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Renowned Muskoka Wildlife Advocate and founder of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau, Ontario, Audrey Irene Tournay, 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 29, 2019, in Parry Sound, Ontario.

Audrey was born April 8, 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario. She is pre-deceased by her parents, Charles Robert and Pansy Luella May Bannister and her sisters. She will be sadly missed by her long-time friends and fellow wildlife rehabilitators, Tony Grant and his daughter Michele Grant. She will also be missed by Roberta Smart, family and other cherished friends, as well as all who have been inspired by her wildlife rescue work, art, and books, including ‘Beaver Tales’, a collection of her personal stories of wildlife rehabilitation.

In 1972 Audrey moved to a pioneer homestead in Rosseau, Ontario and began teaching art and other subjects at the Parry Sound High School. Soon after, she began rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife, including a beaver named Quibble who could not be released into the wild. In spite of Quibble chewing her wooden furniture and eventually a hole through her kitchen floor, in 1982 Audrey dedicated herself to wildlife rehabilitation full-time. Her 460-acre homestead property became the registered charity Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in 1987 and continues to operate to this day.

For her contributions to wildlife rehabilitation and education, Audrey received the Animal Action Award from the International Fund of Animal Welfare and also the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the Rotary Club of Parry Sound. She retired in 2010, leaving behind a tremendous legacy in the countless thousands of orphaned and injured wildlife that were given a second chance through her kindness and dedication.

Friends will be received at the Logan Funeral Home on Sunday, December 8th, from 12:00 – 1:00 P.M.

A Funeral Service for Audrey will take place at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 8th, in the Logan Memorial Chapel, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, in memoriam donations and animal sponsorships to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary would be appreciated, at


Audrey was such an inspiration and a delight to chat or work with. There are so many memorable moments over the years. Every chat we had I learned something new about the animals or her background. A 'one of a kind' lady.

-Linda Osborne

Tony and Michelle.... what can I say. Audrey was a very unique individual. I did know her from
teaching at the high school. I really got to know her when I started at Serenity. Audrey and her wildlife at Serenity... Those pigeons and other animals certainly had love and good food’ Her and Hazel sitting outside, hiding their food in napkins to give to the animals! Take care both of you! I will pay my respects on Sunday. Kari

-Kari Kranert

Audrey, so sorry to hear of your passing.

-Brian Brocklehurst

Audrey was one of the best people that ever lived. She has left a very possitve mark on this world. Not only did she help countless animals but she also made a difference in the lives of many people. May God comfort and bless her family and friends. Audrey will be remembered by so many.

-Susan Aapro

Rest in peace, dear Audrey. You always said your first step in Heaven would be the Rainbow Bridge to meet your beloved dogs, and you will have many calls to make after that. You were so special and helped us in so many ways, starting with the first litter of baby racoons we brought to you for release. You were always there...and we had many happy visits with you. Thank you for all your good works and your loving care to so many animals and birds. You will be missed.

-Wilma and Wayne Fraser

I was Audrey's nurse practitioner in Rosseau for many years. Tony and Michelle were her constant companions and did a lot of the heavy lifting at the wildlife sanctuary and in Audrey's caregiving during the years before Audrey was placed in the long term care facility. They are very good people.

Audrey was one of my favorite patients despite being stubborn, non-complaint and sometimes belligerent. She was extremely intelligent, unfailingly compassionate and charitable with her time and in sharing her knowledge. She lived life her way, on her terms; something so many of us never achieve. She lived well and will be remembered fondly as a strong female role model and a pioneer of the feminist perspective.

-Donna Kearney

Audrey, thank you for sharing your friendship with me for 56 years. I will miss our Saturday morning visits and the joy of bringing you fresh flowers.


-Roberta Smart

Audrey has earned a very special place in heaven. The Rainbow Bridge will be extending its heart and its arms out to her. All the animals that went before her will be waiting for their very special Angel to come and join them. RIP Audrey - you will never be forgotten.


Deepest sympathies.

-Susan Adamson

My most sincere condolences. Audrey Tournay was a remarkable woman whose life was dedicated to the animals she loved, large and small. She made an impact on so many and we will remember her special gift.

-Susanne Powell

I did not know Audrey personally, but met her when my family visited the sanctuary in the 80s, such a special soul. I looked forward to reading her articles in the Muskoka papers about her rescues. What a wonderful legacy she has left.

-Brenda Tryon

It seems like I have known Audrey Tourney most of my life.From my Summers in Rosseau where as a young girl we would visit Audrey. I remember getting called "Audrey Tourney" when I became a permanent resident of Rosseau and people would drop off wild baby turtles out of season,an injured great Horned Owl, our injured squirrel "rusty" and sick baby wild baby rabbits "peanut and Pepper" to my home to nurse.I would be on the phone to Audrey for advice which she always gave so freely.
Audrey wiped my tears when she had to put down one of the rabbits with rickets.
It was a gift to be one of the nurses who cared for this unique and wonderful lady. Audrey will be missed.

-Dawn Robinson

I knew her well in the 70’s and kept her in my heart all these years. A very special person with a huge heart. Rest in Love Audrey.


I had heard about Audrey for years and was thrilled some years ago when I met her. She has been set a high standard of love and devotion for all rehabbers to emulate. Her mantra of "It is all about the animals" is a legacy to all of us to follow. I was a little disappointed when she told me that skunks were her second favourite species, but loved her anyway! It was indeed an honour to meet her.
She was a blessing to all animals and rehabbers.
with love, The Skunk Lady.

