Canadian Ismaili Muslim Community puts its Ethics into Action with Ismaili CIVIC Day!

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Flashback to 2017 - Mississauga Volunteers getting ready for cleanup. Pic: Twitter

The Canadian Ismaili Muslim community is pleased to announce that the second annual Ismaili CIVIC Day – a day of active service by the entire Ismaili community to improve the quality of life in Canada, takes place on Sunday September 23rd.

Each year, on the fourth Sunday of September, Ismaili CIVIC Day kicks off a series of year-long volunteer events in which the Ismaili Community partners with community organizations, municipalities, and service groups to put its ethics into action.

During Canada’s 150th, the Canadian Ismaili Muslim Community’s gift to Canada was to pledge volunteer hours to improve quality of life in Canada. The ethic of volunteerism and giving back to improve the lives of others is an important value of Islam and over a 12-month period, the Ismaili Muslim community delivered over 1.5 million hours of community service for Canada. 45% of this total was contributed by the Ismaili Muslim community in Ontario. Examples of service included: sharing knowledge through mentorship, skills and employment support, assisting in the settlement of new Canadians, supporting local food banks and shelters, caring for the elderly, poverty alleviation, maintaining public spaces including parks and trails and so much more.

On September 23, 2018, Ismaili CIVIC Day, members of the Ismaili community in Ontario, their families and friends will join hands and participate in the following initiatives:

Clean-up of Northhampton Park in Brampton from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Clean-up of Dentonia Park from 12:00 am – 2:00 pm

Clean-up of Centennial Park in Etobicoke from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

• Community Garden SalsaFest 2018 in Guelph from 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm

Clean-up of 2 kilometres of Financial Drive in Mississauga from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Clean Up of Mississauga Valley Park from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Clean-up of Miller’s Creek Community Park, Ajax from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Clean-up of Parkway Forest Park in North York from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

• Volunteering and Walking at the “Aging Positively Walkathon” from 8:00am – 1:00 pm

• Serving Meals at Strachan House Shelter and Eva’s Place from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

The Ismaili community will continue to give back to Canada by holding more service events throughout the year.

In his historic address to the joint session of Parliament in Canada on February 27, 2014, His Highness the Aga Khan spoke about voluntary service in Canada: “I have been impressed by recent studies showing the activity of voluntary institutions and not-for-profit organizations in Canada to be among the highest in the world. This Canadian spirit resonates with a cherished principle in Shia Ismaili culture — the importance of contributing one’s individual energies on a voluntary basis to improving the lives of others.

Ismaili settlement in Canada

The first Ismailis arrived in Canada in the late 1950s as part of a professional pool that immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom and western European countries. A few Ismaili entrepreneurs also arrived at that time in search of economic opportunities. This steady growth continued until the early 1970s when political changes in many Asian and African countries led to the arrival of large numbers of Ismailis in Canada. The community went through another important growth phase when several Ismailis from Central Asia settled in Canada after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Today, approximately 100,000 Ismailis are settled throughout Canada, and occupy senior positions in the professions and in government, and many are successful business people. In Canada, Ismailis have become known for their strong principles of volunteerism and support for humanitarian causes.

The Canadian Ismaili Muslim Community is governed by volunteers under the aegis of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Canada, headquartered in Toronto. Local Ismaili Councils are based in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Over the last 35 years of Ismaili settlement in Canada, the community has sought to contribute to the fabric of Canadian society by involvement in many spheres of public life and through regional programs that demonstrate the ethic of volunteerism and compassion.

His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada

His Highness the Aga Khan has a long-standing relationship with Canada, dating back to the arrival of the first Ismailis in the 1950s and 1960s as part of a professional pool that immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom and western European countries. This steady growth continued until the early 1970s when political changes in many Asian and African countries led to the arrival of large numbers of Ismailis in Canada. Today, approximately 100,000 Ismailis of diverse origins are settled throughout Canada.

In Canada, institutions established by His Highness include the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (www.akfc.ca), an agency of the worldwide, non-denominational Aga Khan Development Network, as well as the award-winning Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa; the Global Centre for Pluralism (in partnership with the Government of Canada) (www.pluralism.ca); the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby; the Aga Khan Museum (www.agakhanmuseum.org), the Ismaili Centre, and Park in Toronto; the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta; and a forthcoming park in Burnaby. These institutions reflect the permanent presence and values of the Ismaili community in Canada, as well as the longstanding role of the Ismaili Imamat in creating opportunities for individuals and institutions to learn from one another and work together to improve the human condition. Canada was selected as the site of these institutions, many of them global in scope, in recognition of the values shared by Canadians and the Imamat, such as pluralism, meritocracy and democracy.