Based on a successful pilot project launched in Calgary during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee in 2007, Generations Toronto is a unique community campus that will offer services to bring together and support its residents and neighbours. Its fundamental premise is to enhance the value and dignity of human life.
In addition to 390 units of rental housing and a 122-bed long-term care facility, the complex will include an early childhood development centre, medical clinic offering primary and mental health care services, and spaces for cultural, social, and educational programming. It will also feature a community kitchen to offer daily low-cost meals for residents and seniors living in the surrounding area.
President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, explained in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony that affordable housing and care for seniors are “two of the most pressing issues” in Canada.
“Generations Toronto is our contribution to support Canadians,” he said. “The concept is rooted in core principles of Islam: to take good care of those in need and ensure that no one is left behind.”
The project provides the Jamat with access to spaces that facilitate intergenerational interaction and allow individuals to age with dignity. It is made possible by contributions from the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto.
Mayor Tory referred to Generations as a model project. “It creates that certainty that everyone can have a place in the city of Toronto to live and a place to be cared for,” he said.
Today’s groundbreaking in Toronto culminates many years of planning, and could pave the way for similar projects in other parts of the country.
“We’ve broken ground on an incredible project that will be another great pride for this province and for the Ismaili community,” said Premier Ford in his remarks. “This facility will allow people of all different ages, both residents and visitors the opportunity to engage with each other throughout the day.”
“We’re so fortunate to have such a strong and growing Ismaili community to help us build Ontario,” added Premier Ford. “On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to thank you.”
This year marks 50 years since Ismailis established a significant presence in Canada, many of whom emigrated to the country seeking refuge from instability in other parts of the world, with very little to their names beyond a drive to succeed.
Now a community of many thousands, Canadian Ismailis have since made immeasurable contributions in the areas of civil society, the economy, philanthropy, and the arts.
The groundbreaking ceremony of Generations Toronto is one of many exciting events taking place across the country this week coinciding with the milestone celebrations.
On September 25, Prince Amyn attended the ceremonial renaming of Toronto’s Wynford Drive to Aga Khan Boulevard and accepted the Key to the City on behalf of Mawlana Hazar Imam; tomorrow, in Edmonton, the University of Alberta will inaugurate the Diwan Pavilion at the Aga Khan Garden; and on September 29, the Ismaili Imamat will sign an accord with the Province of British Columbia committing to continued development efforts locally and globally.