Ottawa Humane Society’s ‘Casablanca’ Fundraiser

April 1, 2009 Updated: March 31, 2009

Volunteer auctioneer Jim Watson, emcee Leeanne Cusack from CTV Ottawa, Anna Silverman, and Ottawa Humane Society President Rob Cameron (Edward Melnychuk)
Volunteer auctioneer Jim Watson, emcee Leeanne Cusack from CTV Ottawa, Anna Silverman, and Ottawa Humane Society President Rob Cameron (Edward Melnychuk)
OTTAWA—Film buffs who relish old black and white movies would have loved the Ottawa Humane Society’s fifth annual FurBall gala that raised $155,000.

With Casablanca as the theme, the exotic event took place at the National Gallery of Canada on Saturday. The classic film played silently as guests in masquerade feathers and finery including glamorous gowns, bow ties, and Humphrey Bogart hats, mingled with volunteers in souk costumes on loan from the Orpheus Society.

Highlights of the event included a four-course meal prepared by executive Chef Kurt Waldele, dancing to live entertainment by Deborah Davis & Segue to Jazz, and a live auction.

Rob Cameron, president (volunteer) of the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS), said that proceeds from the evening “will support the Ottawa Humane Society’s important work in our community.”

He went on to say that the OHS relies on the generosity of donors to “care for the homeless animals and find them new, loving homes.” Approximately 11,000 animals come into the care of the OHS every year. The building dates back to 1968 and was designed to accommodate only 200 animals.

Honourary Chair Laureen Harper and John Baird, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure (Edward Melnychuk)
Honourary Chair Laureen Harper and John Baird, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure (Edward Melnychuk)
Laureen Harper, honourary chair of the FurBall, fosters cats in “a special room” at the Prime Minister’s residence. She is a cat fancier and, according to event co-chair Christina Gillies, a “hands-on” volunteer at the OHS. This is the third year that Mrs. Harper has supported the OHS at their major fundraising event.

Cameron said this year’s event had “extra significance” because the “Breaking Ground” Building Campaign was officially launched at the FurBall. He invited all Ottawans to become involved.

Gifts of $2,500 and more will be recognized on the donor wall and naming opportunities begin at $10,000. The campaign website is www.breakingground.ca. Anyone interested in supporting the OHS is invited to call Anna Silverman at the Humane Society to arrange a visit or discuss gifts and pledges.

Along with the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, corporate donors included the National Gallery of Canada and The Silver Rose, whose owner, Gerry Arial, is an international florist and event planner.

Susan Hallett is an award-winning writer and editor who has written for The Beaver, The Globe & Mail, Wine Tidings and Doctor’s Review among many others. Email: hallett_susan@hotmail.com