Turkish Canadian Society (TCS), owner of the old Canora School building, is getting ready to break ground for a religious assembly building on the northwest corner of their property located at 15450 105 Avenue this spring. Established in 1976, Turkish Canadian Society is the oldest and largest community organization serving the Turkish Canadian community in Edmonton. TCS purchased the surplus school site from EPSB in 2002. After a few dormant years, the location has been quite active in recent years. The existing site is currently host to the Whitehall Daycare in addition the Sil Lum Kung Fu, and is bustling with activities organized by the Turkish Canadian Society.
Design and development work for the planned mosque started about three years ago. TCS was able to secure a development permit in 2018. Once initial conditions in the development permit were met, the City of Edmonton issued the building permit for the project in January 2020. TCS has established a special website to provide information about the project: www.turcanora.ca
In preparation of the construction and the day-to-day operations of the future mosque, a separate, independent non-profit organization has been established under the name of Blue Mosque Foundation – Diyanet Edmonton (BMF). BMF will be in charge of all the fundraising and will oversee the construction process. TCS President Ahmet Topal said that they have chosen the name “Blue Mosque” for the project partly to honour the famous Blue Mosque situated across from the Hagia Sophia, a popular tourist destination in Istanbul, in addition to the beautiful blue dome planned inside the building.
The mosque’s name is not the only interesting detail about the planned project. Suat Demirer, the project consultant who lead the project design team, stated that he was inspired by the common story of Genesis in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In all three major religions, the holy books talk about how God created the universe in six days (and rested on the 7th day). Considering we are also on Treaty 6 land here in Edmonton, Mr. Demirer hid several combination of sixes in his design – 198 of them to be exact. Once construction is complete, TCS and BMF officials hope that the Blue Mosque will be a place to build empathy and understanding between people from all religions. They are even planning a special prize, a trip to Turkey, to the first person who can identify all 198 combination of sixes. TCS President Ahmet Topal urges all community members to follow the progress of the project at www.turcanora.ca, provide feedback, and, of course, if they can afford to do so, to donate to the project.
Sim Senol is the Treasurer/External Relations Coordinator with TCS.