With the start of Ramadan fast approaching, Fort Edmonton Park would like to welcome all our wonderful followers to visit and learn more about Islam and its history in Edmonton!
Many visitors will be aware that one of our historic gems is the original Al-Rashid Mosque, the first purpose-built mosque in Canada.
How can you connect with this amazing building?
Through Staff and Volunteers
Did you know that the Al Rashid Mosque was the first purpose built mosque in Canada? Or that when the building was moved to Fort Edmonton Park in 1989, the bricks and spires had to be removed and the entire structure travelled in the middle of the night to avoid traffic? These are only some of the tidbits that dedicated volunteer Richard Awid is excited to share with you upon your visit to his beloved building.
This is the fourth summer that Richard has dedicated a big part of his summer to bringing Muslim heritage to life at the park. He’s down three or four times a week to enhance visitor’s experience and ensure the mosque’s story is told. “I want people who are visiting the mosque to appreciate the role Muslims played in making Edmonton in particular, and Alberta and Canada, in general, the places they are today,” Richard glows when speaking about the Mosque.
As a retired teacher, Richard easily connects with visitors, especially school children. He’s made a point on numerous occasions to come down and greet special groups of Muslim children and arrange time for their prayers in the Mosque. He’s spent countless hours diligently researching and learning, including working on programs for the celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid. He has plans in the works to arrange a donation of a new Quran and is passionate about making connections with “Muslim pioneers” and the community at large.
“My goals are to see the Al Rashid Mosque become a much more visited destination¦I want to see many more Muslim’s come and visit Canada’s first mosque.”
On Saturdays, visit Owais Siddiqui, one of our other fabulous volunteers and hear how passionate this articulate young man is about sharing this part of Edmonton’s past with our visitors.
Help Richard and Owais in their quest: stop by and learn more about the Mosque!
Through Self-Guided Tours
Not sure how to start a conversation? Want to fit your park visit into a larger narrative? Pick up one of our Self-Guided Tour Pamphlets from the Train Station when you arrive. Each one will give you some information about a larger history, and then suggest buildings to visit and questions to ponder with our interpreters.
For Ramadan, try our Abrahamic Religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. You’ll be treated with various features and facts:
- How and why Missionaries first visited the Edmonton area.
- How Edmonton’s Jewish community creatively raised money for the Talmud Torah school.
- The story of three faiths helping in the founding of the Al-Rashid Mosque.
Or consider our Immigration History tour to explore:
- What Temporary Foreign Workers today have in common with the fur trade era.
- The prejudices African-American and Chinese immigrants faced in the 1905 St. period.
- How the Jewish, Ukrainian, Lebanese-Muslim and other communities preserved their traditions.
Through the Gift Shop
Our volunteer Richard Awid recently published Canada’s First Mosque – The Al Rashid dedicated to the Arab-Muslim pioneers who helped build Edmonton. This book retails for $19.95 and is chock-full of pictures and captivating stories of Edmonton’s early Muslim population and the story of their efforts to build a not-so-little mosque on the prairie!