The Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass available at Toronto Public Libraries lets you and your family (2 adults and up to 5 kids), get into some of Toronto’s best arts and cultural venues for free!
Looking for discount tickets? All you need is a valid adult Toronto Public Library card and you can take out a pass for your family at any participating Toronto Public Library branch. See the Toronto Public Library website for rule and conditions
Many of the library branches issue the passes on a first come first served bases. Others work on a draw basis. There are no reservations, so you have to take a shot at it when you want to go to the museum or venue of your choice.
It’s a great deal and you don’t even have to return the passes!
Passes are available for the following venues:
- Aga Khan Museum
- AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario
- Bata Shoe Museum
- Black Creek Pioneer Village
- Gardiner Ceramics Museum
- Ontario Science Centre
- ROM – Royal Ontario Museum
- Textile Museum of Canada
- Toronto Zoo
- City of Toronto Historic Sites:
- Colborne Lodge in High Park
- Fort York National Historic Site
- Gibson House Museum
- Mackenzie House
- Montgomery’s Inn
- Scarborough Museum
- Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens
- Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
But there’s more! But if getting free passes from the Library is too awkward, take advantage of coupons for discount tickets.
Visit http://attractionsontario.ca/coupons for coupon discounts like these:
- Two for one at the Bata Shoe Museum
- $4 off per person at the Hockey Hall of Fame
- 20% off general admission at the Ontario Science Centre
- 15% off purchase of $40 or more at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
- $3 off regular admission at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
And that’s just in Toronto. There are many other coupon deals for out-of-town attractions.
Did I mention free Wednesday evenings at the AGO?
Looking for more than just discount tickets? You can enjoy everything in the AGO’s Permanent Collection for free from 6 to 9 P.M. every Wednesday. Now, getting there for 6 o’clock puts your travel right in the middle of the rush hour, so here’s a strategy that can add pleasure and reduce the grief at the same time.
Travel down to the Art Gallery of Ontario early, take a stroll in the neighborhood or browse the inspired stock at shopAGO, the gift shop. Then give your feet a break at Cinq-a-Sept in the AGO’s Frank Lounge. It’s on from 4 pm to 7. (I know – Cinq a Sept is French for Five to Seven. I can’t tell you why it starts at 4.). Then at 6pm, enter the AGO for free!
Don’t miss free Wednesday afternoons at the Aga Kahn Museum.
Free Wednesday afternoons at the Aga Kahn Museum admit you to its Core Collection and all its other exhibitions from 4 to 8 p.m. I can tell you from my recent visit – you’ll need those four hours once the material on display grabs your eye and your heart.
There’s a pleasant snack bar in the lobby of the Aga Khan Museum, with tables and chairs either looking into the open-air courtyard or out in the fresh air.
How about Half-price Fridays from 4 to 9 PM at the Gardiner Museum?
The Gardiner is devoted to everything clay, from fine porcelain to startling sculpture. It’s just south of Bloor on Avenue Road, across the street from the ROM. It’s perfectly placed for a pre-visit stroll along Toronto’s Golden Mile and a snack or drinks at one of the many restaurants and bars in the area or in the Gardiner Bistro. Of course, you can always just skip the snacks and enjoy the museum!
Tuesdays at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection cost seniors 20% less.
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is a little out of town in Kleinburg. Depending on where you live – it’s about 40 minutes from mid-town Toronto and about half an hour from where we live in Richmond Hill – it can be a pleasant drive.
By public transit? TTC Yonge Street Subway Line 1 northbound to the Yorkdale Bus Terminal, transfer to Vaughan Transit Islington Bus No. 13 (a second fare) and disembark at Islington Stop 3365. It will about a ten- to fifteen-minute walk through the Museum’s property to the buildings.
The McMichael is in a beautiful setting in a very large rural landscape, so your food choices on site are limited. The in-house cafe, Aura, has an interesting menu. Otherwise, it will take a short drive off the property to Kleinburg’s main street to find a small selection of restaurants.
Is the trip worth effort? Emphatically, yes! According to its website, the McMichael permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to the development of Canadian art.
You may want to phone first if accessibility is an issue. The website describes the McMichael as “working towards creating inclusive grounds and interiors.”
Yes, Toronto Museums can be affordable for seniors – especially when you get discount tickets!
I’ve just touched on the range of museums in Toronto. But I hope I’ve got you thinking about where to visit next. And remember, if you have a special interest in one or two museums, it may pay to buy a family membership. All the museum websites will give you ticket, travel and parking information. So try one soon. And have a great time!