Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award

Over the past ten years, the Toronto Vegetarian Association had the opportunity to recognize some of Toronto’s most passionate & effective advocates for animal compassion! The Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award was initiated by the family of Lisa Grill to honour Lisa‘s ongoing passion for vegetarianism, particularly how she inspires those around her to act with compassion for animals.

2019 Winner – Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for Beaches-East York

As an MP, Nathaniel introduced the Modernizing Animal Protections Act to strengthen Canada’s animal cruelty laws, helped found an Animal Welfare Caucus to push for humane transport laws, seconded Bill S-203 to end the captivity of whales and dolphins, and hosted a number of documentary and town hall events to raise public awareness of animal issues, including free screenings of Blackfish with Phil Demers, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes with Anne Dagg, and In Defense of Food with Dr. David Jenkins. 

2018 Winner – Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice

In 2018, the Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award was presented to Camille LabchukCamille is an animal advocate and lawyer, as well as executive director of Animal Justice, Canada’s only animal law advocacy organization. 

2017 Winner – Mary-Chris Staples, animal advocate

This year, the Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award was presented to grassroots animal advocate Mary-Chris Staples. To see Mary-Chris in action, check out this video interview by activist Len Goldberg, and listen to our interview with her on Veg Out: Toronto’s Vegetarian Podcast here.



2016 Winner – Brenda Bronfman, founder of Wishing Well Sanctuary

In 2016, we recognized Brenda Bronfman, the always inspiring founder of Wishing Well Sanctuary. 2016 was a big year for Wishing Well with lots of media attention for this farm sanctuary north of Toronto. It was featured on CTV News and Breakfast
Television, as well as on many media websites, and Wishing Well was all over social media.

Wishing Well provides tours of the sanctuary where you’ll be able to meet the animals. In addition, there are humane education
programs delivered to school groups, regular yoga and meditation classes, and other events that promote personal growth and inspire compassion for animals.



2015 Winner – Jenny McQueen, animal advocate

In 2015, we celebrated one of Toronto’s most active animal advocates, Jenny McQueen.



2014 Winner – Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, dads to Esther the Wonder Pig

In 2014, we celebrated the emergence of Esther the Wonder Pig by awarding the Compassion for Animals Award to Esther’s dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter. Since 2014, Steve and Derek have gone on to found the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary.


2013 Winners – Jo-Anne McArthur for We Animals & Liz Marshall for The Ghosts in Our Machine

Compassion Award winners Liz Marshall & Jo-Anne McArthur with Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary and David Alexander & Peter McQueen of TVA.

The 3rd Annual Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award celebrated the work of photographer Jo-Anne McArthur and filmmaker Liz Marshall. Premiering at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, Marshall’s film The Ghosts In Our Machine beautifully documents McArthur’s efforts to shed light on animal abuse through her photography project, We Animals. Liz & Jo-Anne received the award at the 2013 Vegetarian Food Festival. It was presented by David Alexander, Peter McQueen & Marco Pagliarulo on behalf of the Toronto Vegetarian Association and Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur.



2012 Winner – Anita Krajnc, founder of Toronto Pig Save

Finalist – Kimberly Carroll, coordinator of Be Veg TTC Subway Ad campaign
Finalist – Shannon Kornelsen, organizer of 10,000 Tastes,10 Billion Reasons

2012 Compassion for Animals Award winner Anita Krajnc with finalists Kimberly Carroll & Shannon Kornelsen.
2012 Compassion for Animals Award winner Anita Krajnc with finalists Kimberly Carroll & Shannon Kornelsen.

In 2012, we were honoured to recognize a very impressive set of achievements by these three outstanding finalists!

Anita Krajnc was honoured as the founder of Toronto Pig Save, whose weekly slaughterhouse vigils inspire compassion for animals and raise awareness about the conditions for pigs and other animals raised for food in Canada. Through Toronto Pig Save, Anita is helping to build a grassroots movement of passionate animal advocates here in Toronto and beyond.

Kimberly Carroll was recognized for coordinating the “Be Veg” Toronto Subway Ad Campaign, which spread a compassionate message to thousands on the TTC.

Shannon Kornelsen was recognized for organizing the massive 10,000 Tastes, 10 Billion Reasons outreach event at Yonge-Dundas Square and a corresponding 28-day vegan challenge with Toronto firefighters.

2011 Winner – Holly Larson, founder of Toronto Veggie Pride Parade

Finalist – Bob Timmons, Artist for the Ocean
Finalist – Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals photographer
Finalist – Vicki Fecteau, contributor to Outreach &

2011 Compassion for Animals award winner, Holly Larson
2011 Compassion for Animals award winner, Holly Larson

Vicki Fecteau was recognized for providing her vegetarian recipes in Outreach magazine and her website

Bob Timmons was recognized for his Artist for the Ocean project and for his work as founder of Ocean Activists United and as  co-ordinator of Sea Shepherd Toronto. Bob is also known for donating his artwork to animal protection & conservationist causes.

Jo-Anne McArthur was recognized for her We Animals photography project which has supported numerous awareness campaigns and her humane education program for Toronto students.

Holly Larson was honoured as the founder of the Toronto Veggie Pride Parade and for her work supporting local Ontario sanctuaries, PETA, TARS, and many other organizations. Holly is known for her mainstream, strategic focus and most of all Holly is known for her positive attitude that inspires people every day.