‘A Walk in the Park’ gala raises more than $500,000 for new world-class surgery and anesthesia facilities at Ontario Veterinary College

Pet lovers and generous donors raised more than $500,000 in support of new surgery and anesthesia facilities at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at a gala fundraiser held in Toronto on October 15. The donations will specifically benefit OVC Pet Trust’s $9-million fundraising campaign to create state-of-the-art, specialized areas for surgery, anesthesia and recovery that will include surgical and diagnostic video and imaging equipment; and to further advance veterinary medical education at the OVC. More than $4 million to benefit the campaign has been announced to date.



A Walk in the Park gala was held downtown Toronto at Daniels Spectrum, a cultural community hub in Regent Park. The venue was transformed into a lush, elegant walk-in-the-park. Guests were greeted by OVC Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students and invited into a soiree in a pet-lovers’ paradise. Attendees included donors, researchers and clinicians.



Every detail from treat jar centerpieces, to dog and cat photos at each guest’s seat reflected the commitment and love of animals of everyone who attended the event.



Stephanie Nykamp, Associate Dean, Clinicial Program, Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, spoke about the impact of donations to the OVC to a crowd of approximately 300 guests.


“Our team at the OVC makes miracles happen every single day,” said Nykamp. “Through your generosity and the generosity of many others, over the past few years we have rebuilt our intensive care unit, constructed a state-of-the-art cancer centre and upgraded the diagnostic imaging suite. The time has come to now update our surgery and anesthesia facilities so we can continue to do the great work that happens every day at the OVC. Updating the facilities will mean a great deal. It will ensure that we can get your pets home faster, with easier recoveries; it will guarantee we can attract the brightest talent; and it will enable us to provide the best care to you and your family members. New surgery and anesthesia facilities will also ensure we can continue to train the very best students and future veterinarians who will be there every time your family needs them.”

Master of ceremonies John Moore of Newstalk 1010 entertained the crowd while guests were served an appetizer (snack), main course (chowtime) and dessert (treats), mingled with friends, shook paws and participated in a treat jar table centerpiece auction. A live auction took place, coordinated by auctioneer Brett Sherlock of Christie’s Canada. The auction was followed by a soulful live performance by the talented artist Nikki Yanofsky.


The evening was organized by the Walk in the Park Gala committee, led by co-chairs Emmanuelle Gattuso and Sandra Faire, two long-time supporters of OVC Pet Trust. Gattuso and Faire spoke at the event and extended a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for making the event a success.


The gala began in 2011 to raise funds for OVC Pet Trust. In 2013, nearly $400,000 was raised at A Walk in the Park to assist with the completion of the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). With the support of this year’s gala, the OVC will create new world-class surgery and anesthesia facilities which will help our pets get the care they need, and live longer, healthier lives.


From all of us at OVC Pet Trust, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who made this evening an incredible success. To our sponsors, donors and volunteers – your gifts will help the OVC remain at the forefront of veterinary medicine; raise the standard of care; and provide the most advanced surgical and anesthesia techniques, diagnoses and treatment in Canada for our furry friends.


OVC veterinary student gala volunteers pose in their blue lab coats with OVC Dean Jeff Wichtel at the event


To see more photos of A Walk in the Park, view our Facebook album.


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