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Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

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Awards Program

OVMA award winners have demonstrated a wide range of outstanding work in their communities. Whether it’s volunteering for committees or associations, engaging in volunteer work at home or abroad, or working to improve animal welfare in the province, OVMA’s award winners are improving the veterinary profession for the better each and every day. Since the OVMA Awards Program was established in 1986, more than 80 individuals have been recognized with one of OVMA’s prestigious awards (see a list of past award winners). 

Read the OVMA Awards Brochure for award categories and more information, or read our FAQ.

Do you know an outstanding veterinarian? Nominate them for next year's OVMA Awards.

Meet the 2019 OVMA Award Winners!

2019 Associate of the Year Award - Glenys Hughes, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_Associate-HughesThe OVMA Associate of the Year Award is presented to an associate veterinarian who has demonstrated superior customer service and has proven to be an asset to their practice, as well as their community.

Dr. Glenys Hughes earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree before graduating from the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1994. She has practiced at Merivale Cat Hospital since 2002, where she’s dedicated her career to providing excellence in feline medicine and has a reputation for outstanding patient care and client support.

Dr. Hughes is an active volunteer and advocate for animal welfare, providing medical care to animals at the Ottawa Humane Society. She also volunteers with the Community Veterinary Outreach program, providing care and assistance to pets of homeless owners. In addition, Dr. Hughes holds seminars on feline behaviour and senior cat care, and coordinates high-volume volunteer spay and neuter clinics. In 2013, she received the Dr. James Hutchinson Animal Welfare Award for enhancing the lives of animals in the Ottawa region.

Her dedication to veterinary medicine has made an impact on her colleagues and the many externship students she has mentored. As her colleague Dr. Susan Kilborn says, “Dr. Hughes embodies the full package within our profession: a sincere and authentic mentor, compassion, self-improvement, giving of oneself to the community and professional excellence.”


Award of Merit - Scott Bainbridge, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_Merit-BainbridgeThe OVMA Award of Merit recognizes individuals for their practice of, or help to, veterinary medicine. It is awarded for distinguished public service to the veterinary profession in any form.

Dr. Scott Bainbridge graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1999 and he also has a Bachelor of Science degree in animal behaviour from the University of Toronto. One year after graduating, Dr. Bainbridge co-founded his first practice, Queen West Animal Hospital, and then opened Dundas West Animal Hospital in 2008.

Dr. Bainbridge is trained in veterinary acupuncture, and has an interest in both veterinary ophthalmology and nutrition. Recently, he’s been focusing on the emerging area of stem cell medicine, which he’s used to treat senior pets with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bainbridge has worked closely with many animal rescue organizations, finding ways to “repair and pair” animals with forever homes. He also volunteers for Sistering, a Toronto women’s shelter that offers free veterinary care for pets of women who have left abusive households. In 2012, Dr. Bainbridge and his wife travelled to Australia to open Future Vets Kids Camp, the first program of its kind in the country, which teaches children and youth about veterinary medicine. More recently, he’s been organizing a permanent spay/neuter clinic for stray dogs in Ecuador.  

In addition, Dr. Bainbridge serves on the Ontario Veterinary College’s Multiple Mini Interview Committee and has appeared on several television and radio shows, including Doctor in House, Steven and Chris, Animal House Calls and, most recently, on Animal Planet’s Dog’s Best Friend.

Described as having an unwavering commitment to the veterinary profession and animal welfare, Dr. Bainbridge’s colleagues see him as a force of nature who continues to reinvent veterinary medicine.

Dundas West veterinarian honoured with lifetime public service award


Golden Life Membership Award - James Mantle, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_GoldenLife-MantleThe OVMA Golden Life Membership Award recognizes OVMA members who are retired from full-time career pursuits of veterinary medicine or who have been a veterinarian for a minimum of 30 years and have served the profession in an extraordinary manner. Recipients receive an honorary lifetime OVMA membership.

A 1978 graduate from the Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. James Mantle spent most of his 40-year career at the Lindsay Animal Clinic where he focused on large animal clients.

As owner of the practice from 2005 until his recent retirement, Dr. Mantle made a lasting impact on his staff, providing a constant source of knowledge and advice on both clinical and non-clinical matters, and fostering an environment that enabled them to flourish as veterinary practitioners

Throughout his career, Dr. Mantle mentored countless youth and students. For more than 31 years, he volunteered with 4-H Ontario as a local board member and as a leader for the Veterinary Science Club, teaching rural youth about veterinary medicine and helping former 4-H members pursue careers in the veterinary industry.

He’s also been a member of the Optimist Club of Lindsay since 1980, serving in each position on its Board of Directors, and he has supported the Lindsay Central Exhibition, both as a sponsor and an associate director.

