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Our History


In 1986, Hope Air – then called Mission Air Transportation Network – was co-founded by two women, Joan Rogers and Jinnie Bradshaw, who were inspired to start the charity after witnessing the impact of long-distance travel on cancer care patients at Princess Margaret Hospital.

On a brisk November day, Hope Air arranged its first flight for a Canadian to get from their home to the hospital – a child from New Brunswick travelled to Toronto for cancer treatment. In that first year, the charity arranged 56 flights.

Since then, Hope Air has arranged more than 130,000 free flights for low-income Canadians travelling to vital medical care far from home.   
  • 1985

    On June 7th, a letters patent is issued to incorporate Mission Air Transportation Network.

  • 1986

    The first Mission Air flight takes off on November 8th, carrying a young girl from New Brunswick to Toronto for cancer treatment. RBC®, a Hope Air supporter to this day, generously provides the first flight on their corporate plane. 

  • 1987

    Commercial airlines begin supporting Mission Air by donating seats on their aircraft.

  • 1991

    Canadian Airlines designates Mission Air as its preferred charity for donations of Canadian Plus travel points.

  • 1995

    The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc becomes the first Vice-Regal Patron of Mission Air. Since then, all succeeding Governor Generals of Canada have become Hope Air Vice-Regal Patrons, including Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean and David Johnston. 

  • 1996

    WestJet is founded and immediately becomes a Mission Air supporter, donating seats on flights across the country to our patients. WestJet remains today an exceptional and highly valued Hope Air partner.

  • 1999

    The Volunteer Pilot Program launches, supported by generous pilots who volunteer their time flying patients to appointments on their personal aircraft.
     

  • 2001

    Marc Garneau becomes Hope Air’s first National Honorary Patron. Other Honorary Patrons include Roberta Bondar and Rick Mercer.

  • 2004

    RBC Rewards® launches its points donation program with Hope Air as a designated charity beneficiary.
     

  • 2006

    Hope Air implements its proprietary data management system, HealthNet.

  • 2008

    Hope Air introduces its annual Spirit of Hope Awards in recognition of distinguished volunteerism.

  • 2010

    With donated funds from corporations, foundations, individuals, and special events, Hope Air launches the Flight Purchase Program to augment flights donated by commercial airlines or flights flown by Hope Air’s volunteer pilots.  

  • 2013

    NAV CANADA employees hold their first golf tournament in support of Hope Air.

  • 2015

    Hope Air celebrates its 100,000th flight over the course of its 29-year history.

  • 2016

    Hope Air turns 30!

    2016

    Hope Air partners with PEI’s provincial government to provide Confederation Bridge Passes to Islanders who must travel off the Island to healthcare. This marks the first time in its history that Hope Air provides ground travel to patients.
     

  • 2017

    A record-breaking 12,684 travel arrangements were fulfilled in 2017. We provided 11,640 flights to patients across Canada, as well as 981 Confederation Bridge toll passes and 63 ferry passes to low-income Prince Edward Island families travelling to out-of-province medical appointments.
     

    2017

    We revitalized the Hope Air brand and implemented a forward-thinking digital communications strategy. We debuted our new logo, and website featuring a streamlined form to request a flight.
     

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