The Toronto Public Library (TPL) will lose funding from Sun Life Financial for a program that offers free passes to attractions like the Royal Ontario Museum and Ontario Science Centre.
Sun Life Financial contributed almost $200,000 a year to the Museum and Arts Pass (MAP). The pass, which has been available for 10 years, offered low-income families free access to different cultural venues for up to two adults and five kids.
Current holders of an adult Toronto public library card can borrow a limited number of passes. One pass is allowed per person each week. Each venue’s pass is valid for a one-time visit within a three-month period.
According to Paul Joliat, Sun Life Financial’s assistant vice-president of philanthropy and sponsorship, Sun Life chose to discontinue funding for MAP because the program didn’t line up with the company’s reassessed priorities.
“We are proud to have supported the Museum and Arts Pass program for the past ten years,” Sun Life said in a statement to the Ryersonian. “While our current agreement ends Dec. 31, 2017, we have provided the library with one additional year of support through 2018 in order to provide time for them to secure a new sponsor to this worthwhile initiative.”
After the program’s pilot year in 2007 ran through only 24 branches, the passes are now available to about 1.5 million people across Toronto’s 100 public libraries.