The Spirit Lives On!

October 1979

Following a long tradition of Scouting within the Ismaili community in Africa and Asia, the 40th Edmonton Ismaili Scouts was established by Liakat Damji and Azim Vira. This was the first Aga Khan Scouts Group established in Canada. Liakat and Azim were recent immigrants from Kenya, with history as Scouts and were first year students at the University of Alberta.

Recruitment was initiated through jamatkhana announcements and word of mouth with parents. Within a short time, 22 Scouts enrolled with weekly Saturday meetings starting in November 1979 at Headquarters Jamatkhana on Coronet Road in Edmonton (inside the passage area and outside in the yard). 

Rafiq Raghavji, who also had a scouting background in Kenya, joined shortly thereafter as a Scout Leader in March 1980 and the three leaders were instrumental in establishing a comprehensive Scouting program. They were given support an encouragement from the Edmonton Ismaili Administrative Committee members Amin Allidina (Youth and Sports), Azim Jeraj (Special Projects), Nasir Peerani (Hon. Secretary) and Dr. Zahir Lakhani (Chairman).

Our first badge design.

December 1979 

Khushiali Dinner at Kinsmen Arena. Fund raising initiated with the sale of chocolates. The fund raising resulted in approximately $150, which were used to purchase books, badges and ropes. The Scouts started the time honored tradition of Jamati seva by assisting with Khushiali meals.

February 1980

Skatethon fund raiser organized at the Edmonton Velodrome in Argyle. This raised over $2,000 and the funds were used to purchase camping and obstacle course equipment. 

May 1980 

First camping trip held at the Half Moon Lake; just east of Edmonton

July 1980 Khushiali

First Scouts March past and flag raising ceremony established in co-ordination with the Edmonton Aga Khan band and Ismaili Volunteer Corps at the Ardrossan Sports Arena. scouts assisted with set up, meals serving and clean up.

August 1980

Campsite and obstacle course established at the "40th Edmonton Scouts campground" on Hakam Manji's acreage (and chicken farm) near Ardrossan.

 Eagles' Patrol in front of their tent.

Back: Riaz Hudda, (unidentified), Ali Kherani, Karim Kassam, Ismail Esmail
Middle: Karim Janmohamed
Front: Rizwan Suleman, Aleem Lalani, Alykhan Nanji

July 1981 

The 5th Canadian Jamboree was held in Kananaskis, Alberta. Karim Sayani and Aly Kherani were selected to represent the 40th Edmonton Aga Khan Scouts. They joined another scouts group from Edmonton and camped together Liakat Damji attended as a volunteer leader; and was part of the obstacle team set up and activities. 

July 1982 

Khushiali moved to Findery Hall in South Edmonton. Scouts continue with the tradition of set up, meals serving and clean up.


Imamat Day March Past at Findery Hall, 1981
Top: Liakat Damji and Rafiq Raghavji lead the troops.
Bottom: Ali Kherani and Karim Sayani lead their patrols.

April 1983 

Silver Jubilee Darbar. Mowlana Hazar Imam, Begum Salimah and Prince Amyn visit to Edmonton. Scout Leaders (Liakat, Azim, Rafiq) provide guard of honor salute at the International Airport. Scouts Group continues with the tradition of supporting set up, meals serving and clean up for the Silver Jubilee Darbar. Scouts group also assigned responsibility for managing storage of men's shoes.

July 1983

15th Worlds Scouts Jamboree held in Kananaskis, Alberta. Attended by over 18,000 scouts (and leaders) from 105 countries. Motto: 5 fingers one hand; opening ceremony had the 18,000+ participants in the shape of a hand.

Liakat Damji appointed as quarter master for one quarter of the camp. With a team of 8 volunteer leaders from different parts of the world and with the assistance of the Canadian Military, as quarter master, responsible for the distribution of daily rations for 4500 scouts and leaders.

Seven scouts attended (Karim Sayani, Ismail Esmail, Karim Kassam, Salim Remtulla, Amyn Valji, Alykhan Nanji, Altaf Remtullah) with Azim Vira and Rafiq Raghavji as leaders.

A WJ 83 Pre-Camp held at Hakam Manji's farm
Back: Rafiq Raghavji, Karim Kassam, Karim Sayani, Azim Lalani, Amyn Valji, Alykhan Nanji>
Front: Altaf Remtulla, Ismail Esmail, Salim Remtulla


 WJ '83 gateway

40th Edmonton Gateway at the World Jamboree in Kananaskis
Back row: Liaqat Damji, Ismail Esmail, Riaz Hudda, Karim Kassam, Karim Sayani, Altaf Remtulla, Azim Lalani, Azim Vira, Amyn Valji, Rafiq Raghavji
Front row: Aleem Lalani, Aleem Kherani, Alykhan Nanji, Salim Remtulla

We learned how to build this gateway from Leakey (Liakat) who learned it from his Scouting days in Nairobi, Kenya.

 Leakey in 1977

1977 Kenya Patrol competition for senior and junior scouts. Aga Khan Scouts Nairobi won both categories. Leakey (senior scouts patrol leader) - first chair on left . Gaffar (3rd chair on left) was scouts leader ; taught us how to build the HP gate.

February 1984

Winter camping introduced at "40th Edmonton Scouts campground" on Hakam Manji acreage. Overnight temperatures of minus 20C. Great Canadian winter experience.

May 1984

Liakat Damji retires as scout leader. Azim Vira and Rafik Raghavji carry on as leaders and continue grooming the next generation of leaders.

July 1985 

6th Canadian Jamboree held at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area in Ontario. 8 scouts attended with Azim Vira and Rafik Raghavji as leaders.

July 1989

12 Scouts, 4 leaders, and 2 staff volunteers participate in the 7th Canadian Jamboree on Prince Edward Island.

July 1993

16 Scouts, 4 leaders and 2 staff volunteers participate in the 8th Canadian Jamboree in Kananaskis Country.

July 2001

14 Scouts, 4 leaders and 2 staff volunteers participate in the 10th Canadian Jamboree on Prince Edward Island.

July 2013

12 Scouts, 4 leaders, and 4 staff volunteers participate in the 12th Canadian Jamboree at Sylvan Lake, Alberta.

July 2017 

10 Scouts and 4 leaders attended the 13th Canadian Jamboree at Camp Nedooae, Nova Scotia.

October 2019

40 years of the Fabulous 40th!

... more to come ...

Since 1979, the 40th Edmonton has been a great place for youth to learn new skills, meet friends, and develop character. It all started here!

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