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Free Civic Centre show featured headliner David Wilcox, raised funds for the Ottawa Humane Society’s new building campaign

OTTAWA, Oct. 18, 2009 – The Ottawa Humane Society is one step closer to breaking ground on a spacious new building following a night of music and fun organized by locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The free Saturday evening concert, a joint effort from CUPE local 503 (municipal workers), local 4000 (Ottawa Hospital workers) and CUPE Ontario, featured Canadian rock legend David Wilcox playing alongside popular act The Cooper Brothers and rising star Anders Drerup on the Ottawa Civic Centre stage. Through donations from the 4,600 music fans who attended and a silent auction of autographed guitars, the OHS’ Breaking Ground campaign received a healthy contribution.

It was the second year in a row that a union-led concert benefiting the OHS was held. Last year Trooper took to the stage as fundraising efforts for a new building to shelter the city’s homeless and abused animals began in earnest. That concert helped raise $6,000; the OHS said Sunday that they surpassed that sum with this year’s event. The OHS, whose employees are members of CUPE local 503, is now over 75 percent of the way to its goal of $9.5 million,

OHS executive director Bruce Roney expressed his gratitude for the continuing support from their union and the community. “The song goes ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’, well, it’s really amazing to work for the Humane Society because of the friends you meet there. As for CUPE 503, I think the fact they did this for us for a second year in a row shows they are a friend to both us and the animals.”

Built in 1968 to serve a considerably smaller human and animal population, the OHS’s Champagne Avenue shelter is currently too small to properly house the over 11,000 animals that walk through its doors each year. Already a property on West Hunt Club Road near Merivale Road has been identified as the new location of the state-of-the-art building, which Roney hopes will be open in 2011.

Besides assisting the OHS, the concert served to reward the community and its public servants for providing essential services and participating in city-building initiatives.

“CUPE is totally dependent on support from the community to deliver the services that we do,” said CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan. “We’re proud and honoured to give something back to the community in the form of a free concert, with the added benefit of helping the Humane Society achieve their funding goal.”

CUPE local 503 president Brian Madden was pleased with the turnout and the energetic performances of the musical artists, especially Wilcox, whose humorous lyrics and broad appeal has earned him the admiration of blue collar and white collar fans alike.

“It was a good evening,” said Madden. “It was great to see people coming out to support public servants. They build a healthy, safe community, and that’s our goal, too.”

Wilcox, a former union member himself, dedicated the song ‘Bad Apple’ to all of the public servants in the audience, a sly reference to the name given to early union organizers who were viewed as troublemakers by rigid employers.

Contact: CUPE local 503 – 613-230-2456

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