Guest post by Jess Duerden, Institute for Canadian Citizenship
Every year since 1977, International Museum Day is held worldwide sometime around May 18. It’s a time to recognize museums’ positive influence on society, and this year, more than 30,000 museums are getting ready to celebrate.
It’s the perfect occasion to reflect on efforts of the ROM and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to collaboratively welcome Canada’s newest citizens by inviting them to explore the best in Canadian culture through the Cultural Access Pass program.
For many of us born in Canada, experiencing Canadian culture is a routine part of our lives – from visiting museums on class trips, to attending live performances and festivals with our families. Participating in, and appreciating, all forms of arts and culture is a way for us to connect with our community and our country.
Feeling connected and a sense of belonging is paramount for Canada’s newest citizens; after all, it takes courage to start fresh in a new country. What better way to instill this sense of belonging than offering our country’s newest citizens an opportunity to experience Canadian culture for free?
Launched in 2008, the Cultural Access Pass is a gift to Canada’s newest citizens and their children. CAP opens doors by offering a year of free access to almost 1,200 Canadian attractions from museums, galleries and historic sites to national and provincial parks.
“The CAP Program introduces you to all things Canadian from an artistic point of view. You cannot get that hands-on experience in any book,” Cuthbert, CAP Member.
CAP is in a league of its own. There isn’t another program in the world like it! Not only does it introduce new citizens to a variety of Canadian experiences, but it helps cultural attractions build future audiences, ambassadors and potential donors.
The ROM is one of CAP’s founding partners welcoming close to 10,000 new citizen CAP members. Its world cultures mandate provides a natural place for Canadians from all backgrounds to celebrate and learn about their own as well as other cultures.
The ROM values the relationship its cultivating with CAP members so highly that last October it introduced a special membership level to continue to engage CAP members whose passes have expired. The New Canadians Membership has exciting benefits including admission and member ticketing, discounted rates on ROM retail, lectures and programming, selected preview invitations and much more. This the ROM’s way of saying it wants to do more to make new citizens feel valued in the community.
Thank you so much, it’s a valuable gift. I'm proud of being Canadian and I found part of me in ROM," Ahssan, CAP Member
With the support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CAP is introduced to every new Canadian citizen at their citizenship ceremony (approximately 170,000 people each year), and to date, more than 60,000 new citizens have participated in the program. More CAP details can be found by visiting culturalaccesspass.ca.
How it works:
- A new citizen becomes eligible for a Cultural Access Pass the day he/she receives his/her Canadian citizenship. The pass is valid for one year from that date, expiring on the first anniversary of a member’s date of citizenship (not the date of registration).
- New citizens must be 18 years of age or older to participate, but each member can use their pass with up to four minor dependent children (under 18 years of age).
- Eligible, new citizens register for a Cultural Access Pass online (culturalaccesspass.ca).
- Once the online portion is complete, a new citizen visits any designated pickup location (full list available online) with the required documents to have their pass printed. Fortunately, many CAP pickup locations are attractions, allowing new members to use their pass as soon as it’s printed.