In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, Sun Life Financial has announced the expansion of the Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library program. This initiative will be available in more cities across Canada, giving anyone with a valid library card the opportunity to borrow a variety of musical instruments from a local public library free of charge. The announcement was made on Monday at the Vancouver Public Library.
Sun Life will be making a philanthropic donation to fund the program operation in addition to donating 150 instruments to each participating library, including guitars, ukuleles, violins, drums, xylophones and portable keyboards. Sun Life has also created a series of six short videos to assist individuals with the use, care, and enjoyment of the instruments. Whether you’re a beginner picking up an instrument for the first time or a seasoned musician, the program is designed for anyone looking to explore the world of music.
“Music is an important part of Canadian culture and heritage, which is why we’re thrilled to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by making music more accessible to individuals and their families,” says Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada. “At Sun Life, we’re committed to building sustainable, healthier communities and we know libraries are vibrant community hubs and a rich source of culture. Music and the arts play an important role in our society and I’m proud that we can provide the opportunity for so many Canadians to experience and enjoy the positive power of music.”
The Sun Life Financial says the Musical Instrument Lending Library program is a natural extension of its support of music education, one that aligns with the company’s Making the Arts More Accessible program.
“The Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library is thriving in Vancouver,” says Sandra Singh, chief librarian at Vancouver Public Library. “The community response has been incredible. People of all ages – from beginners to those rediscovering their passion for playing – are borrowing these instruments, and as a result, we’re able to connect more people to the love of music. We’re thrilled to be part of the program, and excited to be part of supporting Vancouver’s creativity, culture and artistic expression. Thanks to Sun Life’s generosity, more Vancouverites are able to play and experience music.”
The Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library was first launched at the Parkdale Branch of the Toronto Public Library in April 2016, and was later expanded to the Vancouver and Montréal Public Libraries. The program is already an overwhelming success in the first three cities and all instruments were loaned out within two to seven days of launch. The libraries are all currently experiencing wait times to borrow an instrument, which demonstrates the true need for accessibility to music. To help meet the high demand, Sun Life will also be donating an additional 50 instruments to the Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal programs.