Martin Gamache, founder of Tarantula Canada, was born in Rimouski, Quebec. He has been keeping tarantulas and other exotic animals since 1994. In 1994, Martin earned his Diplôme en Sciences de la Santé (Health Sciences Diploma) from Ahuntsic College. In 1998, he earned his Diplôme en Techniques de Thanatologie (Embalming Diploma and license) from Rosemont College. In 2002 he founded Tarantula Canada with the mission to promote the hobby by providing healthy, captive bred tarantulas and to import new and rare species for the Canadian tarantula hobby. In addition to running Tarantula Canada, Martin also works as a licensed embalmer and funeral director in Montreal.
Amanda Gollaway was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. She has been keeping tarantulas and other inverts since 1997. In 1999, Amanda earned her Associate of Applied Science degree from the University of Cincinnati. While attending the university she worked as a lab assistant for the Biology department. In 2000, Amanda earned her Bachelors of Mortuary Science degree from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. She worked as a licensed embalmer and funeral director until 2005, when she moved to Montreal. She now operates Tarantula Canada full time.
In 2003, Martin and Amanda met on the tarantula forum www.arachnoboards.com. They began a friendship, as they had much in common: they were both tarantula enthusiasts, nature lovers, and worked in funeral homes as licensed embalmers. In December of 2004, they were married in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, while on their first expedition to study tarantulas. They now reside in Montreal, Quebec.
Martin and Amanda travel to observe tarantulas in their wild habitats and to collect specimens for captive breeding. Their first expedition in December 2004 was to the island of Trinidad, where they observed Psalmopoeus cambridgei, Holothele incei, Avicularia spp., and Metriopelma trinitatis (a species not yet available in the tarantula hobby). They returned to Trinidad in April 2006 and were fortunate to observe Cyriocosmus elegans and Holothele sanguiniceps (two species they were unable to find on their first trip). In November 2006 they traveled to French Guyana where they observed Theraphosa blondi, Ephebopus murinus, E. rufescens and several undescribed species. In August 2007, they traveled to Suriname where they observed Ephebopus murinus, Avicularia spp., and an undescribed tarantula species, as well as several species of scorpions, amblypygids, true spiders, and other arachnids. In November 2008 they returned to French Guyana. They observed many of the species found on their first expedition, as well as Ephebopus cyanognathus, Holothele spp., and other unknown species. In August 2009 they visited French Guyana for the third time, revisiting many of the localities from their first trips and exploring some new locations. In April of 2011 Martin visited northern Argentina and observed Catumiri argentinensis, Eupalaestrus campestratus, Plesiopelma spp., Acanthoscurria spp., and several Grammostola spp. In the next few years, Martin and Amanda plan to continue their work in Argentina and the Guyanas.
Back at home, Martin and Amanda are busy working with the tarantulas and breeding projects. They have bred over 40 species of tarantula and average around 35 eggsacs per year. Martin and Amanda have worked with the Insectarium of Montreal, the Insectarium of Quebec and the Vancouver Aquarium on several projects as consultants and have provided them with specimens. They are members of the Montreal Herpetological Association (Association Herpétologique de Montréal).
In October of 2010, Martin and Amanda welcomed their two sons, Anton and Lucien, into the world. They have slowed down their tarantula work to take care of their boys, but they hope their boys will one day share their passion for these wonderful creatures and help them with their endeavours.