DREAMS TAKE FLIGHT is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers from the Air Canada family. Teams in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Los Angeles and Tampa each organize the trip of a lifetime for physically, mentally or socially challenged children. The destination - Disney World, Florida or Disneyland, California - for a day.
Air Canada donates the aircraft and the employees do the rest. The adventure is funded through fundraising efforts, corporate sponsors and donations. In 1989, 70 children with special needs boarded a special charity flight in Toronto and traveled to Orlando, Florida to spend a magical day at Disney World. Since that inaugural Dream flight, nearly 10,000 children with special needs have enjoyed the magic of Disney thanks to the efforts of Air Canada volunteers - employees and retirees. DREAMS TAKE FLIGHT (DTF) was the idea of a group of Air Canada employees, and is still run solely by employee volunteers who come from all areas of the company. "We have grown from book-keeping in a shoe-box to having a treasurer in each city," says Brian Roscoe, President of the Montreal Chapter. "But as Dreams continues to grow, we do not lose sight of the original goal from that first Toronto flight - taking special needs' children to Disney for a day, putting a smile on their faces, and letting the kids forget about their problems." Looking after the health and physical needs of the children who participate is an important part of each Dream flight. The children have medical and physical challenges, requiring doctors to be on-board the flight and available throughout the day. Throughout the year, volunteers raise funds for the Dream flights through charity flights, bake sales, fairs, golf tournaments, the sale of Dreams T-shirts and merchandise, bike rally, and a variety of other sponsored activities. In addition, DREAMS TAKE FLIGHT draws support from local communities, corporate sponsors and Air Canada, being the largest sponsor, donates the aircraft and provides technical assistance and ressources.