More than 300 pet lovers gathered at one of Toronto’s newest cultural hubs this week at a gala fundraiser for the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

The $400,000 raised from the ‘A Walk in the Park’ gala, held Oct. 17 at Daniels Spectrum in Toronto will go to the OVC Pet Trust Fund, which has raised close to $13 million for the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer.

“Thanks to the generosity of Pet Trust supporters, we opened the doors of the cancer centre in 2012 and this summer our oncology team began treating patients in Canada’s most advanced veterinary radiation unit using the new linear accelerator,” said Elizabeth Stone, OVC dean.

The event builds upon the tremendous success of the inaugural gala held in 2011 that raised more than $240,000.

“Gifts from this year’s gala will ensure that we can continue to provide the very best cancer care, acquire leading-edge technology, support training for veterinary cancer specialists, and conduct comparative cancer research that will help pets and people,” Stone said.

“On behalf of the OVC — and all the pet owners and patients who will benefit from the work being done in this amazing facility — thank you to everyone who has supported our cause.”

The Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer takes a “team medicine” approach to providing comprehensive cancer care for pets. The oncology team works in collaboration with specialists from throughout the OVC Health Sciences Centre to explore the full range of options available for patients, whether they require surgery or specialized care in the ICU or cardiology and other health services.

Established in 1986, OVC Pet Trust is Canada’s first charitable fund dedicated entirely to advancing the health and well-being of companion animals.

Emceed by broadcaster Valerie Pringle, the evening included a cocktail reception and dinner provided by celebrity chef Mark McEwan, a performance by Juno award-winning Canadian jazz artist Holly Cole, and a live auction.

The evening also featured an exclusive preview of a new video aimed at raising awareness of and donations to OVC Pet Trust. Sponsored by Purina, the video was produced by the award-winning Red Urban agency in Toronto.

“The gala is such a wonderful event,” said Chip Coombs, chair of the Pet Trust board of trustees. “It brings together all kinds of people united in their love for animals and dedication to helping them live longer, healthier lives.”