Ottawa Humane Society Garden Party raises $96K for animal welfare

Created by legendary chef Kurt Waldele, evening featured food, drinks, auction items, prizes and popular animal parade

A parade of adopted pets stole the show, along with everyone’s hearts, at the 2018 Ottawa Humane Society Garden Party held at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday.

The cute canines and furry feline were introduced on stage by Majic 100 radio host Katherine Dines, who listed the animals’ interests and hobbies (sleeping, long walks, and swiping human food) as well as their dislikes (rainy days and porcupines).

The fan favourite was 12-year-old Sadie Mae, a brave Beagle found last November wandering on a trail near Carp with inexplicable pellet wounds to her head. OHS vets worked hard to save her life and, subsequently, treat her for cancer. She’s now living large with her new owners, the room heard.

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OHS Garden Party

The benefit, presented by Philip, Gaskin & Wright Private Investment Management of RBC Dominion Securities, grossed $95,995 for the OHS and offered up tasty dishes prepared by local restaurants and chefs who continue to honour the memory of Kurt Waldele.

The former long-time executive chef of the National Arts Centre used to host a late-summer garden party with his wife, Suzanne Beauchemin, in support of animal welfare. The iconic chef passed away from cancer nine years ago but not before being a friend and mentor to many young chefs who continue to cook in Ottawa today.

Clifford Lyness, executive chef at Brookstreet Hotel, was one of Waldele’s protégés. So was Tim Wasylko, head of food and beverage at the Infinity Convention Centre. In Ottawa’s tight-knit culinary community, even if you didn’t work with Waldele, the six degrees of separation concept still applies.  

OHS Garden Party

More than a dozen other chefs and restaurants also participated in the event by preparing mouth-watering dishes, as well as contributing to the live auction. There was a private dinner for 10, to be prepared in the top bidder’s home, donated by The Whalesbone, DiVino Wine Studio, Sutherland Restaurant and Beechwood Gastropub, with Philippe Dandurand Wines. It sold for just over $4,000.

In attendance was the event’s honourary chair, Senator Vern White, who donated to the live auction a lunch with him and private tour of Parliament Hill. It went for $800.

OHS Garden Party

OHS executive director Bruce Roney was there, as was Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Also seen was retired senator Marjory LeBreton with her granddaughter Jenna LeBreton-Holmes (who recently became a mom, making LeBreton a great-grandmother).

Other attendees included lawyer Jacques Emond, co-founding partner of sponsor Emond Harnden LLP.

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Ryan Watson brought his A-game as live auctioneer, selling off eight items in total. There was a seven-night stay with airfare from WestJet to one of four Hilton vacation destinations — including the choice of Hawaii. Jet setters could also bid on a trip to Grand Isle Resort & Spa in Exuma, Bahamas, courtesy of Peter Nicholson of Foundation WCPD.

Top Shelf Distillers in Perth donated a “bootleggers’ retreat.” It featured a VIP tour of its local distillery, with a one-night stay in a Perth Parkside Inn and Spa suite, plus dinner at The Stone Cellar. It sold for $2,200, which one-upped last year’s winning bid of $2,000.

Acclaimed artist Philip Craig donated an original painting worth $5,500 while ‘Stuntman’ Stu Schwartz offered a tour of the Bell Media studios. There was also dinner for two at Milestones with tickets to an Ottawa Senators game, along with a meet and greet with autographed stick from Matt Duchene.

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