Early Tuesday morning (May 2), Air Canada and Dreams Take Flight transported a plane load of children from Toronto to the happiest place on earth.
The plane was carrying many children who were meant to experience the once-in-a-lifetime trip in 2020 but were unable to due to the global pandemic.
With the support of numerous Air Canada employee volunteers, the Air Canada Foundation and the Dreams Take Flight organization, the trip was finally able to take place, making the wishes of 126 kids come true.
Eight flights operate annually, providing over 1000 children each year with an unforgettable day at a theme park in Florida or California.
Departing from Pearson International Airport, the children were accompanied by a crew of current and retired Air Canada employee volunteers dedicated to providing a magical experience for those onboard.
By generously donating their time, pilots, flight attendants, maintenance engineers, and numerous other employees on the ground and behind the scenes offer children facing mental, physical, or social adversity the chance to take a break from their everyday to make memories and see new possibilities.
"After a wait of three years, we are so excited to finally fly to Orlando with our group of children who have been patiently waiting since 2020 for their magical day", said Julie Mailhot, president of Dreams Take Flight Toronto. "Since we had to cancel our flight in April 2020, we kept in touch with each child, including sending them a Christmas card and gift each year, to remind them that we had not forgotten about them."
"It is so heartwarming to see this group of deserving children finally get their special day," added Valerie Durand, spokesperson for the Air Canada Foundation. "Everyone has worked extremely hard to bring this trip to life, ensuring these kids go home with magical memories to last a lifetime. Children who have been on previous Dreams flights have told us what a difference the experience has made for them, giving them hope for the future. We're very proud to have played a part in supporting Dreams Take Flight Toronto through this long-awaited adventure."
Five more flights from across Canada will depart from Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa throughout 2023.
Over the past 30 years, Air Canada, as exclusive carrier and now with the support of the Air Canada Foundation, has flown more than forty thousand children on Dreams Take Flight trips.
Visit dreamstakeflight.ca to donate or volunteer.