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Thursday, June 27, 2013

1,500 new citizens discover Canada aboard VIA Rail trains

(News Release)

Participation in the Cultural Access Pass program connects new citizens to an exclusive travel discount

Montréal, Quebec – June 27, 2013 – A collaboration between VIA Rail and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) has resulted in 1,500 new citizens travelling by train to explore Canada, their new home, in the last year.

This collaboration offers members of the ICC’s Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program – a program exclusively offered to new citizens – 50 per cent off the lowest available fare, in any class, one way or round trip, with no blackout periods, for them and up to four of their children under the age of 18.

Since the offer’s launch on July 1, 2012, new citizens have travelled on every main route VIA Rail offers, visiting almost all of the 450 Canadian communities aboard one of the 500 trains departing each week. Most new citizens chose to travel within the Québec City – Windsor corridor, but many – nearly 20 per cent – chose to journey on the Canadian, an incredible voyage that runs between Toronto and Vancouver.

"VIA Rail is proud to contribute to new citizens’ discovery of our beautiful country," declared Marc Laliberté, Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. "We are pleased with the popularity of this initiative and hope that even more new citizens will continue to take advantage of this truly Canadian experience and increase their sense of belonging to their new country."

CAP members couldn’t agree more. Upon booking his trip through the offer, Andrew S. shared his excitement: “I cannot think of a better way to spend Canada Day than on the Canadian, travelling across Canada’s beautiful and varied landscapes on a train line steeped in Canadian history. Canada inspires and surprises and we would never have done anything like this were it not for the work done VIA Rail, and the ICC’s Cultural Access Pass.”

“With more than 1,200 participating attractions across the country, collaborating with VIA Rail has helped make exploring Canada’s cultural places and spaces a real possibility for new citizens”, said Leith Bishop, ICC’s Acting Executive Director & CEO. “We’re thrilled that our members echo our sentiment and reinforce the program’s success in igniting a shared passion for Canadian cultural experiences among new citizens. It takes courage to start fresh in a new country and we want every new citizen to be excited by CAP – a unique program created just for them.”
About the Cultural Access Pass Program
The Cultural Access Pass introduces Canada’s newest citizens to a wealth of Canadian experiences by providing a year of free access to galleries, museums, historic sites, national and provincial parks and performing arts organizations across the country. Since its inception a mere five years ago, more than 70,000 new citizens have participated in the program. A new citizen becomes eligible for a Cultural Access Pass the day he/she receives his/her Canadian citizenship. The pass is valid for one year, expiring on the first anniversary of a member’s date of citizenship. New citizens must be 18 years of age or older to participate, but each member can use his/her pass with up to four children under the age of 18. To learn more about the Cultural Access Pass, its participating attractions, and VIA Rail Canada's offer, visit culturalaccesspass.ca.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) is a national, non-profit charity that promotes active citizenship. Through innovative programs and partnerships, the ICC works to ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, create meaningful connections among all Canadians, foster a culture of engaged citizens and celebrate what it means to be Canadian. Our Building Citizenship program welcomes and connects new citizens by hosting community-led citizenship ceremonies across Canada. Our Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program introduces new citizens to Canadian experiences by offering a year of free access to almost 1,200 attractions from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, our intellectual platform, is a national, interactive lecture on citizenship. And ICC Insights, our partner-focused initiative, brings new citizen voices to national conversations through collaborative projects. The ICC was founded and is co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, and is supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). For more information, visit icc-icc.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter (@ICCICC).
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's (viarail.ca) mandate is to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. Recipient of the Railway Association of Canada's Safety Award in 2011 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by BaxterTravel Media, VIA safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment.
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