Our 'Dime' and Jubilee
The 60th Anniversary is traditionally celebrated with a diamond. And much like a diamond, which begins as carbon, and evolves under very great pressures, so too has March of Dimes evolved, expanded to meet the growing numbers of people who need our services and the changing needs of people with disabilities.
In the 1940s and 50s, mothers across Canada joined a North America-wide fundraising effort, known as the Marching Mothers®, went door-to-door collecting donations of 'just a dime' to donate to the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitics (sic) for research for a cure to polio.
In 1951, the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitics was granted use of the name 'March of Dimes'. Funds raised went to support research into the cure for polio.
In 1955, the polio vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk proved effective in limited test trials. With the threat of polio greatly diminished, Ontario March of Dimes began funding assistive devices for people who had contracted the polio virus, as well as providing programs focused primarily on rehabilitation and job training for polio survivors.
By 1957, the organization shifted its mandate to serve the broader needs of all adults with physical disabilities, regardless of whether the disability was a result of a disability at birth, the polio virus, an accident, or a degenerative disease.
In 2004, Ontario March of Dimes looked to expand its service offering to people with physical disabilities outside of Ontario and in 2006, it acquired the trademark ‘March of Dimes’ for all of Canada. The robust offering of Ontario March of Dimes programs and services are being gradually expanded and offered throughout the country. During this same period, we also began expanding services to children with disabilities.
For over 60 years, March of Dimes has been on the forefront of the disability movement in Canada. Today, March of Dimes provides a variety of important programs and services to over 50,000 Canadians with disabilities each year, and this report details all of them.
While the service offering is very broad, the organization is single-minded in its vision – creating a society inclusive of people with disabilities. We are One Stop: Opportunities for Independence.
A number of celebrations were held throughout our Diamond Anniversary year, including our Ability & Beyond Gala fundraiser, a special event with Stroke Recovery Canada® spokesperson Bret "Hitman" Hart, a number of family-oriented fundraisers throughout Ontario and more. March of Dimes received supporting messages from a number of celebrities and politicians, including William Shatner, Rick Mercer, Eugene Levy, Alan Thicke, Bret Hart, Anne Murray, The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, the Right Honourable Paul Martin and many, many more. The full list of video messages and letters can be found at www.marchofdimes.ca/EN/AboutUs/about%20modc/Pages/60thMessages.aspx
This Annual Report highlights most of our achievements during our 60th Anniversary Year.