be whimsical. Who doesn’t love those little animals all over? How special is that?
You have encouraged countless people throughout our province and around the world, to share their energy and compassion with people in need and to create welcoming and inclusive communities. Thank you very much. That’s the spirit of our new Aga Khan Garden, and we are so proud and honoured to have here it in Alberta.
Thank you as well to everyone at the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and members of the Alberta Ismaili community for your ongoing contributions to our province.
I’d also like to recognise Premier Notley for the important contributions that the Alberta Government has made to these botanical gardens.
Thank you to all of the staff, including Lee who gave me a wonderful tour of this garden about six weeks ago. Thank you as well to the many leaders, especially David Turpin, President of the University of Alberta.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this great project and enjoy this very special day of celebration.