Canadian Aviation Pride started in 2008 as an idea to have a small group of pilots in Toronto that could get to know each other in a safe place, and could network. Social gatherings took place, such as condo parties, brunches, and outings. It was a way for LGBTQ+ aviators to connect and socialize. This small group started to expand and pilots from across the country began to get involved.
Two main centres for social events evolved, namely Toronto and Vancouver, with Vancouver holding its first year-end gathering in December 2008. Our famous rainbow aircraft necklace made its first appearance in the summer of 2010, and baseball caps with our wings logo at the end of 2011. Our website at that time was named www.gaypilot.ca.
In 2012 the group started to change. There were more than just pilots - aviators from many different areas of the industry, including enthusiasts and supporters, were getting involved.
In the spring of 2013 the name 'CANADIAN AVIATION PRIDE' was hatched as we evolved from a loose collection of gay pilots to being a more inclusive organization. Our membership included women and trans members, as well as Engineers, Air Traffic controllers and other groups involved in Aviation, all of whom wished to have a safe, supportive and welcoming group to socialize with. After a vote of the Directors, the official name change occurred on 27 June 2013.
The group attended its first pride events that summer, in both Toronto and Vancouver, where information booths were set up and attendees marched in the parade. The website was changed from www.gaypilot.ca to www.canadianaviationpride.org. A Facebook page and group were created and a twitter account as well.
In 2014 more social events were created, however pride still remained the big focus to foster awareness and recognition of the group. Two year-end parties concluded that year.
In 2015 the group decided to become an official not-for-profit organization and it it achieved this through incorporation under Industry Canada’s Not-for-profit Corporations Act in January 2016. Along with this it established an approved set of Bylaws. Events were planned and published for the entire year. More communication to members was established via a monthly newsletter, which is sent out via email.
In 2016 events such as ATC and aircraft factory tours, career expos, air shows, hikes and pub nights were added to broaden our range of activities, and in Toronto our first joint international event was held with a similar organization from the United States. Late in 2016 a nucleus for a social group in Calgary was established to continue the development of networking opportunities for LGBTQ+ Canadians passionate about aviation.
In 2017, after a change in Chair and several Director positions, CAP started on a progressive process of formalizing itself to reflect its Not-For-Profit status, developing proper books of accounts, Financial Management Procedures, and Duties and Responsibilities for Directors. Our first Income Tax Return was filed with the Canada Revenue Agency, and in late summer a substantial revision was made to the Strategic Plan. This allowed the development of the first Action Plan and annual Budget. Six different booths were operated at a variety of Pride and Career fairs, and a regular monthly newsletter was published and sent to the over 500 subscribers. In late fall a new group was founded in Montréal, adding to the existing social groups in Vancouver and Toronto.
In 2018 CAP started to develop partnerships with aviation companies to help them with LGBTQ+ issues. Our focus was on developing resources for diversity and inclusion programs, including chairing an inter-company committee to develop fact sheets, and writing articles on practical aspects of inclusion programs. The result was CAP’s first industry sponsorships, and since then we have continued developing productive connections with a significant number of Canadian aviation organizations and other not-for-profit agencies.
Join us, and help us chart a path for the future.