Toronto, June 27, 2007 - Mayor David Miller, Josephine Bryant, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library, Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), and representatives from some of Toronto's leading arts and cultural institutions today announced a new partnership designed to significantly expand Torontonians' access to some of the city's greatest arts and cultural institutions.

Beginning Tuesday July 3, the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass can be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library using a valid library card, much the way someone might borrow a book or a CD from the collection. The pass provides full admission to a family of up to two adults and five children (admission restrictions vary by venue) to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), the Bata Shoe Museum, the Gardiner Museum, theRoyal Ontario Museum (ROM) andthe Textile Museum of Canada. The mayor also announced that the City of Toronto's Historic Museums are slated to join the program over the summer.

"I congratulate Toronto Public Library for initiating the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass, and applaud the library and its partner cultural institutions for this important and innovative program to broaden Torontonian's access to the City's cultural life – and in particular, those neighbourhoods and communities where access to arts and culture may be more limited," said Mayor David Miller. "This is a program that our city can be proud of, and I look forward to other arts and culture organizations and attractions coming on board."

Family museum passes are initially available for borrowing from each of the 24 branches of the Library that serve Toronto's 13 priority neighbourhoods as identified by the City.  Families can choose from one of the museums and galleries participating in the program for their visit. 

"One of the library's key strategic goals is to extend Torontonians' access to the civic and cultural life of the city. So naturally we are thrilled that, together with our partners, we are able to offer our users new ways to discover the world of science, the arts, history, cultural, and so much more. It's wonderful that, with their library card, Torontonians can explore some of the best arts and culture that Toronto has to offer," said Josephine Bryant, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library. "We thank the Art Gallery of Ontario, Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Textile Museum of Canada and the City of Toronto for their enthusiasm and commitment to this program."

Speaking on behalf of all of the participating cultural institutions, Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario, spoke highly of the initiative and its impact on the residents of Toronto. ""Through this partnership, we are a powerful force for change.  Together we're seizing a terrific opportunity to break down barriers to the arts.  Together we're creating truly accessible public institutions, engaging new audiences in meaningful ways and enhancing our own institutions through their active involvement with us.  It's a wonderful day."

In addition to the museums' contribution, Sun Life Financial has generously added its support through sponsorship of the program, continuing its long-standing commitment to making the arts accessible to all.

"Sun Life Financial is pleased to work with the Toronto Public Library and some outstanding arts and cultural organizations in the city to help make the rich experiences they offer available to a wider audience," said Donald A. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial. "The library's concept of the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass is an excellent match with the goals of our Making the Arts More Accessible Program."

The City of Toronto Historical Museums, operated by Toronto Culture, that have announced their involvement in the program are: Colborne Lodge in High Park, the Fort York National Historic Site, GibsonHouseMuseum, Mackenzie House, Montgomery's Inn, Scarborough HistoricalMuseum, Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens and the Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre.

The Toronto Public Library plans to include additional museums, galleries and cultural venues, and also plans to expand borrowing availability of the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass to all 99 branches locations in 2008.

Toronto Public Library is North America's busiest public library system. Every week more than 329,000 people visit our 99 branches and borrow more than half a million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at 416-393-7131.