It’s prom season, and formal wear has taken its place in store windows across Canada. While many high-school graduates are looking through a thousand different styles and colours for their perfect dress and suit, some Canadian teens and their families may not be able to shoulder the cost.

By Brianne Stephen

Prom is expensive. Between the dress/suit, the shoes, the accessories, the hair and the makeup, prom costs can add up. That’s why a number of charities across Canada have collected prom dress donations for students with financial difficulties who are referred to their programs through counsellors, teachers and social caseworkers. This way, everyone has a chance to attend the biggest night of his or her high school life.


The Corsage Project, based in Toronto, works in partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation to give what they call the “authentic prom experience to young women and men” with financial difficulties. Since 2000, The Corsage Project offers an outfit, accessories, and a mini makeover to girls and boys respectively.

Inside the Dream has drop-off locations in Brampton and Mississauga, as well as one in Toronto. Formal wear is offered to graduates on Inside the Dream’s annual Boutique Day. This year’s date is May 8th.


A Promise for Prom is based in Rigaud, Quebec and allows students to shop and borrow garments and accessories without having to worry about the cost.


Gowns for Grads is a volunteer-based program by the Laura Milner White Committee. Based in Winnipeg, Gowns for Grads began with St. John’s High School in 2009 and now has its own boutique space for a better shopping experience.


The Princess Shop’s initiative is to make sure all young women in Saskatchewan have the chance to experience prom. The Princess Shop is based in Saskatoon, but they serve the whole province, providing dresses to all female and female-identified graduates with financial and/or social needs.


The Cinderella Gown Project is a program that celebrates the diverse and educational achievement of Calgary’s youth. They offer beautiful, graduation appropriate gowns and accessories to “Cinderellas” in need.

Cinderella’s Closet is a program based in Edmonton. They offer formal garments, shoes and accessories to high-school graduates for them to keep as their own after the event.


The Cinderella Project is a federally registered charity founded back in 1999. They are based in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and they accept referrals up until February each year.

The Glass Slipper Boutique is composed of 16 local organizations, businesses and service clubs within Williams Lake and surrounding areas. It aims to give that well-deserved magical experience to all graduating youths in the form of formal garments.