Press Release: Canadian artists, philanthropists contribute to another outstanding Waterkeeper Gala

Artworks by James Lahey, Barbara Cole and Edward Burtynsky were highlights in the live auction

April 27, 2017 — Toronto, Ontario — Waterkeeper

Over four hundred influential artists, athletes, philanthropists and business leaders gathered for an inspirational evening at the 6th Annual Waterkeeper Gala presented by McKeil Marine. The event was held for the third time at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto last Thursday, April 20th. More than $550,000 was raised at the event, bringing the event’s fundraising tally to $2.9-million over the past six years.

Highlights from the gala included:

  • The 8-piece live art auction with Canada’s foremost fine art auctioneer, Stephen Ranger of Waddington’s.

  • Captivating musical performances by Bahamas, Hannah Georgas, and Sarah Harmer

  • Award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Jennifer Baichwal toasting the 2017 Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors: Dave Bidini, Denise Donlon, Sarah Harmer, Stephen Ranger.

  • Gripping speeches about the need to support people working to restore swimmable, drinkable, fishable water by Swim Drink Fish Canada/ Waterkeeper co-founders Mark Mattson and Krystyn Tully.

  • A heartfelt story about joining the Swim Drink Fish community from Luum co-founder, Kenneth Irving.

All gala proceeds support Swim Drink Fish Canada’s network of people working for a clean water future. Swim Drink Fish Canada’s flagship projects (Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Watermark Project, and Swim Guide) create tools using law, science, and communications technology that inspire people around the world to explore, understand, and protect their waters.





“Sixteen years ago, "Lake Ontario Keeper" launched our first program on Wolfe Island. Since then, the Swim Drink Fish movement has grown to include over 2-million people. The supporters, partners, and ambassadors have built this movement and their commitment to clean water was on full display Thursday evening.” - Mark Mattson, Waterkeeper & President

"McKeil Marine is honoured to be the presenting sponsor for the annual Waterkeeper Gala.  As a marine transportation and logistics company, we’ve built our success on the water. Water is a part of who we are and we're proud to support Swim Drink Fish Canada to help ensure a swimmable, drinkable, future for all Canadians" - Steve Fletcher, President & CEO, McKeil Marine

Gala Sponsors

  • Presenting: McKeil Marine

  • Founding Supporter: RBC

  • Gold: Fox Harb’r and Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association

  • Silver: Breakwater Investments, Cement Association of Canada, Hatch Research Inc., Miller Thomson LLP, Ontario Power Generation, PortsToronto, Quinn & Partners, and Vertex One Asset Management

  • Bronze: Bullfrog Power, Deloitte Private, Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Lassonde, Rogers Communications, and Sterling Fuels

  • Contributing: Bau-Xi Gallery, Birch River Productions, Citizen Catering, Cumbrae's, Faces by Carla, Inspire Event Rental & Design, KLINK Coffee,  Mill Street Brewery, Museumpros Art Services, Rent Frock Repeat, Waddington’s, Water Canada, and Stratus Wines

Social Media Summary

On April 20, 2017, Canadian artists, philanthropists and leaders gathered at the CBC for the 6th annual Waterkeeper Gala Toronto. Musical acts Bahamas, Hannah Georgas, and Sarah Harmer performed. Jennifer Baichwal and Mark Mattson presented a toast to the 2017 Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors. Kenneth Irving shared a personal story about joining the Swim Drink Fish community.  Fine art auctioneer, Stephen Ranger ended the night in exciting fashion by auctioning off pieces from such artists as James Lahey, Edward Burtynsky, Barbara Cole, and Michael Adamson.

This year’s Waterkeeper Gala fundraising success brings the total funds raised for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water to $2.9-million in the last 6 years. More info at

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About Waterkeeper

Swim Drink Fish Canada’s mission is to ensure a future where water is swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for everyone. The organization’s flagship programs are Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Swim Guide, and the Watermark Project.


Matthew Chisholm

Community Coordinator

(416) 861-1237