In the words of his colleague Dr. Sarah Rae, “Dr. Mantle has truly devoted his life to veterinary medicine. If he was able, he would still be carrying his pager and driving around the countryside.”

Lindsay veterinarian honoured by Ontario Veterinary Medical Association in recognition of his 40 years of service


Golden Life Membership Award - Michael Ritter, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_GoldenLife-RitterThe OVMA Golden Life Membership Award recognizes OVMA members who are retired from full-time career pursuits of veterinary medicine or who have been a veterinarian for a minimum of 30 years and have served the profession in an extraordinary manner. Recipients receive an honorary lifetime OVMA membership.

Dr. Michael Ritter graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1978 and spent his entire veterinary career at the New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic. For 40 years, until his recent retirement, he cared for the community’s livestock and companion animals.

As a clinic owner, Dr. Ritter treated his employees like family. He continually invested, encouraged and guided his employees through their careers, while mentoring countless high school co-op students, veterinary externship students and newcomer veterinarians.

In addition to his contributions to the veterinary profession, Dr. Ritter has been an active volunteer in his community. Along with his wife Jenny, he established Community Link Empowered Against Narcotics, a charitable organization that provides emotional support to parents of children struggling with drug addiction. In 2008, he received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his contributions to the New Hamburg Fall Fair for more than 25 years.

As his colleague Dr. Anne Marie Hunter says, “When I think of Dr. Mike, a few words come to mind:  compassionate, helpful, storyteller, patient, hard-working, family-driven, generous, charitable, thoughtful, and never too busy to take an extra moment to show that he cares.”

New Hamburg veterinarian recognized for 40 years of exemplary service


Outstanding Veterinarian Award - Mark Gemmill, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_Outstanding-GemmillThe Outstanding Veterinarian Award is presented to a veterinarian for their outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession.

Prior to graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1993, Dr. Mark Gemmill studied agriculture at the University of Guelph and began his career as a dairy farmer. After graduation, he joined Cornell Animal Hospital in Guelph. He purchased the practice in 2003, and significantly expanded the practice a few years later.

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Gemmill has made extraordinary contributions to the veterinary profession. He served on the OVMA Board of Directors for a record 17 years and was the association’s president in 2015. He also represented OVMA on the VSTEP Board of Directors for 12 years and served on a variety of other OVMA committees and task forces. In addition, Dr. Gemmill was a founding member of the Farley Foundation’s Board of Directors, serving on the board for 14 years, including six as president.

Throughout his career, Dr. Gemmill has supported a variety of local causes by donating his practice’s rebate proceeds from pharmaceutical and pet food companies. He has been actively involved in Farley Foundation fundraising events and has represented the foundation in a variety of media activities. He also volunteers with Veterinary Community Outreach, providing veterinary care to pets of homeless people, and he supports Fathers Remembered by Daughters, a charity that supports Hospice Wellington.

Patricia Godin, founder of Fathers Remembered by Daughters, says, "Compassion, empathy and integrity are not things learned in vet school but, rather, are qualities that are organic and true to who Dr. Mark Gemmill is. Dr. Gemmill deserves this distinguished honour for not only taking exemplary care of our pets, but also for taking care of his clients and being a proud supporter of non-profit groups in our community.”

Guelph veterinarian earns Ontario Veterinary Medical Association honour


Rising Star Award - Christian Heyerhoff, DVM

OVMAAwards-2019_Photo_RisingStar-HeyerhoffThe Rising Star Award is presented to an associate veterinarian who has demonstrated superior leadership in their place of employment and their community; for the betterment of animal welfare and/or their clients and/or their colleagues in the veterinary profession.

After obtaining his degree in animal biology from the University of Guelph in 2010, Dr. Heyerhoff travelled to Ireland to study veterinary medicine at University College Dublin, where he graduated in 2015. He then participated in the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell University before joining Prescott Animal Hospital/Rideau-St. Lawrence Veterinary Services, where he specializes in large animal medicine and surgery. He also has a keen interest in dairy herd health and preventive medicine.

Described as having “a superior aptitude for the art and science of veterinary medicine,” by his colleague Dr. Henry Ceelen, Dr. Heyerhoff goes above and beyond for his clients, focusing his attention on their concerns and quickly diagnosing complex medical problems.

Dr. Heyerhoff participates in a young veterinarian group with Boehringer-Ingelheim, mentoring less-experienced veterinarians and assisting them with difficult cases.

One of his clients, Koren Manneck, says, “Dr. Heyerhoff’s integrity, professionalism and care have played a significant role in the success we have achieved with our herds. Despite his young age, his depth of knowledge and experience is ever present. We take great comfort knowing that our livestock is receiving the highest standard of care possible under Dr. Heyerhoff’s care.”


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Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9
Phone: 905.875.0756 / (toll free) 1.800.670.1702  



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