A Special Welcome for New Canadians: The Cultural Access Pass

Written by Kristine Leger, staff member, Halifax Central Library

What is the Cultural Access Pass?

The Cultural Access Pass (CAP)opens a new window program is open to all new citizens of Canada within 1 year of your citizenship ceremony. The program provides new Canadians with a pass that allows free access to hundreds of historic sites, museums, galleries, and parks across Canada. Pass holders also receive special travel discounts, including 50% off VIA rail travel. The program is administered by the charitable Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC); they note that this program is “the only one of its kind in the world”.

Halifax Public Libraries has been proud to be a pickup location for the Cultural Access Pass program since January 2017. It’s a partnership that makes sense; libraries are often a first stop for newcomers.  We love being the face of this very special “welcome to Canada” gift.

How does it work?

To receive the CAP you must complete an online registration through the ICC website. A registration number will be emailed to you. With this number, a piece of photo identification, and a Canadian citizenship certificate dated from sometime in the last 365 days, you can visit any pickup location to get your CAP card.

The people working at the pickup location will verify your documents, log in to the CAP system, and print off a CAP card. It only takes about five minutes.

All branches of Halifax Public Libraries are pickup locations for this program; to find other pickup spots across Canada visit the ICC map.

Things to note

  • Our Libraries have public computers and friendly staff ready to assist with the online registration.
  • Children under the age of 18 are not eligible for their own CAP, but CAP members can bring up to four children ages 17 and under with them when visiting CAP attractions.
  • The CAP is valid for one year after it has been issued, so keep that end date in mind when making plans to travel and visit the member sites.

Start exploring

Congratulations! You’ve picked up your new Cultural Access Pass. Now you have 1 year to take in some amazing Canadian cultural treasures. You don’t have to travel far to find them; the maritime provinces are packed with places you can visit.

In Halifax alone, you’ll be able to visit the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Pier 21,the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax Citadel Historic Site, the Museum of Natural History, and much more.

To browse participating locations elsewhere in Canada, including many national and provincial parks, visit ICC’s searchable map here.

And one last thing…if you’re visiting the Library to pick up your CAP that might also be the perfect time to sign up for a library card which will bring you a whole lifetime of free cultural benefits.

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