Photo of the Day: Tree #049 at Aga Khan Park is Quite Special for a Special Reason!

Flags at Aga Khan Park, by Wynford Drive. From nearest — The Maple Leaf of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and the Ismaili Flag. April 7, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

By MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor  SimergphotosBarakah and Simerg

I begin with the flags because I love my Ismaili Muslim community into which I was born, I love the city of Toronto where I spend much of my time, I love the Province of Ontario, which has been my home since 1984 (Ottawa before Toronto), and I love Canada where I have lived since late December 1980, Philadelphia aside in 1995-96. The Ismaili community is what it is because of its benevolent leader, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Imam whose leadership has kept the community strong and united for 63 years. It is his vision that led to the creation of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Park — and indeed other incredible projects and programs around the world such as the Al-Azhar Park, the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia, to name a few.

One day, when you are a passenger in a car going northbound on the Don Valley Parkway, and it is night time and the Ismaili Jamatkhana dome is lit, do look and reflect on it, and read about the Imam’s vision for it. For me, it also represents Mawlana Hazar Imam’s incredible aspirations and hopes for his spiritual children as well as his commitment to the countries where they reside. I would urge you to make regular visits to his projects, and enjoy the spaces that he has built.

Canada’s greatness is exemplified by its good, humble, generous and open-minded people.

Now to the story of “my special tree” at the Aga Khan Park, tree #049.

Magnolia trees 048, 049, 050 at Aga Khan Park, Simergphotos, Malik Merchant
A view from the Ismaili Centre courtyard of magnolia trees #048 (left), #049 and #050. Magnolia trees, compared to other trees at the Aga Khan Park are blooming rapidly. Trees #049 (centre) and #050 (right) share a large bed space with shrubs in between. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphoto

I am sure there is an interesting reason and meaning as to why Aga Khan Park’s tree #049, behind the Ismaili Centre, is planted where it is. The bed area of the #049 is shared with tree #050, and between the two trees there are lovely shrubs. Being a magnolia, like trees #048 and #050 on either side of it and other magnolia trees behind the Aga Khan Museum, the buds in #049 have blossomed into beautiful flowers. I think almost 65% of the tree is in full bloom. The magnolia tree is very versatile and can grow in most parts of North America. If you are in Ontario, you can also grow it in your garden.

I counted more than 50 trees behind the Ismaili Centre and the majority of them were in the budding stage as of April 11, 2021. Many other trees in the park have caption plates at the base of the tree inscribed with the name of the tree. But not #049 and other identical trees alongside it. I asked a knowledgeable member who services the projects, and he kindly told me #049 is a magnolia as are trees #048 and #050.

Aga Khan Park trees near tree 49. Simergphotos.
Trees in the vicinity of tree #49 are expected to bloom with leaves in the coming weeks. Rows of trees closest to the Ismaili Jamatkhana dome will be transformed to magnificent reds during the autumn foliage season. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Being a regular visitor to the Park, I can say that trees #048 – #050 get more direct sunlight than other trees in the area. And we all know that the right amount of sunlight is an important requirement in the flowering of plants and trees.

On Saturday April 10, a mother (Mary) and her daughter (Farah) came by see the impressive magnolia trees #048-050, and requested me to take their photo in front of #049. I happily obliged and I am glad they agreed to have their picture posted in this piece.

Trees 049, 050 and 051 at Aga Khan Park, S
Magnolia Trees #049 and #050 share same bed space. Tree #051, right, still has the plastic bag blown onto it by strong breeze hanging from it. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphoto

Regular readers will recollect that #049 and #051 had plastic bags hanging from them two weeks ago, and that the iron fencing dividing the Aga Khan Park from Eglington Avenue was littered with plenty of garbage, including plastic bags. Thankfully, the fencing area has been cleaned up since then. A few days ago, during the week of April 5, a gardening crew was present and happily removed the plastic bag from #049. The plastic bag on #051 remains where it is — it is much higher up — and will need a long stick to pull it out.

Aga Khan Park’s Tree #49: From Buds to Flowers in Thirty Days

Aga Khan Park Tree 49 Simerg
Tree #049 at Aga Khan Park showing flower buds in a photo taken on March 13, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simerg.

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Tree 49 at Aga Khan Park simergphotos
A view of the dome of the Ismaili Jamatkhana through tree #049 of the Aga Khan Park. April 7, 2021 Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Tree 49 Aga Khan Park spring 2021 Simergphotos
Farah pictured with her mother Mary at the Aga Khan Park in front of tree #049, on Saturday April 10, 2021. As viewers will note the bed area that the tree shares with tree #50 at behind it is quite large. Small shrubs divide the two magnolia trees. Also, the tree will soon reach peak bloom. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Trees 049 and 050 at Aga Khan Park, simergphotos Malik merchant
Trees #050, nearest, and #049 share a large bed with shrubs dividing the two trees. They are magnolia trees and have bloomed rapidly in the last 3 weeks. The Ismaili Centre is at left and the Ismaili Jamatkhana dome behind the two beautiful trees The branches crossing tree #050 are from tree #051, which is yet to bloom. It is not a magnolia. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphoto
Tree 49 at Aga Khan Park Simergphotos Malik Merchant
Rain on Sunday April 11, 2021 provides an opportunity to take a photo of beautiful water droplets forming on Aga Khan Park’s beautiful tree #049. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Now that I have shared my photos of tree #049 and other magnolia trees behind the Ismaili Centre and the Jamatkhana dome, can the wise person(s) who decided to place it at its location, explain how the trees got numbered. A perspective will provide a history of the trees at Aga Khan Park, as the park is likely to be around for several generations.

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Last Word: Will You Make Us “Photo of the Day” When We Bloom?

Front entrance Ismaili Centre Toronto, 49 Wynford Drive, Simergphotos, malik merchant photo of the day
A prospective Photo of the Day candidate by Wynford Drive, with the front of the Ismaili centre behind it. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphoto.

Date posted: April 12, 2021.

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