Gary Oliver is the founder of Cinemazoo, Canada’s foremost animal talent agency and animal career training programs. Gary Oliver became interested in insects at an early age, collecting and trading specimens from around the world. At 12 years old he volunteered at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Entomology Department, by 18 he had 10,000 specimens in his personal collection and at 19 Gary was elected the first president of the Michigan Entomology Society. From insects, his interest naturally extended to all animals and it was through working with these animals that Gary found his true calling and eventually to the Cinemazoo animal talent agency.
Like any typical teen, Gary had other interests and for a time played hockey, became involved in gymnastics and worked on cars. In his twenties he joined the Governor General’s Horse Guards and graduated in Fine Arts from Capilano College in North Vancouver. Always an entrepreneur (he sold tickets to other kids to a nature show in his own back yard and conducted sewer tours in Etobicoke, Ontario), Gary founded the Pacific Artists Studios in downtown Vancouver, a communal space offered to budding artists of all kinds.
It was during a fashion shoot (one of Gary’s many sidelines was as a photographer) that Gary got the idea for Cinamazoo Animal Talent Agency. After the model suggested he get the art studio cat, Maynard, into commercials, he discovered that there were no agencies to represent animals in the movie and television industries. And typically, Gary proceeded to fill this niche.
Cinamazoo became Canada’s first Animal Agency and Gary went on to represent and wrangle elephants, llamas, snakes, spiders, frogs, cats and dogs and more. In 2004, Jennifer Neville connected with the Cinemazoo team. Jennifer felt right at home with Cinemazoo, thanks to her love of animals, and 25 years of farming experience. Jennifer has experience with commercial berry production, dairy management, as well as maintaining her own small hobby farm, and mobile petting zoo.
Jennifer and Gary decided on how to take Cinemazoo to the next level. They developed a hands on experience for today’s youth, educating them about the basics of life, including where their "meat and potatoes” come from. The Careers with Animals Program became wildly popular with teenagers, and parents alike. As a result, Cinemazoo began venturing into schools, senior homes, and even public events, with a multitude of animals, teaching others about the animal industry. This effective training has led to many successful animal related careers such as dog daycares, doggy delis, animal waste removal and animal wrangling.. Please visit our Careers with Animals page for more information on the program.
In addition to representing hundreds of animals in movies, television, commercials and corporate events, Gary’s mission has been to educate the public about preservation and the sustainability of wildlife through educational talks and hands on presentations to schools, public institutions, corporations and non-profit organizations.
Gary has and continues to dedicate much of his life to understanding, working with and protecting animals. Cinemazoo also became a sanctuary for many abandoned exotic animals and the non profit Urban Safari Rescue Society was founded in 2007 (www.urbansafari.ca).
Gary sold Cinemazoo to Jennifer in 2014 so he could devote his time to his animal rescue. Jennifer will continue to operate Cinemazoo as Canada's oldest animal talent agency, as well as maintain the Careers with Animals program.
**If you are interested in the Exotic Animal School Presentations, as well as Spring Break & Summer Camps, please visit the Urban Safari Rescue website (www.urbansafari.ca) to learn more and to book with them directly.