Mawlana Hazar Imam completed the first leg of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada, departing from Ottawa on 4 May after having completed several days of proceedings related to the work of the Aga Khan Development Network and Global Centre for Pluralism. On his departure, Hazar Imam expressed his appreciation for the work of the institutions and highlighted the importance of continuing to build strong institutions in Canada.

Later that day, Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Vancouver in preparation for his visits with the Western Canadian Jamats. He was received at the airport by British Columbia Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, along with leaders and representatives of the Jamat.

While in Vancouver, Mawlana Hazar Imam is expected to meet with the Jamat of British Columbia after which he will travel to Calgary to meet with the Jamats of Edmonton and the Prairies. 

Over the course of the previous few weeks, the Western Canadian Jamat was busy preparing and rejoicing in anticipation of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit, and his arrival was an occasion of great happiness and celebration.

Prior to this visit, Mawlana Hazar Imam was most recently in Vancouver in 2008, when he met with the Jamat of British Columbia during his Golden Jubilee Visit to Canada.

Vancouver holds a special place in the history of the Ismaili community in Canada. The Jamat in Vancouver is one of earliest and largest Ismaili communities to have settled in Canada. The establishment of the Ismaili Centre Burnaby in August 1985 was an early symbol of the Jamat’s permanent presence in the country.

In his speech given at the Opening Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre Burnaby, Mawlana Hazar Imam remarked, “In the future, I hope that the Ismaili community in Canada, having established the permanency of its home here, will become part of the reservoir of human talent on which this country can draw, both nationally and internationally. Its members will be men and women who believe in enterprise and freedom, who are inspired by this country's respect for the individual, who will work to build the strength of Canada's economy and democratic institutions. Their spirit will be Canadian.”

Today, decades later, the Jamat of British Columbia is now woven into the Canadian fabric.