Friday, June 23, 2017


"What a wonderful, liberating thing it would be if more of us, more of the time, could see diversity not as a burden, but as a blessing, not as a threat, but as an opportunity." ~ The Aga Khan

The above quote can be found in this building. This is the headquarters for the Global Centre For Pluralism, a new initiative in partnership between the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada. The Centre is a think tank dedicated to the challenges of diverse societies, education, and dialogue, causes that are central to the Aga Khan's philanthropic work. It is housed in a building along Sussex Drive, between the National Gallery and the Royal Canadian Mint, and was just opened officially in May. This building was designed by architect David Ewart in the Gothic style and finished by 1906- Ewart's other work includes the Mint, the Museum of Nature, and the Connaught Building, which I'll be showing you later in the Doors Open series. It housed the Dominion Archives for the first decades of its existence, and then the Canadian War Museum, until the latter outgrew the space and moved to its current location. The interior of the building was transformed in a way that still respects the heritage of the structure, and lets in a good deal of light. The Centre makes use of part of the building, while the rest is used by the Mint. Flower beds are to be found in the front courtyard, and the building was a new destination for Doors Open.

One of the window spaces here is rather unique, spanning the full height of the building. It is angled to suggest a door opening, and looks out onto the Ottawa River. Copper is inlaid into the glass in a pattern  that is inspired by the trefoil that can be found in the architecture of the building. It is similarly reflected in the white oak paneling of this room, called the Dialogue Room, used for lectures or public events.

This is a view from the lobby.

And a view looking out onto the Ottawa River, with the Alexandra Bridge and Gatineau beyond.

The walls in one of the rooms had period photos of the building back in its day as the War Museum.

I liked this view from one of the windows, repeating the river view, but also incorporating the copper window pane, now separate from this window angle and more fully expressing the suggestion of an opening door. It's a beautiful building, and a fresh new use for it. It left me impressed. Tomorrow I'll show you another location nearby that is also home to the Aga Khan's work.


  1. I can see why you're impressed. It looks like a wonderful space pursuing admirable goals.

  2. The Aga Khan is very wise!
    It's a great looking building and it's nice that it's being put to good use!
    Great post William.

  3. So interesting to see inside all these places. Wise words above the door there!

  4. Impressive building. Love the outside view. Have a beautiful day!

  5. neat covering over the windows and those chandeliers ... so awesome!! love the details!! ( ;

  6. Hello, it is an impressive building. I like the view of the river too. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  7. @Kay: it is a wonderful use for the building.

    @Linda: thank you.

    @Pat: he is indeed.

    @Halcyon: it felt appropriate to include the quote.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Nancy: thanks!

    @Marleen: I agree.

    @Beth: I do too.

    @Eileen: thank you.

  8. It is a marvelous building William, they knew what they were doing back then. Love the black and white photos, not much has changed!

  9. Could you send us the Aga Khan? Our Mr. Stupid President seems to think that pluralism is a bad thing but he doesn't know pluralism from pleurisy. This is a new building? It is gorgeous from the ground up. Love all those windows and the view. Thanks for the tour...your photos are excellent!

    1. Yes, our President is really that stupid. He's an embarrassment to all but those as dumb as he is!

  10. Very interest shots of this building. You did it well.
    Hello there---my computer has been down for a few days but somehow I managed to find other ways to climb aboard.

  11. Beautiful. The facade of the building is especially nice.

  12. @Sussi: it is!

    @Grace: it was well built.

    @Lowell: well the interior's new. It's an interesting conversion from what it was.

    @Tom: it is indeed.

    @MB: thank you!

    @Maywyn: I agree.

  13. We could use a place like this down here. I love Lowell's comment and I totally agree.

  14. I've yet to go to the Aga Khan's museum here but have heard wonderful reviews of its architecture & displays.

  15. We need lots more education when it comes to diversity.

  16. I like the quote. And last shot is my favourite.

  17. The copper windows gave me a slight eye ache looking at all the circles, William. River views are always a favorite of mine as our apt overlooks one.

  18. A grand building. I like those b&w pictures, very nice. Nice photos William, thanks for sharing.

  19. @Sharon: it is wise words in these times.

    @RedPat: I'd love to see that museum sometime.

    @Red: we certainly do.

    @Klara: thank you!

    @Beatrice: I can see them having that effect. I was mesmerized by the design.

    @Bill: you're welcome!

  20. It does look a very grand building ...

    All the best Jan

  21. You do so well as a travel guide!

  22. @Janis: it is quite fitting.

    @Revrunner: me too.

    @Jan: it is!

    @Mari: indeed!

    @Jennifer: I like doing so.