Socialite, philanthropist and Mantella Corp. marketing chief Sylvia Mantella may be best known for her support for Canadian fashion – her Instagram feed has thousands of followers, and she sits on as many as 11 fashion- and culture-related boards. “Our fashion industry in Canada is on par with any other country in the world,” she says.
But her attention isn’t just restricted to the creative needle arts. Along with a range of other worthy causes, including childhood cancer and the Toronto Public Library, she has long been a strong supporter of animal rights.
When a family friend who owned a Miami-area sanctuary asked if she and her husband, Mantella Corp. CEO Robert Mantella, would be willing to foster a tiny baby two-toed sloth, the experience changed her forever. The couple eventually went on to open a now 40-acre private sanctuary outside Palm Beach, which has rescued and sheltered more than 200 endangered and abused animals, ranging from big cats to kangaroos.
One in particular stands out in her memory: a little capuchin monkey rescued from a research lab, where she had suffered repeated trauma for nearly forty years. But her will to live was affecting; Sylvia renamed her Hope and was able to ensure that her last years of life were spent in fresh air and comfort.