I attended an event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on a recent Wednesday evening and was amazed at the crowds taking advantage of the gallery’s weekly freebie. Every Wednesday from 6 – 8:30 pm, the AGO offers free admission to its permanent collection; special surcharged exhibitions are not included but featured exhibits like the current Shary Boyle show are.
Thanks to a special sponsorship arrangement with Fairfax Financial Holdings, Rogers Communications and Scotiabank, the AGO’s upcoming exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts (November 20 to April 3, 2011) will be free to visitors 25 years of age and under. The AGO is also free to Ontario high school students with valid student ID, Tuesday to Friday after 3 pm.
There are a number of other free admission opportunities at some of the City’s premier cultural institutions . . .
The Royal Ontario Museum is free on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:30 pm and is free to full-time, post-secondary students every Tuesday. The Museum’s Community Access Network (ROM CAN) provides free tickets to communities and individuals who might not otherwise visit the institution; the United Way Toronto distributes tickets through its network of health and social service agencies and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship distributes Museum family passes to new Canadians during citizenship ceremonies each month as part of its Cultural Access Pass Program.
Across from the ROM, the Gardiner Museum provides half-price admission every Friday from 4 – 9 pm and if you’re 30 or younger Fridays are free all day until January 28, 2011. Kids under 12 get into the Gardiner for free on Sundays thru December 12 when accompanied by an adult. The museum also offers 2-for-1 admission to the Bata Shoe Museum and Museum of Inuit Art when you purchase a single full-price admission to the Gardiner. The Textile Museum of Canada is pay what you can on Wednesdays from 5 – 8 pm.
Thanks to a generous contribution from the Hal Jackman Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) is free until the end of 2010, otherwise it’s always pay what you can. The current main space exhibit, David Hoffos: Scenes from the House Dream has been enthusiastically received.
Most commercial galleries are free all the time and another popular cultural freebie is the Four Seasons Centre’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, above, most often at lunch hour but periodically from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, check the online schedule for details.
When it comes to living with culture, money really is no object.