After nearly two decades of getting to word out about its mission and services, the small facility in North Gower is routinely over-run with orphaned or injured animals — this year more than ever.

Thanks to a recent expansion, the facility has been able to take in 620 animals so far in 2013, compared to 480 they saw in all of 2012.

More treatment rooms and outdoor enclosures were built this year, thanks to donated construction materials and volunteer labour, and a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

This huge upsurge in animals requiring maintenance, medications and treatment has brought with it a corresponding growing expense. It’s one the non-government-funded group of mainly volunteers is hoping the public can help with.

Currently, the sanctuary is home to several types of turtles, hatchlings and many eggs, squirrels, chipmunks and a usual run of raccoons, groundhogs and skunks.

Staff are sometimes able to harvest eggs from a turtle which has been killed.

The facility is not a zoo, so handling and viewing the animals is only done by staff in order to assure the critters stay wild and stand a chance at survival.

Animals admitted each year at the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

  • 2005: 95
  • 2006: 275
  • 2007: 275
  • 2008: 186
  • 2009: 250
  • 2010: 292
  • 2011: 523
  • 2012: 480
  • 2013: 620 (so far)

Animal lovers can make a donation by calling 613-258-9480, online at or by mailing a cheque to P.O. Box 266, North Gower, ON K0A 2T0.
Twitter: @DougHempstead