St. Thomas, Ont. woman makes $1M donation to reach city’s animal centre and dog park budget goal

Good News Notes:

St. Thomas City council is expected to approve a new animal centre and dog park Tuesday after a massive donation from a local businesswoman.

After the city required private donations or fundraising of $1 million to reach the $2.5 million goal set out in the strategic plan, Sara Teare stepped up and made it her intention to donate the entire amount.

“I would like to donate $1 million dollars towards the new Animal Service Centre,” Teare wrote in a letter to council.

“As our city continues to grow, I believe a facility like this will help cement our position as a top place to live, and look forward to being a part of that future.”

Teare and her husband own the multi-billion-dollar password management software business 1Password. She adopted her former dog from the local animal shelter, and believes the current centre on Burwell Road. is not up to today’s standards.

“After having the chance to see the new location and design, incorporating both a new dog park and the trails together, I feel that this new Animal Services Centre would be an excellent addition to our community,” says Teare.

Teare’s mother Joan Rymal has been advocating for a new shelter during her eight years on St. Thomas City Council.

“I don’t think the city’s probably ever had a single $1 million donation at any time,” says Rymal.

“That is a lot of money and kudos to her. They’ve been successful with their business and you don’t have to do those kinds of things, so it’s very much appreciated. I’m sure all the citizens of St. Thomas will be very pleased and appreciate it as well.”

If approved by council Tuesday, the plan would be to build the centre in the large wide open space, south of the Doug Tarry Baseball Complex.

The vision includes an educational centre for field trips to learn about animal care, training, biology and interaction with real animals. It would be a necessary upgrade from current centre.

“It means let’s do it right now before we think anymore,” says Joe Preston, St. Thomas’ mayor.

“It can be done but the fundraising goal was a fairly high number, and it didn’t look like until we came out of COVID and got into a fundraising campaign, it would it would work. Now we’ve made it and it’s great to have fantastic community citizens like this who are helping us out with the project”.

Preston believes the piece of property along Southdale Line is an ideal well-drained piece of property for a dog park. He calls it the “perfect location” for the park and centre.

Rymal feels the current centre is both outdated and in a bad location….”

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