In the 1930’s, Canada’s Muslim population was fewer than 1,000, but it was quickly growing. After meeting in homes to practice their religion, a group of Muslims in Edmonton decided to build a mosque to support the growing community in that city. At that time Edmonton’s Muslim population sat around 100 or 200.

The Al Rashid Mosque opened in Edmonton in December 1938 and its presence drew many Muslim families to the city. In 1946 the mosque moved to a new location to allow the neighbouring Victoria High School to expand.

As the Muslim community continued to grow in Edmonton, by the 1980s the mosque was becoming crowded. A brand-new facility was built and the old mosque was left empty.

The Muslim community rallied to save the landmark, led by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. The group lobbied Edmonton city council and in 1992 the mosque reopened its doors as an historical building in Fort Edmonton Park.

Historian Richard Awid, whose father was one of the mosque’s founding members, says the Al-Rashid served as a foundation for the growth of mosques across Canada.