Annual Garden Party raises more than $35,000 for the Ottawa Humane Society

Pearl Pirie (blog/Twitter) is an Ottawa Arts enthusiast. She has two poetry collections: Been Shed Bore (Chaudiere, 2010), Thirsts (Snare, 2011). She coordinates the Tree Seed Workshop Series which runs at Arts Court 6:45-7:45pm every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

This past Sunday (Aug. 26th) about 250 people made it out in perfect weather and good humour to the Ottawa Humane Society’s Summer Garden Party Fundraiser. Together, the people of Ottawa raised more than $35,000, which sounds like a lot and is, but it costs more than $4 million per year to run and provide shelter and medical care for thousands of animals until they can find their forever homes.

Here is a visual play-by-play of the event: 

wine sampling from Colarneri Estate Winery

Colarneri Estate Winery, white or red on offer.


Cheerful directing volunteers like Rachelle, Marielle and Lise helped keep everyone on track as the 250 or so guests came through to sample food from more than 20 of the city’s top chefs. Each chef made about 400 appetizers.


A great entry point at the door is from from Restaurant International, the student restaurant of Algonquin School of Hospitality and Tourism. This is port-marinated strawberries in a phyllo cup with a ginger foam. They were being made fresh all afternoon.

It’s worth noting that the first party was held in 2001 at Chef Kurt Waldele’s home. This event was in memory of Waldele, who served as executive chef of the NAC for more than 30 years and was a strong supporter of the OHS. Most of the chefs taking part in the event were friends of Waldele or influenced by the man.


A nice touch was from Le Café’s dessert, which used the drunk cherries inherited from Waldele.


My favourite main dish hands down was this: A lovely Catalina gazpacho with herbs and croutons filled to order from Back Lane Cafe.


Back Lane doled out their goodness with cheer. They had their brunch, lunch and dinner menus of the day out for those interested.

Home Sweet Home sugar cubes

Home Sweet Home does decorative sugar.


The Cake Shop on Wellington had a few varieties of pretty cupcakes and cookies.


The ladies of the Cake Shop who handed out the take-home sacks filled with goodies.

The Cake Shop, Wellington

Everyone who attended got a take-home sack with $30 off at Vivianna Day Spa, these shortbread cookies…


…and a treat for the pets.


As the afternoon went on, more and more descriptions of dogs got replaced by a “Hold” sign. The “rabbitat” cage still had a cutie.


Toward the end of the day was the live auction for things like chefs at your house, or B&B weekends, a year of carte blanche hairstyling, or a dozen $200 gift certificates to area restaurants. The first item was a dry run. The auctioneers said it’s traditional for everyone to raise their hands and bid a $1 to start it off. The second item started at $400.

Congratulations on a successful event! For more, check out Ron Eade‘s slideshow of what he saw.The next fundraiser will be Sept 9 with the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon