The official mascot of the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) will be a porcupine.
After a Yukon-wide contest, Däch’äw was chosen as the winning submission from nearly 40 entries depicting suggested mascots for the Games. Däch’äw, the Southern Tutchone word for porcupine, was created by 11-year-old Owen McDonald. He is “formidable on one side, like Yukon athletes, and warm and cuddly on the other, like Yukon hosts.”
“We had so many creative and fun submissions from youth in the territory,” says Moira Lassen, General Manager of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games. “They really used their imaginations to come up with mascots that represented the spirit of the Games, as well as the spirit of the North. Our mascot selection committee had a very difficult decision, but in the end Däch’äw was a clear winner.”
The mascot contest was open to all Yukon youth ages 8 to 18. Entries were voted on by a mascot selection committee, based on a number of criteria. The mascot had to be an original creation that was culturally relevant to the North, and youth were asked to submit a brief story behind their creation.
Three finalists were chosen, with first, second and third place all receiving prizes. For his winning illustration, McDonald will receive VIP accreditation at the 2020 AWG, tickets to the Opening Ceremonies, AWG merchandise, and a set of pins.
Second place went to Natalie Jobin, who created a fox named Cece as part of a group submission from her Grade 5 class at Takhini Elementary School. A wolf cub named Cober took third place, thanks to the artistry of Phoenix Widley, a Grade 8 student from Porter Creek Secondary School. Both Jobin and Widley will receive AWG merchandise and a set of pins.
All youth who entered the contest will receive a commemorative 1 Year To Go pin from the 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society. As well, all of the submissions will be displayed at the Yukon Arts Centre in the Youth Gallery during the 2020 AWG.
Members of the mascot committee will now work with a mascot creation company to help make McDonald’s drawing come to life. Däch’äw will be officially unveiled in a public celebration later this year.