-Laurel A. Beechey

Rest In Peace Audrey. Now you will be with those we often talked about. I will miss our talks about your wonderful work and dedication to our animal friends. You have touched so many people with your kindness. You totally understood the animal world and I am honoured to have known you for so many years. Such a special heart.

-Marilyn jones

I have admired you as a boy, teen and man. You have been such a gift to the universe and your care of vulnerable creatures has taught us all about humanity. I thank you for making me a better person.

Cousin Keith

-Keith Tournay

Audrey was my cousin and I spent many summers visiting her at the farm well before it was aspen valley . I have fond memories of Audrey and was always excited to go see her and get to feed the babies (there were so many ) racoons,skunks, turtles, dogs ,wolves , etc. I will always remember you fondly and loved you. Even into my later years I would go visit the sanctuary and spend an afternoon with her and reminis of early times. We will ways love you and miss you Audrey.

-Allen Costley

God bless Audrey's soul ❤ She was truly an injured or orphaned animals lifeline. I wonder if she will be surprised by the amount of animals that thought of her as Mom, that will welcome her home at the rainbow bridge.she will never be forgotten

-Barbara Miller

Ms. Tournay was my favourite art teacher. Always enjoyed visiting her at her home when she started Aspen Valley, she was the true heart of that place.

-Yvonne Southam

we read her articles in the muskoka paper for many years and always thought she was a very caring and loving person.

-linda and duane rawlins

We are sorry to learn of Audrey’s passing. We taught with her for a short time at Parry Sound High School, and then visited her at the sanctuary many times with our children. She was a passionate, dedicated visionary, following her ideals no matter the challenge. She inspired us with her love of all things wild and needy. We have many of the beautiful booklets she wrote and illustrated . May she rest in peace now, Deep sympathy to you, Roberta, in the loss of your dear friend. Sincerely Pat snd Richard Poole

-Pat and Richard Poole

The animals will her most of all I think. We need more Audreys to care for our wildlife. My sister volunteered at Aspen Valley and Audrey was her inspiration. I had a chance to tour the sanctuary and feel privileged to have done so. Audrey will continue to care for her wildlife - just in another place.

-Pauline Campion

I've known Audrey since I was a teenager living with my parents Joan and Bob Charles in Rosseau. She was a remarkable woman with an outstanding passion for wildlife who was able to even teach experts. I'd love to see the reunion between the 3 of them. You left an exceptional legacy for your family. Gord &Marg

-Marg and Gord Borton

Sadden to hear about the passing of a dear friend that I had the privilege to work with first many years lots of road trips even when Audrey's car broke down we managed to get back to the Sanctuary with the animal in tow and back on the road the next days adventure at hand it was awsome working with Audrey you sure learned a lot over the years Audrey had also a great sense of humour when we needed it also a very strong belief in God as I'm sure there will b a greeting place as ALL the Animals great and small will welcome you home may God Bless you Audrey

-Betty Bond

Hello, I began my teaching career at Parry Sound High School in 1971 and taught in the English department for five years. Audrey was a colleague whom I didn't know well, but, I did know of her real passion for wildlife rehabilitation. I visited her at her house once with friends and she gave me a Christmas cactus that I still have. That plant is well over 40 years old and still blooms. I think of her often when I look at it. I admired her work at the Wildlife Sanctuary and heard about it from time to time in the news. Allow me to extend my condolences to friends and family.

-Theresa Boyle

Deepest sympathies

-Chris Costley

I grew up beside Audrey and i have to say she is one of the most impressive females i ever met and showed me what it is to be a strong woman. She gave me my first job as a volunteer tour guide, she let me see the animals and learn how to take care of them, which in turn was showing me how we take care of each other. When my dog ran away as a child and i was heart broken, she got me and my brother kittens to love.
As and adult i moved away and had kids of my own, but made sure we kept in touch with Audrey through letters and christmas cards. On the few occassions when we went back to Ontario the kids and i would always visit Audrey, this summer being our most recent. And ever visit i cherished, as she gave my family, both growing up and now, a lot just by being herself. Sadly i wont be there tomorrow, but i will light a candle for her.

-Mary, Mathew and Ashley Castle

I was honoured to be one of Ms. Tournay's art students at PSHS. To this day I believe she deserves national distinction for her kindness and dedication. If only the world had more Ms. Tournays...thank you for being a role model to all of her students and friends.

-Joe Sheridan

I may not have be there in person, Tony and Michele, but with you in spirit and emotion. Audrey was a trail blazer in wildlife rehab, but so unassuming about her achievements when it came to her involvement with the animals.

-Deborah Harris

Audrey was an inspiration for the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre's earliest efforts more than 30 years ago, as I'm sure she was for so many other rehabilitators as well as an appreciative public. She never turned away an animal. After caring for six week-old wolf pups for a month, we realized it would be an impossible challenge for our urban wildlife centre to successfully raise and release them. Audrey didn't hesitate in taking on that huge challenge and managed an incredible story book ending for these animals. This was just one of the remarkable contributions that Audrey made as a pioneer in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. We will never forget her.

-Donna DuBreuil

I just finished reading Audrey's book, Beaver Tales yesterday and just wanted to say that she was a strong, pioneering woman, ahead of her time and never, ever turned any animal away. I have been a wildlife rehab volunteer for 10 years in SW Ontario. I have learned much from her book about the beavers and hope maybe some day to be able visit Aspen Valley. You gave your life to all animals and your love and patience was truly remarkable.

-Gloria Phillips