A unique new program that allows immigrants free access to Canadian culture is dramatically increasing in popularity across the country.
The CAP program – so dubbed because it provides a “cultural access pass” to members, is managed by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and has been enjoyed by approximately 33,200 newcomers since its inception three years ago.
The CAP program has over 600 participant museums, galleries, parks and discovery centres across five provinces and one territory. New arrivals are informed of the program during each annual citizenship ceremony held across the country. Passes are given out for free.
“We hear from new citizens they may be Canadians on paper, but they don’t necessarily feel like they belong,” said Gillian Hewett Smith, executive director of the institute. “The more new citizens sign up, the more new citizens feel these institutions belong to them and there’s more of an audience that we’re bringing to Canada’s cultural institutions.”
Officials from the cultural attractions involved in the program say that it is not just a one-directional transference of Canadian culture to immigrants.
“One of the things that I think is really important is that the new cultures will bring their stories to this fabric of Canada,” said Calgary Art Gallery chief curator Anne Ewen.
The participants in the program bring their own cultures and unique perspectives with them, which allows for a place where cultural exchanges can be fostered and encouraged.
Source: Globe and Mail