September 18, 2014: Opening Day of the Majestic new Aga Khan Museum


Editor, Simerg and Simergphotos


Tanzanian Altaf Hirani (centre) with friends

I was hoping to be at the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto well before it opened to the public for the first time at 10:00 am. I wanted to capture the historical moment when the first person made the entry through the museum doors. Alas, I could not catch that historical moment. The extremely slow pace of the 401 Eastbound traffic from Kitchener delayed me about 40 minutes. Once on site, parking was easy. I had anticipated a hold-up at the entrances to both the parking lot and the main museum. Well, I realized it was a working day; so what if I happened to be on vacation – not everybody else was! Schools and work do matter after all. It was a good strategic decision to open the museum on a weekday. As Henry Kim, the CEO of the museum observed when I met him at the museum restaurant, “It has been a steady day, which has allowed us to prepare for the rush that will take place over the weekend.”


Ticket line, 10:45 am


There were some delays in the ticket line during the initial 60 to 90 minutes. The staff at the ticket counter ironed out some issues. There was a long waiting time for guided tours. One person who arrived just before 11:00 was advised to return later at around 2 pm for the tour. There was a very good mixture of ethnic and mainstream Canadians during the morning session. This was extremely encouraging and some people I spoke to understood the goals of the museum extremely well – this was evident in the manner they articulated themselves. They were particularly appreciative of His Highness the Aga Khan for conceiving and building this monumental building. As the day progressed, more and more people flowed into the museum – Tanzanians, Portuguese, Americans and British. as well as  Canadians. There were large groups from the USA. The gift shop became busier too. Thrilled, excited and proud were words that people uttered when asked to reflect on the building and its exhibits. The photos in this post encapsulate the Aga Khan Museum’s first day.


Arif Khalid with his son Jassim


Another infant – a future patron!





Museum restaurant and its cheerful staff


Henry Kim, Aga Khan Museum’s CEO, far right, in the museum restaurant. 


A cheerful group from the USA


One more time – the Park and the Ismaili Centre dome in the background


Proud Canadian Ismailis from Calgary and Toronto

IMG_0027sA happy group from USA

IMG_0041sMuseum volunteer




IMG_0031sMarvellous art work by a Pakistani artist

IMG_0034sVisitors at the permanent exhibition hall

IMG_0040sA group of individuals fully supportive of His Highness the Aga Khan’s mission





Visitors being briefed about  objects of art in this panel displayIMG_0042sA section of permanent exhibition viewed from the upper gallery floor


Portuguese and Canadian visitors – Fateh Ghulamhussein (3rd from left) and Didar Kassam (far right) with spouses and friends

IMG_0021sThe crowd at the Museum gift shop

IMG_0037sWow! – in the permanent gallery

IMG_0054sMr. Sherali Maherali – spent 4 hours in the museum and learnt a lot! Now a piece of the Park and behind it, the  Ismaili Centre!

Photos: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright. (Reproduction permitted with credit to Simerg).

Date posted: Friday, September 19, 2014.


Profile of Malik Merchant at Contributors.

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