AKM Toronto 4

There’s something inherently urban and urbane about museums, and that’s certainly the case in Toronto. The Royal Ontario Museum, with its stern, Romanesque revival mien juxtaposed with its new crystal addition, divides the red-brick varsity distinction of the University of Toronto on its west from the swish modern Bloor Street shopping strip to its the east. Meanwhile, the ever-evolving Art Gallery of Ontario reflects its place, all modern lines and glass facades designed by Frank Gehry sitting wedged between the up-and-coming Baldwin Village neighbourhood and the clattering bustle of Chinatown. Both those institutions — alongside smaller museums like the Bata Shoe Museum, Casa Loma, Design Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Museum of Inuit Art, et al — are thoroughly central downtown engagements. So in that way, already, the Aga Khan Museum — set to open on Sept. 18 as North America’s first monument to Islamic art, and founded by its namesake, the founder of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims — is an outsider.

Read More: The Aga Khan Museum: An Oasis on the Outskirts of Toronto

See also: Aga Khan Museum Enhances Islamic Values

and: The Aga Khan’s New Islamic Treasure Trove