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Feb 15, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Get drawing and storytelling to create Pan Am mascot

Deadline to enter the Mascot Challenge is March 8

Scarborough Mirror

There’s still time to create a mascot for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Steve Wallace, vice president of brand activation for the TO2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, said his office receives about 10 entries a day. So far, more than 100 entries have been received.

“It’s always fun to see them,” he said, adding he recently opened an entry to find glitter spill out on his desk.

The contest is open to teams of children and youth aged 16 and younger. Teams, made up of two to six members, can be budding artists, storytellers, mascot researchers and colouring experts. The mascot could be an animal, inanimate object or even a space oddity. Whatever captures the excitement of the Games and the imagination of the public through fun, colourful and community spirit.

Wallace’s office has received entries from as far away as Gatineau, Quebec, and even Tiny, Ontario. They’ve had raccoons, moose, mice, a giraffe and lots of maple leaf-themed creatures, he said.

He said youth get excited when they hear the idea of creating a mascot. It just takes some pencil crayons and paper and they will get to work, he added.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of history,” Wallace said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to work together and be a part of history.”

Entries have been submitted by the Girl Guides of Canada Chill Fest Camp, Mme. Walsh’s Grade 4 class at Glen Park Public School in Stoufville and an entry from First Nations School of Toronto.

Creating a mascot for a sporting event isn’t new, he said, adding the Olympics creates mascots for its games.

“It was a natural choice to have the contest,” Wallace said. “We are the people’s games. It was only appropriate for the people to create the mascot.”

Having teams work together on the contest also mimics the focus of the games.

We need to collaborate with people, groups, sporting organizations and communities to make the games happen, he said, adding without teamwork the games couldn’t function.

Teamwork is also appropriate since some youth are good at drawing, while others might be great storytellers, he said.

The mascot is the official ambassador of the Games and will visit communities and schools throughout Ontario and Canada to welcome athletes and visitors from 41 countries in 2015 and appear on signage and merchandise including collectible pins and plush toys.

The top six designs will be chosen from a TO2015 panel and the young nominees will have a chance to work with a professional illustrator to bring their creations to life. The designs will then compete in a nationwide online voting contest in the spring.

Entries must be hand-drawn with a 250-word mascot life story and be mailed by March 8. The winner will be announced Aug. 7.

Top Canadian athletes and award-winning illustrators are hosting a series of workshops, which started Friday, Feb. 15 to help inspire young people to enter the TORONTO 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge.

Ahtletes and artists who are participating in the workshops include: trampolinist Jason Burnett, Olympic silver medallist; author and illustrator Patricia Storms, creator of The Pirate and the Penguin; swimmer Summer Mortimer, four-time Paralympic medallist and world record holder; author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester, creator of the Neil Flambé series; athlete Zsofia Balazs, Olympic and Pan Am marathon swimmer; author and illustrator Sean Cassidy, creator of Kazaak!; high jumper Nicole Forrester, Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist; artist Eric Kim, creator of the comic strip series Battle Academy.

For more details visit www.toronto2015mascot.ca

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