Artworks by Edward Burtynsky, Robert Polidori and Tom Hopkins were highlights in the live auction
A hush fell over the room when auctioneer Stephen Ranger took the stage at the 4th Annual Waterkeeper Gala in Toronto. Ranger, one of Canada’s foremost fine art auctioneers, asked the 400 assembled guests to support swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. They rose to the occasion.
“We are deeply honoured by the community’s support,” said Mark Mattson, Waterkeeper founder and host for the evening. “The waterbodies that flow through our lives sustain us and make us who we are as a people. To protect ourselves and to protect our communities, we need to do a much better job caring for waterways. Funds from Thursday’s gala will help Waterkeeper do just that.”
Other gala highlights:
- “When the water breaks, life or death happens,” Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq told the audience before delivering a powerful performance backed by violinist Jesse Zubot.
- Cultural icons including Dave Bidini, Joseph Boyden, Gord Downie, Ingrid Mattson shared their “Watermarks”, short stories about the way a body of water influenced them.
- Bass Robert Pomakov with members of the Gryphon Trio delivered a breathtaking rendition of “Old Man River”.
- Renowned anthropologist and professor Wade Davis spoke to the influence of water on the Canadian identity.
“Our event sponsors made the evening possible, and we appreciate their support,” says Mattson. “Our presenting sponsor, RBC, has been there since the first gala and their loyalty means a lot.”
“RBC has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and supporting of the protection of freshwater through the RBC Blue Water Project,” said Shari Austin, Vice President, RBC Corporate Citizenship and Executive Director, RBC Foundation. “This event helps raise awareness of the importance of water and the many water protection projects in Canada and we are proud to be part of such a special evening.”
- Presenting: RBC
- Platinum: Cement Association of Canada & Lafarge
- Gold: McKeil Marine
- Silver: Cisco, Fox Harb’r, Gordon and Lorraine Gibson Family Foundation, Hatch Research Intelligence Inc., Miller Thompson, Ontario Power Generation
- Bronze: Bullfrog Power, Deloitte, Lassonde, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, Savoy Pitfield Foundation, TransCanada
- Table Sponsors: AON, Cinnie Segsworth Travel Inc., City View Bus Sales & Service Inc., Francisca and Mike Quinn, Quinn & Partners, Green for Life, Hal Jackman Foundation, Heddle Marine Service Inc., Henry White Kinnear Foundation, IMT, Mountainview Homes, Sutton Special Risk
- Contributing: Canadian Yachting, CBC, Chef Events, Death’s Door Spirits, Faces by Carla, Mill St. Brewery, MVI, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Rent Frock Repeat, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Tawse Winery, UBER, Waddingtons, Water Canada
Guests were invited to share their personal “Watermark” stories for a Waterkeeper initiative launching in Fall 2015. Those stories, along with event photos, will be available online at www.waterkeepergala.ca soon.
This year’s Waterkeeper Gala raised $500,000, bringing the total funds raised to $1.8-million since 2012.
Social Media Summary
On April 23, 2015, Canadian artists and leaders gathered at the CBC for the 4th annual Waterkeeper Gala Toronto. Wade Davis, Gord Downie, Tanya Tagaq, Joseph Boyden, Dave Bidini, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Robert Pomakov, and Wayne Bossert – each shared a personal story about a waterbody from their past, inspiring a sold-out audience to share their “Watermarks.” Fine art auctioneer, Stephen Ranger ended the night in exciting fashion by auctioning off pieces from such artists as Robert Polidori, Tom Hopkins, Edward Burtynsky, and Vivian Maier. With 100% of the proceeds supporting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water, the event proved to be the most successful Waterkeeper Gala yet. www.waterkeepergala.ca
- Waterkeeper Gala Toronto: www.waterkeepergala.ca
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper: www.waterkeeper.ca
- Swim Guide: www.theswimguide.org
- National Water Centre: www.swimdrinkfish.ca
Founded in 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a registered Canadian charity that uses law, science, culture, and digital media to protect a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future.