The idea that became the Cultural Access Program was hatched by Mary Cone Barrie, the former director of the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies four years ago. Her idea was simple, she wanted to connect new Canadians with their country through art. With the help of Susan Bloch-Nevitte, then executive director of public affairs for the Art Gallery of Ontario, Barrie’s idea became reality in 2007.
At first the program was just the AGO, who offered new Canadians and their families a free one year membership. In 2008, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (created by Adrienne Clarkson in 2005) became involved, extending the program right across Canada. Today 157 cultural institutions, including KW|AG, offer free one year memberships to new citizens. The ICC reports that over 12,000 people each year take advantage of the pass.
In addition to KW|AG, new Canadians participating in the Cultural Access Pass program in Waterloo Region can discover the Cambridge Galleries , Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Guelph Civic Museum, Homer Watson House & Gallery, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, McCrae House, The Museum and the Wellington County Museum & Archives.
For more information and how to get started please visit the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s info page here> New citizens can register themselves and their families online at no cost, and pick up the pass at KW|AG (or at one of the other area designated sites). Passes are valid one year from the date of swearing in.