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Explore Canadian Culture with Free Summer Activities

Summer is the perfect time to explore this beautiful country we call home. If you’re like me, you want to cut costs where you can. As a new Canadian looking for free summer activities, you need to know about two resources. These two allow you free access to museums, science centres, art galleries, parks, and historic sites across the Lower Mainland and Canada.

Canoo – the must-use app for new Canadians

Canoo (formerly, the Cultural Access Pass program) is a mobile app that helps new Canadian citizens celebrate their citizenship. The app offers free admission for every new citizen and up to four children, every time they visit an approved location during the first year of citizenship. Any Canadian who received their citizenship within the last 12 months (365 days) and is 18 years old or older can sign up. To learn more about Canoo, go to https://www.inclusion.ca/ If you are interested, you can download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Canoo mobile app

This app allows you free access to some pretty spectacular tourist attractions in BC. A few examples include:

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art – The Bill Reid Gallery was named after the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998) who was a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster and spokesman. The Gallery is home to the Simon Fraser University Bill Reid Collection and special exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous Art of the Northwest Coast of North America.

Burnaby Art Gallery – The Burnaby Art Gallery began as an association in 1967 collecting and presenting contemporary art.

Craigdarroch Castle – Industrialist Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal, built this castle overlooking the City of Victoria between 1887 and 1890.

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – The Squamish and Lil’wat Nations built the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to house and showcase both their unique nations’ art, history and culture. The Centre’s purpose is to share our cultural knowledge and inspire understanding and respect amongst all people.

Explore your city through your local library

The Vancouver Public Library’s Vancouver Inspiration Pass is a free cultural and recreational pass program that allows individuals, families and teens to explore their city like never before. It is free for Vancouver residents aged 14 years and older, and is valid for a period of two weeks. You can borrow this pass through any Vancouver Public Library location.

Vancouver inspiration pass

Thanks to the program’s 27 partner venues, Vancouver residents can use their free library card to check out the best that their city can offer. That includes: popular attractions, museums, heritage sites, fitness facilities, world-class gardens and cultural performances. A few highlights:

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – This garden is the first Chinese Garden built outside of China. In 2011, National Geographic named the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden World’s Best City Garden.

Maplewood Farm – a fun and educational place to visit for the whole family. Developed historically from its early days as a thriving dairy, today the farm has been preserved offering a truly rural experience, among city limits, with a wonderful collection of over 200 domestic and friendly farm animals and birds.

Museum of Vancouver – Canada’s premier civic history museum. Permanent galleries, exhibitions, events, French and English educational programs.

Vancouver Art Gallery – Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions. The Gallery’s innovative ground-breaking exhibitions, extensive public programs and emphasis on advancing scholarship all focus on the historical and contemporary art of British Columbia and international centres. Special attention goes to the accomplishments of First Nations artists and the art of the Asia Pacific region­—through the Institute of Asian Art founded in 2014.

Please get out there and explore this wonderful country of ours, and share this information with everyone! There’s no better way to get to know your new country than to get out and see it for yourself. Happy summer!