Friday, July 17, 2015

Mascot for the Pan American Games and Parapan American Games ~ Toronto 2015

Mascot ~ a symbol, usually an animal...believed to bring 'good luck'.
The Pan American Games' program consists of
36 sports and 40 disciplines.

Most professional sports organizations create or select a Mascot to represent their team(s) in competing events. The Pan American Games' mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It has played an important part in the Games' identity and promotion. The mascots of the recent Pan American Games in Guadalajara were Huchi, Leo and Gavo ~ representing local figures in Guadalajara.

For three glorious weeks, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is hosting 6100 athletes from 41 countries (North America, South America and Caribbean) and a total of 825 medal events. This is a world-class sports spectacle in a world-class city. The TORONTO 2015 Games is the largest multi-sport Games ever held in Canada! (All soccer games to be played at our Tiger Cats' stadium in Hamilton)

PACHI ~ TORONTO 2015's Official Mascot

PACHI...a young porcupine who grew up just west of Toronto in a forested area of the Niagara Escarpment, isn't your typical porcupine; he's outgoing and loves to explore new places and meet new friends. And while there are some prickly challenges in being accepted as a porcupine, PACHI is out to prove otherwise
PACHI has 41 quills ~ one for each of the Pan American countries.
His quills are 5 different colours and representing the qualities that he holds:
Green is Youth...Fuchsia is Passion...Blue is Collaboration...Orange is Determination...and Purple is Creativity. PACHI, like other porcupines, has a visual impairment and consequently, has difficulty seeing people and objects that are far away.

One day, from his Escarpment home, PACHI vaguely noticed lights and heard noise coming from the east. Always an adventure-seeker, as he approached, he noticed that everyone was diverse and unique like him. PACHI's dream is for everyone to celebrate their differences and be proud, like him, of their individuality. Everyone was welcoming and this made it fun and easy for PACHI to meet new friends, explore the cool neighbourhoods and attend tons of great events. The city was so inviting that PACHI made Toronto his new home. He quickly learned that Toronto was hosting the Pan American and Parapan American Games. He heard that thousands of athletes, spectators and celebrities would be coming to the city. “What a perfect opportunity to get involved...and play host to the Americas and the Caribbean!” he thought.

PACHI is delightful...he dons a yellow-peaked cap with TORONTO 2015 emblazoned on it. Bracelets on his wrists symbolize both sets of Games. His 41 quills represent the participating countries and the 5-colour quills tell of his personal qualities. He is always smiling and prancing in 'dance mode'.

Of Interest: Porcupines are found throughout both North and South America...
and in more than 20 of the Pan American countries competing at the Games.
Porcupines normally have more than 30,000 quills.
They climb trees, swim and explore. They feed on fruit, leaves and bark.
The Niagara Escarpment is a massively forested limestone ridge
 extending from the Niagara River  to Georgian Bay ~.
 known for its waterfalls, river system, forests and beautiful vistas.

About PACHI's Creators
(The Porcupine motif was chosen in 2013 from among 6 finalists:
porcupine, owl, bear, raccoon, moose and twins)

Team Porcupine” included a 4-person group of Grade 8 students from Buttonville Public School in Markham, Ontario. The group entered the TORONTO 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge ~ as part of a school project led by Physical Education teacher, Mari Ellery. The four friends put their heads together and spent 2 months perfecting their porcupine and adding as many Pan Am colours as they could.
Their hard work paid off.

* * * * *

From the Writer: A painting I bought several years ago at an Art Gallery north of Huntsville (believe it was called the Eagle's Nest)...illustrated a mother raccoon with a couple cubs at a lake's edge, sipping cool water...or maybe, looking for fish (?). On this occasion, I attended the wedding of a High School friend of my son's; CJ had finished university, as had my son; marrying a nurse, their marriage vows were declared in a church in Whitney located near the Algonquin Park entrance. Following this marital event, we travelled north to explore and visit an acquaintance. At this hilltop gallery, my son bought his first painting of a stately stag...head and shoulders so vividly painted, one could observe the 'velvet' on his rack of antlers. Magnificent it was!

A raccoon walks into a bar.
The bar tender says, “Don't Shoot! I'll give you the money!”
(This is funny because raccoons have 'bandit masks' across the eyes
which make them look like they are robbers...and the bar tender
thought the raccoon was going to rob him.)
But really, the raccoon just wanted to order a drink.

Feline Observation: Two cats peering through the window, see a raccoon staring at them. The cats muse...“ Must be a burglar ~ he's wearing a mask.”

Raccoon's Happy Thought: “I'll just knock over this trash can and spread the garbage around ~ then I'll laugh when you blame the dog the next morning!”

Raccoon asks, “Why were Indians here first?”
Because they have reservations.”

Merle Baird-Kerr...written July 11, 2015
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