April 19 - Six finalists have been shortlisted to become the mascot for Toronto 2015 with the Canadian public now set to vote to decide which one will become the official symbol for the Pan and Parapan American Games.
The six finalists are a moose in running shoes, a maple leaf-headed beaver, a punk porcupine, a rainbow-hued owl, a rascally raccoon and twins wearing funky hats.
The finalists were chosen after a panel of judges went through over 4,130 entries submitted by teams of young designers, with 15,000 children aged 16 and under participating in the contest.
The entries came in the Toronto 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge, which officially closed on March 8, while voting on six finalists will start on Monday (April 22).
"We want to thank all of our young mascot designers, as well as their friends, family and teachers for participating and wish good luck to the six teams still in the running," said Toronto 2015 chief executive Ian Troop.
"Our office has been abuzz ever since the challenge closed.
"The designs were so diverse and the participants were incredibly enthusiastic – it made choosing just six incredibly difficult.
"That's why we need the public's help in choosing Canada's next great Games mascot.
"This is an important decision: the mascot will serve as our ambassador in the community and throughout the Americas and Caribbean and it will reflect the spirit, energy and joy of who we are when the world comes to visit."
To ensure fairness when the Canadian public vote on the six finalists, a professional artist illustrated the top six designs using the same colour palette and style, while maintaining the integrity of each original design.
The names of the design teams, as well as the backstory of their mascots, will be revealed after the public voting ends on May 5.
People will be eligible to vote once a day until the contest closes and the winning mascot will be officially unveiled on July 17.
Over the next two years, the mascot will then visit communities and schools, and appear on signage and merchandise, including collectible pins and plush toys.
All participants in the Mascot Creation Challenge have received a special certificate from Toronto 2015 to recognise their contribution to the Games, while the team with the winning design and its group leader will get a personal mascot visit after the big reveal this summer.
Votes can be cast here, as well as on Facebook from Monday.
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March 2013: More than 4,000 mascot ideas for Toronto 2015
January 2013: Competition to design Toronto 2015 mascot gets underway
December 2012: Toronto 2015 call on children to submit design for Games mascot